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Chapter 7: Conceptual topics in API docs

Last updated: May 28, 2023

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Conceptual topics that make up documentation include product overviews, getting started tutorials, authentication and authorization, status and error codes, rate limiting and thresholds, quick reference guides, glossaries, and best practices. These topics provide critical context for understanding and using the API beyond just the reference documentation. The chapter explores best practices for each topic, reasons why the topics are often neglected, and includes examples from API documentation sites. Activities guide you to evaluate these topics in an open source API project and decide which examples demonstrate best practices. The chapter emphasizes the importance of conceptual documentation in facilitating the user’s journey in understanding and adopting the API.

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.

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