Google Inc. (www.google.com) is an American multinational corporation specializing in Internet-related services and products. These include search, cloud computing, software, and online advertising technologies. Expert Support has done several projects for Google, including API documentation for software products, user documentation for consumer products, and internal web pages for employees.
An application programming interface (API) is a set of defined interfaces for a specific software application, such as desktop publishing software, a database, or an accounting package. An API allows access to that application through a program instead of through a user interface.
Technical documents have a purpose. If you don’t understand the purpose of a document before you start writing it, you may deliver the wrong document. A document specification (doc spec) should define your document before you have a chance to get into trouble.
You have a new software tool project, and you know the finished product is going to need good documentation. What does that mean, and what’s it going to take? When should you get started working on the documentation, and how much of your team’s time will be taken up by it?
What it is… As technical writers, we are often called upon to do a developmental edit on existing documentation. As a web search quickly reveals, “developmental edit” means different things to different people.
You’re working on the release of your new software, hardware, widget, or other technical masterpiece, and realize that you need to include documentation in the package to get your customers started using your product. The question is, what role do you want the docs to play?