This is the first in a series of courses for technical writers who want to learn how to write API documentation. This course teaches how to document structured data, focusing on the two most popular structured data formats: JSON and XML. If you are new to API documentation, this is a great place to start. No programming experience is required, but technical writers with programming experience who want to know more about structured data will still find it useful.
What are APIs?
APIs (Application Program Interfaces) define how software systems talk to each other, and API documentation is a rapidly growing field. There is a strong need for writers who can understand APIs and explain them so that software developers can understand how to use them. API writers get to be in on the cutting edge of technology in high-paying positions.
What is in This Course?
By the end of the course, you will understand what APIs are, why they are important, and how to read and document structured data. In this course you'll find:
The course takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete, depending on how fast you are with the exercises.
Please answer the following questions about data types.
For this class, you'll be creating JSON and XML files. This lecture recommends some tools you can use.
On completion, students will be able to read and understand JSON files.
Note that this for this (and all video lectures), the PowerPoint presentation is included as a resource.
This lecture is actually a hands-on exercise. Create a JSON file according to the given specifications.
Please answer the following questions about JSON.
This lecture is an exercise where you will document three JSON files.
Answer these questions about JSON documentation:
I suggested using indentation in tables to indicate nesting. More recently, I have seen a different approach using sample JSON. This short article describes this approach.
On completion, students will be able to read and understand XML files.
This lecture is an exercise where you will create three XML files according to specifications.
Please answer the following questions about XML.
On completion, students will know the basics of how to document XML.
This lecture is an exercise where you will document three XML files.
Answer the following questions about XML documentation:
Covers what kinds of tools are available for documenting JSON and XML.
Learn how to document REST APIs.
Peter founded SDK Bridge to bring together his love of technology and writing. After 10 years as a software developer, he learned the skill of API writing at Microsoft. Since then, he has worked as an API writer to describe APIs for eCommerce, automobile traffic prediction, electric utilities, mobile phones, and tractors, just to name a few. In addition to API and SDK documentation, he creates video tutorials for software developer audiences. Peter received his BA in Physics from the University of Chicago and his PhD in Applied Physics from Stanford University.