The quality of your API documentation reflects on the quality of the API itself. Whether your API is for internal use or public consumption, we can help ensure your documentation showcases your API and provides developers with the information they really want.
Great API documentation is more than just a list of endpoints—it teaches developers how to interact with your API. Effective documentation addresses the needs of new developers, who are learning about the API, as well as advanced developers who are delving into everything the API has to offer.
With all of the APIs available today, developers won’t spend time and money on an API if they don’t understand how to use it. This makes API documentation indispensable to increase API adoption as well as support your existing customers.
Auto-generated API documentation can be a good starting point but it doesn’t contain everything developers need. We can help take your API documentation to the next level. We work with your development team to gather information you just can’t get with auto-generated documentation. We then create comprehensive documentation that focuses on the tasks developers want help with.
What is great API documentation?
Great API documentation provides both the big picture and the tiny details. In our experience, effective API documentation addresses the following areas.
- Overview of the API’s purpose and potential, helping developers understand what they can accomplish with the API.
- Overview of the API framework, helping developers understand what the API can and cannot do.
- Overview of how the API interacts with other components and processes (such as authentication/authorization).
- Getting started tutorial that walks the developer through a simple task to ease them into using the API. This helps developers get over the initial learning curve.
- Basic and advanced use case examples focusing on typical tasks developers want to accomplish. Including code snippets helps developers learn and also provides them with a starting point for their own projects.
- Optimization tips to help developers ensure their application takes full advantage of the API.
- Error handling and troubleshooting to help developers resolve issues. Error documentation should be comprehensive to help eliminate support calls and customer frustration.
- Sample request/response messages, including the purpose of each call and descriptions of each element.
- Detailed information about all functionality (classes, methods, endpoints, etc.) for advanced developers.
- A working sample application that shows how everything in your API fits together is the best way to show your API in action.