Updated Intro to API documentation topic

I updated the Introduction to API documentation topic in my API doc course in a couple of significant ways. First, I expanded on the many different types of APIs out there (beyond REST). The list now native library APIs, SOAP APIs, RPC-based APIs, gRPC APIs, REST APIs, Voice Assistant APIs, and IoT APIs. I also incorporated research from Smartbear's impressive report called The State of API 2019, which is well worth a read on its own. Read more »

Reflections on my 2019 site analytics

Each year I dive into my Google Analytics numbers and try to identify trends on my blog. In 2019, idratherbewriting.com had 1,974,524 page views, or about 5,409 page views a day (225 page views an hour). Traffic to the API doc site increased from 59% to 72%. Overall, this traffic suggests that maintaining a living documentation site that is continually updated might be more valuable than a continual stream of blog posts. I also reflect on my site's gender analytics, which has a slight trend towards more male readers. Read more »

WTD Podcast episode 26: Technical writing and Reddit, with Alan Bowman

In episode 26 of the Write the Docs podcast, we talk with Alan Bowman about the technical writing forum on Reddit as well as the WTD Slack channel, comparing and contrasting the two spaces. Topics covered include pros and cons of anonymity on the internet, transparency around sensitive or taboo topics (e.g., salary, masters programs, feelings of overwhelm), age/experience demographics for both communities, balancing honesty with professionalism, responding to posts from overwhelmed tech writers, dealing with recurring topics, strategies for participating, and more. Read more »

2020 Developer documentation survey

Around this time of year, I tend to look at tech comm trends for the previous and upcoming year. As I surveyed other tech comm posts about trends, two recent research efforts articles stand out as informative and research-based. Both of these articles were published in the December 2018 issue of Intercom: Saul Carliner's Tech Comm Census results, and Scott Abel's Benchmarking Survey results. Although informative, I wanted to see data more specific to developer documentation, a specialized niche within tech comm, so I decided to create my own survey. Read more »