On cultivating a garden while the world is crumbling around you

Last Monday was one of my lowest days of the pandemic. The wildfires burning up and down the west coast had made our air toxic, so I'd been indoors for the past four days. We'd already been at home all day because of the pandemic, but at least we could go for hikes and bike rides and walks. Now we just had the surrounding walls of our home. Read more »

SmartBear's 2020 API report finds 'Accurate and detailed documentation' to be second-most important characteristic of APIs

SmartBear recently published its 2020 The State of API report, which collected responses to 52 questions from 3,500+ respondents. Reading this report will make any technical writer feel like he or she has an important role with API docs. However, the report also notes that 'API documentation represents big opportunity for improvement,' which I think suggests that many existing processes for documentation in the software are kind of broken. Read more »

WTD Podcast Episode 31: Site search, with Peter Levan

So many documentation websites rely on search as part of their information architecture. But what do you actually need to consider if you want to make your site search return answers for users in relevant, efficient ways? Join Peter Levan from Funnelback with regular guests Chris, Jared, and Tom for a talk all about making search work well on your site. Some of the questions discussed include: Why can't you just let Google do the searching and indexing for you? Do you need to pay big money to get a site search tool? How do you make your docs site talk robot? Read more »

Redocly tutorial added to API course

I added a lengthy tutorial in the API doc course for using Redocly. Redocly provides a variety of tools for working with API docs. Using Redocly's command-line tools, you can split the OpenAPI definition into many sub-files, and then later bundle up the discrete files into a single file during the publishing stage. You can generate your docs into one of the most attractive outputs available for REST API docs, including integration with conceptual topics as well. Redocly also offers more robust developer portals and SaaS offerings that cover the full authoring and publishing lifecycle. Read more »

New article in API course -- Questions to ask during a documentation kickoff and demo

At some point after receiving a new documentation project, the first step in the project is to hold a documentation kickoff meeting and product demo. These meetings are mostly about gathering information so you can create the documentation. The following are some initial questions and topics for these meetings. Read more »