Increase efficiency 24 times faster when fixing errors — implications for technical writers on agile teams
If you want to influence developers to make changes to code (such as with UI text), it's 24 times easier for developers to make the changes if you tell them the same day they code the feature than if you wait a few weeks later. This means technical writers should keep pace with the features coded during each sprint.
Podcast: Spec-driven Development of REST APIs, with a focus on RAML -- interview with Michael Stowe
Spec-driven development is an approach to developing REST APIs by first describing and prototyping the API through a specification file (such as RAML or Swagger), and then coding the API. The spec not only serves as a contract for the API's development, it can also generate interaction documentation, unit tests, client SDKs, and provide other benefits.
Udemy podcast (with me) and infographic on technical writing
Recently I was interviewed by Alex Bankoff from Udemy for a podcast on the field of technical writing. The Udemy team also created an infographic about the topics covered in the podcast.
5 REST API resources to add to your reading list
The following is a collection of 5 worthwhile REST API resources (blogs, newsletters, or other tutorials) to add to your API reading list.
Tutorial for creating interactive consoles with RAML
This is a tutorial for creating interactive consoles with the RAML spec. The interactive console allows users to try out your API directly in the documentation.
Question: If you weren't a technical writer, what would you be?
My alternative to doing technical writing would be to do web design. I'd also like to use my creative talents to finish an API documentation course, among other efforts.
Why so little focus on API doc at tech comm conferences?
Although API documentation seems to be a rising trend, not many sessions at tech comm conferences focus on API documentation. This puzzles me and makes me wonder whether API doc is a sub-specialization of tech comm only popular in the Bay area.
Question: Can I earn a living blogging?
Although you can't earn much direct revenue from blogging, writing a professional blog can be brand you as an expert in a specific field. This can open doors for you professionally.
Question: How long has your API doc course been available?
I'm developing an online course for documenting REST APIs. I'm not quite done, and I'm trying to figure out the best freemium delivery model.
Question: How are you publishing and delivering your docs?
I'm publishing my documentation through Jekyll, delivering the content on internal servers for internal customers, and delivering it on Salesforce.com for external customers. I wish I had a better delivery mechanism externally other than Salesforce, but authentication solutions are either complicated or costly.
Question: How do I tell what platform people are using for API docs?
It's difficult to tell what platform someone is using for docs, but static site generators are pretty common. Other branding is sometimes easy to recognize.
Experimenting with a shorter post style
I'm going to focus on writing more pages than posts. Given how few people use RSS, the distinction between pages and posts is becoming trivial. It makes more sense to focus my efforts on a more substantial format.
Added native library API section to API doc course
I added a section to my API documentation course on native library API documentation. For technical writers, this is one of the most difficult areas to excel in without a programming background.
Upcoming "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) session
I'll be available September 17 for an AMA session where you can ask me any questions you want, and I'll try to answer them.
Swagger tutorial for REST API documentation
I updated the Swagger tutorial in my API doc course. If you'd like to learn more about Swagger, you can follow along here for step-by-step instruction.