API Documentation: How to Build It Right?

26 July 2017 |

api-docs

In today's highly developed Web world the usage of API is growing rapidly, increasing the popularity of the software and making it a wow service. However, it’s not easy to gain the acceptance and persuade developers to choose your solution over competitors’ ones. This means that you have to deserve the trust of programmers making the API  developer-oriented and as simple to use as possible.

Documentation takes the central stage in the way how API is adopted by developers. Third rate documentation will cause the situation when programmers try to avoid the usage of your API at all costs. That’s why, good documentation is extremely important to encourage and keep developers interested in your product. So, how does ideal doc look like?

Firstly, it’s worth mentioning that there is no standardized way to build an API documentation, however, there are four main areas that have to be covered. General overview shows the architecture and allows to understand what exactly your API does. Getting started section should provide some tutorials or walkthroughs and inform what is necessary to proceed with.

Developer

Code samples appears to be the brownie points, as developers, more than anything, like to use them as a base of the work and as a source of learning. Sample code gives the possibility to experiment with the functionality and enables to make API requests immediately. Moreover, take care about most used programming languages and provide API calls in PHP, Java, C# or others. Description section must provide programmers with the clearly defined purpose of the call, response and errors that may occur.

Following this simple scheme you will be able to provide developers with rich documentation to get started immediately.  Also, believe, they will really appreciate the possibility to choose the programming language they like and by simple copy-pasting the code samples, see how each API method responses.

From a scratch API documentation building doesn’t contribute to a seamless job, that is why there are lot of tools (e.g Swagger) presented in tech world to make strong docs. It’s  the matter of programmers taste which one to choose and maintain. However, remember the saying of Bruno Pedro, a web and business developer: Documentation is something that needs a lot of focus on detail, and should continually reflect the latest API changes. Our advice is to always follow the industry standards and use proven method and tools.

API2Cart, as a unified API provider, strives to offer excellent service and satisfy developers most spontaneous desires and wishes. Our Dev Team has worked its fingers to the bones and presented both static and interactive documentations that outline best patterns of work with the service. API2Cart gives a single API to perform integration with 30+ shopping carts and helps developers to avoid all the complexity of developing multiple modules for data interaction.

If there are some questions to ask about work with API2Cart, don’t hesitate to schedule a FREE Consultation with our representative. We are always ready to provide you with qualified advice.