Newsletter: Markprompt Q&A, LearningDITA, Snowflake docs, AI Commits

The latest techcomm news for April 24, 2023.

Meandering thoughts on my 2022 site analytics

I updated my site analytics page for the 2022 year. I usually do this at the turn of the year, particularly when renewing ads on the site, but this year I got lazy and postponed it until last weekend. In this post, I talk about a variety of site-related challenges and issues, from content focus to monetization and more.

Markprompt Q&A with Michael Fester

Last week I played around with Markprompt, integrating it in a basic way on my API doc site (click the Chat button). During the process, I had a few questions, mostly around how to optimize content for embedding. I asked the co-founder, Michael Fester, if he’d be up for a Q&A post, and he agreed. Our Q&A exchange covers everything covers everything from the history of Markprompt to strategies for links, analytics workflows, optimal page sizes, preventing hallucination, structure and semantics, branding, privacy, and more. If you’re looking to move toward integrating GPT-style chat into your docs, especially with Markprompt, this post might help clarify some details.

Newsletter: Alphadoc, vocab lookup, field, Open Assistant, Markprompt, content ops

Here's a summary of the latest tech comm news for April 20, 2023.

Newsletter: GPT-4 tutors,, Dark user manuals, interfaces for reading docs, automation scripts, and bball

Here are links for my April 17, 2023 newsletter.

AI chat interfaces could become the primary user interface to read documentation

AI topics have saturated online posts ad nauseam, and I wouldn’t add yet another post to the endless list of speculative theorizing unless I believed I had a genuine light bulb moment. In this post, here's what I argue:–AI chat interfaces could become the primary user interface that people use to read documentation, not documentation websites themselves.–AI chats will enable novices to tackle more advanced tasks, leading to an explosion of technical innovation.–Documentation will provide the information source that AI chat engines need to respond to queries.–Both tech writers and machines will write the information source.

Using AI tools to look up words and provide mini-poems to help remember their meaning

I've been using AI to look up vocabulary terms. Not just to provide definitions, but to provide sample sentences, etymology, and a mini poem to help remember the meaning. It's fun and a lot faster than looking up words one by one. The most fun part is the poem, which is often delightful.

A script that creates a new Jekyll post and populates it with YAML frontmatter, and also makes a curl call to add a Rebrandly shortlink

I wanted to make it easier to create new blog post files in Jekyll, so I made a script that automates some of this functionality. (This is also an example of how AI tools can help you write code.)

Newsletter: Docs-as-ecosystem, structure in WordPress, identity crisis, and pencils

The following are a few interesting links related to tech comm I've been reading this week.

Newsletter: AI and tech comm survey results, Zoomin's predictions, Beating an ATS, ChatGPT plugin docs

The following are a few interesting links related to tech comm I've been reading this week.

Survey results: Technical writers on AI

I recently conducted an informal survey to find out the thoughts and concerns of technical writers about AI's impact on tech comm. 291 people responded to the survey. This post is a brief analysis of the findings. (The tldr here is this: change is coming quickly to the profession.)

Newsletter: Why engineers need to write, tech writers in pop culture, 101 subreddit, Cambrian period of AI (April 4, 2023)

The following are a few interesting links related to tech comm I've been reading this week.

Survey on the impact of AI on tech comm

The following is a short survey on the impact of AI on tech comm, specifically on technical writing and producing documentation. Many speculate that AI tools might soon automate many tech writing tasks, and there's growing concern that major disruption is imminent. Is that future dystopian, or will it unlock new opportunities? This survey seeks to take the pulse of tech comm, gathering the thoughts and feelings that tech writers have about AI and whether it will transform the practice of documentation.

Upcoming Webinar: API Trends Across the Lifecycle Webinar (April 11, 2023)

I'm participating in an upcoming Stoplight webinar called API Trends Across the Lifecycle Webinar, along with James Higginbotham and Keith Casey.

Beyond 'parts' documentation: Moving towards systems thinking with developer portals

In this post, I continue the series on systems thinking and tech comm, describing my experience in writing a documentation project plan for a large project involving multiple APIs. I argue that we should look at how APIs interact as a network rather than just documenting each API as a standalone part.