Workshop on API technical writing

I’m excited and delighted to announce that I’ll be presenting a one-day workshop on API technical writing, in conjunction with the Silicon Valley Chapter of the STC (Society for Technical Communication). 

The workshop will be a practical course on API technical writing, consisting of lectures interspersed with hands-on sessions where you’ll apply what you’ve learned. The focus will be on APIs themselves as well as on documentation, since technical writers need to be able to understand and use a product before we can document it.

Date: Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Time: 9 am to 4 pm

Location: 1295 Charleston Rd, Mountain View, CA 94043 (Google Maps: The building is on the Google campus. The workshop takes place in the “Araujo Tech Talk” room on level 1.

Cost: None. The course is given free of charge, sponsored by Google and the STC Silicon Valley Chapter.


  • STC membership is not required.
  • The course is currently fully subscribed. But it’s worth adding your name to the waiting list, in case a place becomes available closer to the date. We’ll check the number of tickets and the waiting list early in January.
  • If you’ve registered but later find you’re unable to attend, you can cancel your order in EventBrite. This will open up a place for people who are on the waiting list.

Workshop description

The course will include the following sessions:

  • Lecture: Introduction to APIs, including a demo of some REST and JavaScript APIs.
  • Hands-on: Play with a REST API and a JavaScript API.
  • Lecture: JavaScript essentials.
  • Hands-on: Use JavaScript to exercise the sample JavaScript API in a more in-depth manner.
  • Lecture: The components of API documentation.
  • Hands-on: Generate reference documentation using Javadoc.
  • Lecture: Beyond Javadoc – other doc generation tools.

Details and signup

For details of food, what to bring, prerequisites, and how to sign up via EventBrite, please head on over to the STC Silicon Valley workshop page.


Here’s some information about parking near 1295 Charleston Rd, Mountain View (Google Maps:

  • There are several parking lots next to building 1295. You can park in any unmarked spot. Avoid spots that are marked for expectant mothers or other special requirements.
  • If parking immediately near building 1295 is full, you can park in the lots near building SB50 (1350 Shorebird Way):
  • You can also make use of the valet parking between 1245 & 1225 Charleston Rd.

Questions and comments

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

About Sarah Maddox

Technical writer, author and blogger in Sydney

Posted on 3 December 2014, in STC, technical writing, workshops and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. This is fantastic. Are you planning to have one in Sydney? I will sign up! I will organise my own sign language interpreter.

    • Hallo again David 🙂
      I’m so glad you like the idea! I’d like to run a workshop in Sydney, and am planning to liaise with the ASTC at some time when the dust settles a bit, to assess feasibility and demand. Shhh, don’t tell a soul. 😉 I’m making a list of requests for the workshop in various locations, to help assess the demand. I’ll add your request to the list.

  2. What a great idea, any chance if doing one of these in the UK or elsewhere in Europe?

    • Hallo Mick

      I don’t have any concrete plans at this stage, but I’d love to know how much demand there’d be for the workshop in various locations. Also, I’d need to liaise with TCUK and/or another European group, such as tekom.

      I’m making a list of requests for the workshop in various locations, to help assess the demand. I’ll add your request to the list.


  3. Hi Sarah, is there any chance of opening this up to virtual attendees?

    • Hallo Karen
      The format of the workshop isn’t suitable for live streaming or webinar attendance, as it’s very much a hands-on and interactive session. At this point, we don’t have any plans to record it either, for the same reasons. There’s a possibility I may be able to present it again in other locations, depending on demand.

  4. Hi Sarah,

    Should you ever happen to visit Google’s Russian offices in Moscow or Saint Petersburg with this session, I’m totally attending =)

    • Hallo Vadim

      Oh, it would be great to visit Moscow or Saint Petersburg, and to see you there too. It’s an area of the world I’d love to see. Who knows, maybe the opportunity will arise sometime.

      Out of interest, and for others reading this post who may be interested too: Do you have any idea how many tech writers there are in your neck of the woods, and whether they write the docs in English or Russian?


      • With no STC chapters in Moscow (or even Russia), I can only make guesstimates. I’m personally connected with a few scores of talented tech writers, but there must be hundreds more whom I’ve never met.

        Even those who work 100% in Russian are required to have a certain level of a foreign language, be it English, German, French, or any other, which would allow them to translate the doc(s) into the target language or write a new one from scratch if need be.

        From what I gather, conference attendees listen equally eagerly to both Russian and English speaking presenters, with probably a slight preference given to the latter.

  5. Hi Sarah,

    My name is Greg and I’m apart of the STC chapter out of Southern Ontario in Canada. I saw on Tom Johnson’s blog that you will be coming to this side of the hemisphere in January.

    Our chapter would love to hear what you have to saw about API documentation. Though I see that streaming your talk isn’t feasible, is it possible for you to pop by the Google office in Waterloo, Canada? 🙂 I know it isn’t as simple as popping by, but there is a strong technical writing presence here and our chapter would love to have you present at one of our events.

    What do you think?

    • Hallo Greg

      It’s nice to hear from you, and from Southern Ontario too! Alas, popping by won’t be possible this trip 🙂 I’m making a list of interested locations, and will add yours to it. I’m also thinking about the possibility of converting the workshop material to a set of recordings and workbooks, so that people can do it remotely. That’s something that would need to happen later, if demand is high and when I can find the time. I’m greatly looking forward to working with this first group of people in Silicon Valley, to see how much they enjoy and learn from the material.

      Would you be able to give me an idea of how many people in your area would be interested in API tech writing?


  6. Hi Sarah!

    If we talk about the area, we can get a few chapters involved to take advantage of your presence on this side of the world. Our chapter could coordinate with Toronto and Buffalo, NY, for example, to get greater numbers. I only have the numbers for our chapter and it is about 25.

    How many people would justify you taking a trip north?

    • Hallo Greg
      Thanks, that’s useful information. At this stage, I don’t know what the numbers would be, I’m afraid. I’m gathering info (to which I’ll add yours) and I’ll have a chat with the powers that be to decide future plans for the workshop – probably after the first one has successfully happened. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear anything positive. Please feel free to ping me at my work address to ask for progress if I don’t get back to you. My work email address is on the STC Silicon Valley announcement page. 🙂

  7. Hi Sarah,

    I had the lovely pleasure of attending this workshop a few weeks back in Mountain View. Thank you so much–it was fantastic! I left the workshop feeling exhilarated and empowered! I also left without turning in your feedback form :-(. I still have the form (I’m looking at it right now) and I’d love to give you feedback if you still want it. I could give it to you here, in this forum, or privately. Whatever you like. Just let me know.

    One thing I wish I had at my disposal is a video recording of the session. That would’ve been great!

    Again, thank you so much to you and to Google for hosting our big group. I hope to attend a “next step” workshop, if you decide to hold one. 🙂


    • Hallo Laura

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the workshop and got something out of it too. I’d love to have your feedback. I’ll email you personally, so that you can send the feedback via email.

      Creating a recording of the lectures is still something I’d like to do. It’d be great to make the material available to more people! It’s just a matter of finding the time. 🙂

      Thank you too for attending the workshop! I had a good time and learned a lot too.


  1. Pingback: Webinar series on API tech writing, starting February 2015 | ffeathers

  2. Pingback: Designing a workshop and workbooks | ffeathers

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