API/Developer documentation writing services

Free up your developers’ time from writing documentation

Having Cherryleaf’s technical communicators write your API documentation is a great way to reduce your developers workload. They can focus on what they do best.

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Give developers the API documentation they need and expect

Surveys by GitHub, ProgrammableWeb and StackOverflow consistently show poor documentation is one of the top workplace gripes for developers.

Documentation is the first place most developers go to try out or learn about a new API. It’s also the place they go to when they come across an issue with a program or platform they already know.

The problem is, writing documentation doesn’t always feel like a priority when you also need to code. This means many organisations find it hard to create the quality documentation that developers need and expect.

What developers want from a developer portal and API documentation

​We’ve created a free mini-course containing three short videos, best practice examples, and resources.

To access the course, click on either the button below or the screenshot image on the right.

Watch the videos

Mini course: What Developers Want from a Developer Portal and API documentation

Google’s recommendations for developer documentation

With REST APIs, you can provide API reference documentation that’s generated automatically from an API specification file.

But API consumers expect more than that.

They want to be able to find the information they need to get things done. Even more experienced developers want to know what the API does, why you’d use it, how to get started, how to get an authentication key, how to get a “Hello World” response, tutorials, and so on.

Without that information, there’s a good chance they’ll give up, and move on to an API that does give them that breadth of information.

With a complete set of documentation, developers are more likely to use your product. Not only that, they’re less likely to contact Support.

For example, here’s the documentation Google recommends its developers provide for “curious beginner users”:

Documentation TypeDescription
ConceptualBuilds a deeper understanding of the underlying technology.
CookbookExplains how to accomplish a specific task.
API referenceDetails all the elements in an API.
Getting startedPushes a curious reader through the first few minutes of use.
Tutorial/CodelabConverts a reader from curious investigator to active user.
One-pagerEncapsulates the essence of a technology onto a single page.
Case studyShows how users successfully employed this technology in the real world.

 

This is the documentation that Google recommends its developers provide for “active users”:

Documentation TypeDescription
API GuideContains far greater detail (including edge cases) than a tutorial or Codelab.
Cheat sheetProvides a condensed set of formulas, short cuts, or other hard to remember items.
FAQAnswers individual questions that users ask.
Release notesDetails recent changes to a product and known problems.
ConceptualBuilds a deeper understanding of the underlying technology.
CookbookExplains how to accomplish a specific task.
API referenceDetails all the elements in an API.

That’s a lot of work for a developer to do.

Cherryleaf's technical writing services solve the API documentation challenges

With Cherryleaf’s API documentation writers onboard, you can provide the clear information your users need and expect.

We really do love writing documentation for clients. We know with good API documentation, you can build confidence that your product is useful, understandable, and well maintained.

Case Studies

Creating a developer documentation portal for a financial organisation

An organisation in the financial sector had developed a collection of APIs and tools for accessing, integrating, and securely sharing data. They had provided some documentation, but it was contained in a number of PDFs and other formats that were hard to read and navigate.

They required a developer documentation web portal that provided overview and guidance, API reference documentation, and onboarding information.

Cherryleaf created an information design model of the revised website, and a complete set of redrafted and consolidated content. The content was organised in a way that follows the journey a developer was likely to take:

  1. Understand the product and services
  2. Setup the product and services
  3. Use the product and services to create apps, call an API, publish APIs, etc
  4. Look up reference information when developing
  5. Sustain/Resolve any problems

We reduced the amount of content, compared to what existed before, so the information was delivered in a clear and accessible way.

Creating API documentation for HCC Embedded

“The first, laborious, step was to get all the information organized into documents in a structured and modular way. As we complete the process we will want to improve presentational aspects to give a better customer and marketing experience.

We see an ongoing role for Cherryleaf as consultants who can help to get better documents out of the vast material we have added to the system. Very importantly, Cherryleaf were able to rapidly respond to our issues with the system and help us understand. We have no expertise in this and did not want to be stuck on things that experts could solve instantly – Cherryleaf were very responsive in this. “

See: Helping HCC deal with the size and complexity of embedded systems documentation

Creating API documentation for a well-known, international company

A large, international, multi-billion dollar company, had developed a series of APIs to make it easier for organisations to use its services. It wanted to provide a developer web portal that encouraged customers and partners to use these APIs.

Cherryleaf organised the content in a way that followed the customer journey:

  1. Discover the APIs
    • Explain what the APIs do
    • Explain the benefits of using the APIs
  2. Register to use the APIs
    • Get subscription keys
  3. Use the APIs
    • Understand the endpoints and code samples
    • Try out the API sandbox
    • Start their integration with the live system
  4. Sustain/Resolve any problems

We wrote a range of marketing, technical, training, and troubleshooting content. The project involved working with their API technical partner, product managers, and technical staff. The portal launch was very successful, with great feedback from the client.

Other ways we can help you

If you want to recruit an in-house technical writer

We can provide you with a technical communicator skilled in writing API documentation. They can work on or off site, depending on your preference.

See Cherryleaf’s recruitment services.

If you want to improve your developers’ writing skills

We offer virtual classroom training courses in technical writing for developers:

  • With Google’s courseware.
  • With Cherryleaf’s courseware.

See Technical writing for developers: Virtual classroom courses

Contact us

Need help in developing your API documentation? Complete the contact form below. Don’t worry if you don’t know the answers to all of the questions.

We will contact you to discuss your situation and requirements.

You can always phone or email us, if you prefer.

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