APIs Here We Come

API documentation –now there’s an opportunity! Or if we’re being honest, here’s a hole in the technical writing field. So how do you get ahead of API documentation needs? Well that’s the good news bad news question – the bad news – you’re already late to this party. The good news, there are fewer people who even know how to get to the party. Let’s start with some basics.

APIs documentation is not hard. API documentation delivery is what’s at issue. The tools to deliver API documentation have not kept up with the need to deliver API documentation. So we’re all in a similar situation as when CCMS’s were fragile and delivery was a separate problem instead of part of the whole documentation environment.

My writing team was challenged with delivering API documentation in a browser-based format and kept in sync with the code which it was related.  What went into that challenge was determining:
• Who is writing APIs in our engineering teams?
• How many APIs are they writing?
• What tools are they writing in?
• What standards are they using?
• Anybody familiar with best practices?
• No standard tool for writing APIs
• No standardization between APIs
• No billboards anywhere to tell the engineering teams – Pubs needs to know about your APIs
• No one was thinking about how they were going to deliver API documentation at scale

Solving these questions as well as getting ahead of the coming APIs was not an unusual task – all writing teams come across these types of issues – these were not new problems but the technical writing team being involved in the APIs was new territory. As usual, some engineers were happy to have pubs involved others were questioning our talking to them in the first place.

Again, nothing new to a pubs team – just a new area of content.

What can the audience expect to learn?

Audience will learn about one effort to deliver API documentation in sync with APIs in a browser based format

Meet the presenter

Peggy Sanchez is a Senior Tech Pubs Manager within the Knowledge Management team at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. She has a degree in Scientific and Technical Communication and a Masters in Management of Technology. She is an agent  of change and relishes the opportunity to modernize the HPE Knowledge Management environment with the other KM managers. She is an experienced presenter with CIDM, LavaCon, and Content Wrangler. Has led her teams in the adoption of DITA, implementing a CCMS-  repairing the tech pubs team after a poor CCMS implementation,  adopting portal delivery, and developing API documentation and delivery AND keeping it in sync with the code.

Peggy lives in St. Paul and is raising 4 backyard chickens– Lily, Pinkie, Lulu, and Pecky Sue.

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