Coffee and dev docs

Today, I had coffee with Amanda, an Auckland-based tech writer who has had some recent practical experience with developer docs. We exchanged messages through the TechCommNZ (Technical Communicators Association of New Zealand) Slack channel this week and made an instant connection.

It was a great meeting. Amanda learned how to document REST APIs by getting thrown in the deep end at her former company. After a year of writing end-user docs, they asked her to document two of their APIs. That’s a steep learning curve when you’ve never done it before, so she had to learn fast. Amanda found Tom Johnson’s excellent course which is specifically for tech writers wanting to learn API docs (I have done the course twice). Then she got stuck in, learning everything from Git to GitHub, reSTructuredText to Markdown, Sphinx to Swagger.

I have spent several months learning most of those things but not doing.

We are both new to dev docs, we’re both learning, and we’re keen to share our skills. We’ve already planned to meet up again (this time, armed with laptops) and exchange some knowledge. We also hope to unearth some other NZ-based writers who are (or are planning to) documenting for devs.

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