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:
- Eight videos that:
- Provide background information on APIs and structured data
- Break down sample JSON and XML files to show you how they work
- Show real-time, narrated writing of JSON and XML documentation
- Four hands-on exercises to lead you through building and documenting JSON and XML files
- Two text-based lectures about useful software tools
- Five short quizzes to keep you on your toes
- PowerPoint presentations as a resource for every video lecture
The course takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete, depending on how fast you are with the exercises.
- Teacher's background and credentials
- What are APIs?
- Why is API documentation important?
- JSON, XML, and how they compare
- Class overview
- Data types
- Boolean values
- Structured data
- The history of JSON
- Basic data types
This lecture is actually a hands-on exercise. Create a JSON file according to the given specifications.
- How JSON is used for both requests and responses
- Documenting a JSON element
- Documenting acceptable values
- Documenting element nesting
- A text editor (such as Notepad or Atom) and a Word Processor (such as MS Word, Apple Pages, or Google docs)
- Read and understand structured data in JSON and XML formats.
- Write documentation for JSON and XML files, for API documentation or other types of documentation.
- Understand how to edit JSON and XML for tools that generate documentation.
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.