Write the Docs has a meetup in downtown San Francisco on Dec. 17. The topic is on creating documentation for startups, and will feature a panel discussion. You can ask questions ahead of time, or come prepared to ask them at the meeting.
As with any help system, there are some pros and cons with using Jekyll for documentation sites. Since I usually emphasize the pros of Jekyll in my posts, I wanted to balance out the perspective a bit by listing 10 cons and 10 pros.
Instead of resorting to an expensive Component Content Management System (CCMS) to facilitate content re-use and collaboration across projects, you can probably get by with some basic version control tools that software developers have been using to collaborate on projects for years.
Technical writing is a pretty awesome career. You'll probably enjoy it unless you dislike writing, aren't technical, hate working in team environments, and prefer to write content that pressures people to buy crap they don't need.
Jekyll's incremental regeneration continuously rebuilds your project each time you save a change. This can help you quickly identify errors and fix them immediately, since the time between when you make the error and when you're notified of the broken build is reduced.
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.
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.
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.
The following is a collection of 5 worthwhile REST API resources (blogs, newsletters, or other tutorials) to add to your API reading list.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
© 2023 Tom Johnson