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2018 archives

  1. Is Premium Grammarly worth it for identifying style and grammar issues in tech docs?

  2. Obituary for my dad - David Tait Johnson, 1935 - 2018

  3. Research on code documentation -- when not to comment on code

  4. Top 10 holiday gifts for technical writers

  5. My podcast about writing with Ellis Pratt on Cherryleaf

  6. Recording for Menlo Park API documentation workshop now available -- and some thoughts on using cardioid versus omnidirectional microphones for recording

  7. New post in Simplifying Complexity series -- Principle 11: Be both a generalist and specialist at the same time

  8. My upcoming presentation and workshop at the 2019 STC Summit in Denver

  9. Upcoming BrightTALK webinar on trends -- January 15, 2019

  10. Write the Docs Podcast episode 18: Recap and thoughts on the WTD Australia 2018 conference

  11. Bibliography of API documentation articles

  12. How to avoid being a secretary for engineers

  13. I'd Rather Be Writing is now an Alexa Flash Briefing skill

  14. Upcoming full-day API documentation workshop in Menlo Park

  15. The Tell-Tale Project — Guest Post by Edgar Allan Poe, Technical Writer

  16. Preferring technical acuity over specialized knowledge

  17. Write the Docs Podcast Episode 17: Structured Writing -- reasons and approaches, with Mark Baker

  18. Brainstorming by transposing patterns from one category to another

  19. The ideal number of slides for an hour-long presentation, and other thoughts on preparing slides

  20. Tech comm trends -- why tech writers will be collaborating more with engineers

  21. Tech comm trends: Providing value as a generalist in a sea of specialists (Part I)

  22. Tech comm trends: Providing value as a generalist in a sea of specialists (Part II)

  23. Tech comm trends: Providing value as a generalist in a sea of specialists (Part III)

  24. Tech comm trends: Providing value as a generalist in a sea of specialists (Part IV)

  25. Tech comm trends: Providing value as a generalist in a sea of specialists (Part V)

  26. Tech comm trends: Providing value as a generalist in a sea of specialists (Part VI)

  27. Tech comm trends: Providing value as a generalist in a sea of specialists (Part VII)

  28. Tech comm podcasts roundup and survey

  29. Pages at a glance -- the importance of the first two sentences of any topic

  30. Write the Docs Podcast episode 16: An open-source Grammarly for tech docs?

  31. How I handled data for about 10 device specifications on the same page -- the advantages of a flexible, customizable web-based framework like Jekyll

  32. New article in Simplifying Complexity series -- Iterate and increment on content following an agile approach

  33. Getting a job in API documentation -- new topics and expansions in my API doc course

  34. Strategies for learning technology -- podcast recommendation and a poll

  35. If writing is no longer a marketable skill, what is?

  36. My conflicted thoughts about the decentralized web (while taking the Census of Technical Communicators survey)

  37. The right story for tech writers to tell in a corporate blog post

  38. Articulating stories that influence product adoption (new article in Simplifying Complexity series)

  39. Reciprocal knowledge networks and the iFixit Technical Writing Project -- Conversation with Guiseppe Getto

  40. Looking at the theoretical foundations for tech comm -- Conversation with Lisa Melonçon

  41. Adventures of a Techie Academic with Lightweight DITA (LwDITA): Conversation with Carlos Evia

  42. Write the Docs Podcast episode 15: User research, tech writer stereotypes, and conversations

  43. Teaching Technological Adaptability to Bridge the Gap (Guest post by Melonie McMichael)

  44. Combatting the "Make-It-Pretty" Philosophy: Technical Writers Fight Back (Guest post by Emily January Petersen)

  45. Results from my Academic/Practitioner Attitudes surveys now available

  46. The relationship between academics and practitioners -- Podcast with Kirk St. Amant

  47. Reducing the complexity of technical language (new article in Simplifying Complexity series)

  48. Random reflections on the throwaway mentality in our culture

  49. Thoughts on docs-as-code after 3 years -- it works!

  50. A short survey to measure academic/practitioner attitudes

  51. 10 ways technical writing is just like the World Cup

  52. MadCap Flare 2018 and MadCap Central Review for the May 2018 Release -- Guest post

  53. Evaluating the user experience of documentation -- Podcast with Bob Watson

  54. Non-Reference Content section updated in API course

  55. Hiding Complexity -- A new Simplifying Complexity article

  56. New article in Simplifying Complexity: Reconstructing the absent user

  57. The reason I always find time to write on this blog

  58. Stoplight -- creating a single source of truth to drive the API lifecycle

  59. My site now has Algolia search integrated

  60. Replaced the previous weather API example in my API course to now use OpenWeatherAPI

  61. Do you have to relocate to an urban tech hub to find a technical writing job?

  62. Strategies from pickup basketball -- Why you shouldn't guard the worst player or focus too much on the documentation no one reads

  63. New Simplifying Complexity article on shaping information into familiar schemas, especially story

  64. A Review of the MadWorld Conference -- guest post by Jayna Locke

  65. New article on Simplifying Complexity: Reduction, layering, and distillation as a strategy for simplicity

  66. The math game my daughter and her friend created with Codesters

  67. What can we learn from the homogenous profiles in the Stack Overflow 2018 survey?

  68. Write the Docs Podcast episode 14: Humanizing your documentation

  69. Recording of API documentation workshop in Denver

  70. Guest post: The story behind DocToolHub, a site for finding tech comm tools

  71. Recording of Docs-as-code tools and workflows presentation

  72. Recording of STC San Francisco presentation: Beyond mere endpoint reference — the overlooked content in API documentation

  73. New article in Simplifying Complexity -- Ensuring information harmony in the larger documentation landscape

  74. Perspectives on tech comm from the VP Candidates — Q&A with Pam Brewer

  75. Perspectives on tech comm from the VP Candidates — Q&A with Ben Woelk

  76. Recording of OpenAPI and Swagger presentation (for STC and WTD San Diego)

  77. Two open-ended surveys to gauge practitioner/academic attitudes

  78. New Simplifying complexity tutorial: Discoverability through metadata

  79. New section on my site: Simplifying complexity

  80. Write the Docs Podcast episode 13: Postman for API development and docs — Interview with Postman Founder

  81. Recording of WTD South Bay presentation: Publishing tools for API documentation

  82. Unexpected realizations after a comprehensive review of my 2017 site metrics

  83. New STC Intercom article: How to Research What You Need to Learn to Be Successful as a Technical Writer

  84. What technical writing trends will we see in 2018?

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the tech comm, be sure to subscribe to email updates below. You can also learn more about me or contact me. Finally, note that the opinions I express on my blog are my own points of view, not that of my employer.