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Challenges in documenting long JSON objects

by Tom Johnson on Jan 21, 2016 •
categories: api-doc

Documenting long JSON objects (with hundreds of lines of code and multiple levels of nesting) can be challenging. There are different approaches to take, but none of the approaches seems to work well. I updated my API doc course topic with a section comparing the various approaches.

I’m now documenting an endpoint in a project at work that includes about 200 lines of code in a JSON object passed in the request body parameter. Inside the body parameter are various levels of key-value pairs and additionally nested objects (and sometimes arrays).

I added a section called Documenting lengthy JSON objects in request bodies in part of my API Documentation course to address the variety of ways people attempt to document long JSON objects. I think most approaches typically fail for this kind of documentation. What do you think is the best approach for documenting long JSON objects?

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer / API doc specialist based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.