For another angle at how Zapier thinks about helping users, read our guide to building an effective support database. Look for the documentation features you like and use them in your own docs to make your own documentation more valuable. This also means you should license the code in these clients as freely as you are able — hopefully that means MIT or Apache 2.
Be sure to explain clearly what each of the possible values are for these headers, how to acquire or generate those values and how their usage will modify the responses from the API.
Examples in Multiple Client Technologies For the newcomer and debugger, you should strive to represent typical client use of your API from the perspective of multiple client technologies, including cURL and the most popular programming languages in use by web and native client developers.
You should also make this technology selection visually unobtrusive on your docs site, as any given user of your docs will likely only need to make the choice once to select their preferred technology.
There are almost certainly more aspects of your API documentation that we could all improve and learn from. Very often developers are not the ones making the decision on whether to spin up a project or a team — a decision maker often makes that call ahead of time.
Many developers use tabs as a way to organize examples in different languages. But the real work is the ongoing care of the community: And in the case of a failure, you will want to provide descriptive error messages that tell the client not just what went wrong, but how to fix it.
Find a doc tool that supports the OpenAPI specification. These tools help you provide documentation as shown in the ReadMe.
If you make great clients, though, you can reduce the number of developers in debugger mode by simply solving most common issues in the client itself. I enjoy driving very fast cars and drinking red wine; privately. Your documentation should also be easily understood and written for developers typically by an experienced documentation team.
A framework and all the vital information for a user to get started is enough to publish. The tutorial should integrate explanations of what the various API resources and states are in a business or domain sense while it explains how to manipulate them. If you want to pursue the docs-as-code route, you could use a number of tools besides Jekyll.
Developers will get stuck less frequently, there will be fewer support requests, and hopefully fewer angry emails.
Your API docs are, after all, part of your brand. Note that authentication is often a topic unto itself, especially if you are using OAuth and especially for OAuth request signing, which is a highly specific and error-prone process with differing implementations in various language libraries, many of which are subtly incorrect.
Instead, you should strive to make the documentation for every call intelligible first to the searcher, who is trying to understand which call does what to which nouns and why.
Creating perfect documentation is difficult, if not impossible. What makes the best API documentation? Behind each language is a page with a quickstart, full documentation, an API reference, a project on GitHub, and often more. Know that client libraries for your API are very helpful, but also that they are a long-term investment of time and resources.
The absolute lowest friction is to supply everything for the developer. This is to contextualize your resources and explain how your API works in the big picture.
Stripe creates a unique API key for every visitor to its documentation, providing the ultimate low-friction path to sample calls. Should I own MadCap and Framemaker? For example, we may send an engineer a review task, and he or she will respond by submitting a change request using the same Review Board tools as with code to merge his or her edits into a branch in our doc repo.
Therefore we selected our tooling to fit our needs and environment. Most importantly, keep the user experience front-of-mind.
Most engineers like to write in Markdown, and they are comfortable interacting with text files in repos. While you might think you know the best use-cases for your product, they might not be the most popular.How to Write Good API Documentation. Good documentation should act as both a reference and an educator, letting developers quickly obtain the information they are looking for at a glance, while also reading through the documentation to glean an understanding of how to integrate the resource/method they are looking at.
Create minimum viable documentation. Writing API documentation from scratch isn't exactly a weekend project. The best API docs take years to build, iterate, and perfect.
But that doesn't mean you should spend months on your documentation before giving your consumers access to it. Developers love Twilio's API docs. Finding the right software tools to write API docs is a constant and difficult challenge given the wide variety of tooling and environments in the developer doc space.
However, if your goal is to break into developer documentation (rather than specifically reworking your company's documentation. How to Write Good API Documentation The Importance of API Documentation Since APIs are designed to be consumed, it is important to make sure that the client, or consumer, is able to quickly implement an API and understand what is happening with it.
The Best API Documentation As a developer, I often need to make use of API documentation to understand how to use a service on which I want to depend. Getting started from scratch is always the biggest challenge and use of time, so I greatly appreciate those APIs that are very well-documented.
Writing tools for software documentation. Software documentation is often written in markdown to allow for hyperlinks and formatting while keeping it plain text so it can live alongside the code files in version control. That means that a lot of my choices for writing tools are simple markdown editors that make the writing experience enjoyable.
Additionally, there are also a couple of very effective non-mparkdown .Download