Staying updated about what developers are changing -- my techniques for information sleuthing
In an ideal world, developers include technical writers in all relevant meetings and keep them updated about changes they're making that might affect the docs. If this is the case for you, count yourself lucky. More often than not, however, technical writers are left out of the loop until the last minute, when someone remembers that the docs likely need to be updated (or should have been updated prior to release). This scenario is just as true whether everyone is working from home or in the office. One solution for this is to embrace a technique for information sleuthing.
Write the Docs Podcast episode 28: UX writing processes and considerations
Write the Docs podcast episode 28 is a recording of a Berlin WTD meetup focused on UX writing processes and considerations. The event was live streamed on March 9, 2020 at the Humanitec in Berlin by Chris Ward.
Tech comm podcasts are growing -- here's a list
Podcasts seem to be growing now more than ever. Here's a list of more than ten technical writing podcasts that you can listen to.
Life on reset -- new dynamics emerging
With the shift to sheltering in place and working from home, I've noticed that my family has grown closer together and that working remotely goes better when everyone is also remote.
Working from home — things I've bought
Now that most of us are working from home, I thought I might write a post about things I've bought in an effort to be more comfortable and productive in wfh mode.
How life has changed with the pandemic
These past two weeks have been incredibly disruptive in terms of world events, and while I usually avoid writing about current events and tend to stay within the tech comm focus, it seems like ignoring the elephant in the room not to mention something about the Coronavirus pandemic.
Webinar recording: How Trends in API Documentation Differ from other Tech Comm Trends
I recently gave a webinar on trends in developer docs to the STC Washington DC chapter on March 12, 2020. In this presentation, I presented the results and analysis of my Trends in Developer Documentation 2020 survey. A recording and audio file is available below.
Introduction to API documentation - Recording from Los Angeles API documentation workshop
In January I gave an API documentation workshop in Los Angeles, and I recorded the first section of the workshop. This section provides an introduction to APIs, including an overview of APIs, the API doc market, info about API popularity, how to submit requests through Postman, and other trends. The recording is available as both a video/audio or standalone audio.
Is there a place for exploratory writing in the workplace?
In a recent episode of The Manuscript, a new podcast by Breno Barreto, Breno asked me questions about blogging and motivations and such. I explained two different modes of writing: explanatory writing versus exploratory writing. Technical documentation is explanatory writing, but many of the posts on my blog are exploratory. Breno asked whether there's a place for exploratory writing in the workplace. This is the great question that every humanities-based or otherwise curious person who is immersed in a corporate world must ask in order to thrive.
Podcast: How Paligo is filling a niche in the CCMS market for complex documentation, with Anders Svensson
I recently chatted with Anders Svensson about how Paligo, a cloud-based CCMS, is filling a niche in the CCMS market for complex documentation needs. Complex documentation refers to documentation with multiple product variants, versions, languages, audiences, and more. In these scenarios, content re-use and scalability become more challenging. Paligo is filling a need for documentation teams that have grown beyond their help authoring tools and need the more robust support that a component content management system (CCMS) offers but without the price tag and implementation timeline.
The Manuscript Podcast, with Breno Barreto -- Episode 2, How technical should a tech writer be?
The Manuscript is a new tech comm podcast produced by Breno Barreto, a technical writer working for VTEX in Brazil. Breno interviewed me for episode 2, titled How technical should a tech writer be? In this podcast, we talked about changes in the tech comm field, how I got started, comparisons with copywriting, API docs, processes for tech writing at Amazon, explanatory writing versus exploratory writing, trends I'm seeing, and more.
Checklist of different types of API docs
In your reading for the week, check out The Ideal Documentation Suite for Software Developers, by Paul Gustafson. In this article, Paul answers the question, What does Expert Support recommend for the contents of an ideal documentation suite for software targeted at software developers?
Podcast with Andrew Davis: Hiring API doc writers -- an inside look at fixing broken processes
I recently chatted with Andrew Davis, a recruiter for API documentation positions in the San Francisco Bay area, about why it's so difficult to hire technical writers for developer documentation roles. Andrew has more experience and knowledge with developer doc jobs, companies, and recruiting processes than nearly anyone else in the tech comm industry. He actually helped me find my first dev doc job when I transitioned to California years ago. Andrew's company is called Synergistech Communications. In this interview, Andrew provides an inside look at fixing broken processes around hiring.
Write the Docs Podcast episode 27: Starting a doc group/process when you're the first
In episode 27 of the Write the Docs podcast, we're joined by Cynthia Ng and Amy Qualls from GitLab to talk about strategies for starting up docs in organizations where there aren't any other tech writers and where you're first on scene setting up shop. What are your first steps as a documentarian when there isn't anyone else, when processes, contacts, tools, and other systems aren't documented or described anywhere? When you're first on scene, docs might not even be your full-time job but rather a task that's on the side of your desk and which you have to bootstrap from ground zero.
*How* you write influences *what* you write — interpreting trends through movements from PDF to web, DITA, wikis, CCMSs, and docs-as-code
In tech comm tool usage over the past 50 years, we've seen tools trends ranging from PDF to web, XML, wikis, CCMSs, and docs-as-code. Although some dismiss tools as short-lived and always changing, the tools and technologies we use do influence what we write, to a degree.