API governs the interaction between software components. It plays a major role in the world of the web, making it possible to connect the apps and streamline the way they work. API documentation is a technical content deliverable, containing instructions about how to effectively use and integrate with an API. It determines the success of the API by making it easily understandable for the developers and API consumers.
In the recent scenario, among all the phases of the API lifecycle, API documentation is probably the area showing the highest growth opportunities. It doesn’t matter whether you are a seasoned developer, a fresh tech author, or a product manager dwelling in the IT field. You are bound to hear about the APIs. No wonder, API documentation is quite a big thing nowadays due to its direct impact on adoption and usage by the end-users of open-source development environments. APIs are becoming bigger because of their uniqueness and particularly well-executed features. Good documentation leads to great developer experience, improves user adoption, and results in good product maintenance.
API Documentation is a concise reference manual containing all the information required to work with the APIs, with details about the functions, classes, return types, arguments, and more, supported by tutorials and examples.
The foundation of your API must be clearly explained for every call and its corresponding parameter. You should describe the following in detail:
- What every call in API does.
- Each parameter and all of their possible values, including their types, formatting, rules, and whether they are required.
APIs using HTTP protocol is defined as Web Service APIs which are categorized into SOAP API and REST API. SOAP API was first introduced web service API, but the introduction of REST API gained all the popularity among the users. Various surveys have revealed that the REST API documentation is high in demand as compared to SOAP API. SOAP API requires an XML message format for Requests and Responses. The XML message format used is too verbose and heavy unlike the architectural style of REST API which can use any message format including XML, JSON, RSS, Atom, CSV, HTML, and more. The WSDL file is the key to describe how a SOAP API interacts. Whereas, in the REST API, there is no dependency on any file, except the clearly documented APIs. If the API has appropriate syntaxes and parameters defined for the Requests, Responses will be correct.
API documentation may be a new world for the technical writers but it’s not new in the field of Information Technology. No doubt, creating great documentation or writing APIs requires a lot of effort and patience. Learning API documentation may be overwhelming initially and one may get intimidated by the tools and codes used. However, once you understand the basics of API documentation, it gets easier to understand and write excellent API documents that can be consumed by the API Users and API Decision Makers.
To understand what actually goes into API Documentation and to broaden your skills in this field, Metapercept Technology Services LLP provides you expert-led detailed training course on API documentation including the various popular tools used. The tools like GitHub or Jekyll, Swagger Hub, Open API 3.0 assist you with numerous benefits such as-
- GitHub or Jekyll – to generate a static site and helps you maintain updated documentation with a consistent look and feel.
- Swagger Hub – to automatically generates API documentation that is securely hosted in the cloud, and it provides secure access through in-built permission control and integrations with API gateways.
- Open API 3.0 – to support you in designing and documenting API along with converting them to the latest version of specifications.
As a technical writer, these enhanced skills will open a new horizon in your professional life. To know more about the API documentation course, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. To know more about Metapercept, visit www.metapercept.com.