API Technical Writing – tcworld India 2016

This week I attended tcworld India 2016 in Bangalore. What an amazing experience! I’ll write a summary of the conference soon. First, here are some notes on a session that I presented at the conference: “Introduction to API Technical Writing”.

The slides for my presentation are available on SlideShare: Introduction to API Technical Writing (slides).

Presentation overview:

  • An introduction to APIs.
  • An overview of the role of API technical writer, and of our audience – the developers who need our documentation to use
  • APIs in their applications.
  • A technical writer’s view of the types of API we might document.
  • Demos of 2 APIs that you can play with yourself.
  • The components of API documentation.
  • Examples of good and popular API documentation.
  • Working with engineers.
  • Tips on getting started as an API technical writer.
  • Why API technical writing is a good field to be in.

API Technical WritingThank you so much to everyone who attended the talk. The room was packed to overflowing. After the session, and indeed throughout the conference, people came up to discuss the field of API technical writing and to show me things they were working on. A number of conference attendees do API documentation as part of their role, and it was very interesting to see the variety of requirements even in this niche within a niche: API documentation within the technical writing profession.

For the next tworld India, I think it’d be a good idea to have a panel discussion on API documentation. We could invite 3 or 4 people working on different types of APIs, and within different environments (such as internal versus external documentation, or integrations).

About Sarah Maddox

Technical writer, author and blogger in Sydney

Posted on 27 February 2016, in APIs, technical writing, Tekom tcworld and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. OMG!! you were in India!?!? I missed out on the TC World. I so much want to dive in to API tech writing. Hope I will make it to next TC World to attend your session.

    • Hallo MJ

      tcworld India was a great conference. I met so many interesting tech writers, and learned about the many ways we approach our roles.

      Since the conference, STC India approached me about hosting a webinar on the same topic. We ran the webinar, and we plan to post a recording once we’ve sorted out some technical glitches. Follow the STC India YouTube channel for updates.


  2. Thanks Sarah 🙂
    Will follow the YouTube channel.
    Is there a way to get started with API docs? some kind of practice.
    In my current org, we dont have API docs.

    • Hallo MJ
      A good way is to experiment with a few APIs. There are some good ones out there, such as Flickr and Google Maps, and many others. That’ll help you understand them from the user’s point of view – the user being a developer in the case of APIs. Keep an eye open for doc sprints that you may be able to get involved in, such as those run by Mozilla. And learn the basics of a programming language, such as Python and/or JavaScript to start with.
      I hope that helps!

    • Oh, and I’ve just remembered that the Write the Docs Portland conference is running a number of doc sprints on Sunday 22 May. I’m not sure if people can participate remotely. It’s worth asking. http://www.writethedocs.org/conf/na/2016/schedule/

  3. Thanks Sarah 🙂

  4. Hi Sarah, thank you for such an excellent session.
    For everyone’s sake here’s the YouTube link to the webinar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8EwhTmHQzI

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