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Chapter 13: Native library APIs

Last updated: May 28, 2023

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Library-based APIs are programming-language-specific APIs, such as Java and C++ libraries (instead of web APIs) that developers compile into their code instead of accessing via web protocols. If you’re documenting a library-based API, at least for the reference content, you add documentation in the form of code comments (following specific tags), and then build the output using tools like Javadoc (for Java) or Doxygen (for C++). Each library-based API has its own documentation generators that build from source and output documentation from comments in that source. Although working in the source code might seem uncomfortable at first, it’s essential to become familiar with these workflows if you want to contribute to the API’s reference documentation.

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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 my API documentation if you're looking for more info about that. 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 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.

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