API technical writing (stc14)
This week I’m attending STC Summit 2014, the annual conference of the Society for Technical Communication. Yesterday it was my turn to present a session.
My presentation was titled, “API Technical Writing: What, Why and How“. (The link is to the slides on SlideShare.) My aim was to introduce technical writers to APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and to the world of API documentation. I hoped it would be useful to writers who’ve had very little exposure to APIs, as well as to those who’ve played with APIs a bit and want to learn about the life of an API technical writer.
Here’s a summary of the presentation:
- Introduction to the role of API technical writer.
- Overview of the types of developer products we may be asked to document, including APIs (application programming interfaces), SDKs (software development kits), and other developer frameworks.
- What an API is and who uses them.
- A day in the life of an API technical writer—what we do, in detail.
- Examples of good and popular API documentation.
- The components of API documentation.
- Useful tools.
- How to become an API tech writer—tips on getting started.
Demo of the Flickr API
I did a live demo of the Flickr API. It worked! The demo gremlins hadn’t found me yet. 🙂 If you’d like to play with this API yourself, take a look at the Flickr Developer Guide (and later the Flickr API reference documentation). You’ll need a Flickr API key, which is quick and easy to get. Slide 23 in my presentation shows the URL for a simple request to the Flickr API.
Feeling adventurous? Grab another set of code, which adds a weather and cloud layer to the map: HelloMapsWeather.HTML.
There are more links to follow in the presentation itself: API Technical Writing: What, Why and How. I hope you enjoy playing with some APIs and learning about the life of an API technical writer!