Purpose[ edit ] Just as a graphical user interface GUI makes it easier for people to use programs, application programming interfaces make it easier for developers to use certain technologies in building applications.
Please provide feedback to ericholscher. You can view the source on GitHub. Camera pans from stage left.
It shows a text editor, open to a blank page. A person hunched in front, head to desk. The scene above is well known to everyone who writes for a living; the mixed emotions of a blank page.
Full of excitement, fresh with a new beginning. Yet also full of despair, where do you even start? I am here to stop this scene from playing out. This is a guide to documenting your first project. The first time is always the hardest, and I hope this guide will get you started down the righteous path.
At the end, you should have a project that is ready for public release. Feel free to read this document straight through, or simply use it as a reference. You will look upon a file with a fond sense of remembrance. Then a sneaking feeling of foreboding, knowing that someone less experienced, less wise, had written it.
As you go through this selfless act of untangling things that were obvious or clever months ago, you will start to empathize with your users. If only I had written down why I had done this.
Life would be so much simpler. Documentation allows you to transfer the why behind code. Much in the same way code comments explain the why, and not the how, documentation serves the same purpose.
Sidebar on open source There is a magical feeling that happens when you release your code. It comes in a variety of ways, but it always hits you the same.
Someone is using my code?! A mix of terror and excitement. I made something of value! What if it breaks?! I am a real open source developer! Oh god, someone else is using my code. Writing good documentation will help alleviate some of these fears.
A lot of this fear comes from putting something into the world.There's no API documentation guru whose mentorship you can seek, nor a standard how-to guide for documenting your API.
So we figured it's about time to make public some of the best practices we've developed over the years for writing and updating lucid, navigable, and error-free API docs. In your REST API documentation, you describe the various endpoints available, their methods, parameters, and other details, and you also document sample responses from the endpoints.
From practice to documentation. This means you can write documentation comments and run the Javadoc tool in the earliest stages of design while creating the API, before writing the implementation. Create the list of documents you need to write or update.
Reference documents for an API are quite numerous.
There is an overview page for the API, a page for each interface, one for each method (including constructors) and . Generic — the full set of API that are bundled in the libraries of a programming language (e.g.
the standard Template Library in C++ or the Java API) Specific — meant to address a specific problem, How to Write API Documentation – Free eBook.
API documentation (API docs) or API specifications (API specs) On-line or hardcopy descriptions of the API, intended primarily for programmers writing in Java. These can be generated using the Javadoc tool or created some other way.