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Learn API Technical Writing: JSON and XML for Writers

API Documentation1: Teaches technical writers how to document structured data. No programming experience required.
Instructor:
Peter Gruenbaum
6,895 students enrolled
English
Read and understand structured data in JSON and XML formats.
Write documentation for JSON and XML files, for API documentation or other types of documentation.
Understand how to edit JSON and XML for tools that generate documentation.

This is the first in a series of courses for technical writers who want to learn how to write API documentation. This course teaches how to document structured data, focusing on the two most popular structured data formats: JSON and XML. If you are new to API documentation, this is a great place to start. No programming experience is required, but technical writers with programming experience who want to know more about structured data will still find it useful.

What are APIs?

APIs (Application Program Interfaces) define how software systems talk to each other, and API documentation is a rapidly growing field. There is a strong need for writers who can understand APIs and explain them so that software developers can understand how to use them. API writers get to be in on the cutting edge of technology in high-paying positions.

What is in This Course?

By the end of the course, you will understand what APIs are, why they are important, and how to read and document structured data. In this course you'll find:

  • Eight videos that:
    • Provide background information on APIs and structured data
    • Break down sample JSON and XML files to show you how they work
    • Show real-time, narrated writing of JSON and XML documentation
  • Four hands-on exercises to lead you through building and documenting JSON and XML files
  • Two text-based lectures about useful software tools
  • Five short quizzes to keep you on your toes
  • PowerPoint presentations as a resource for every video lecture

The course takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete, depending on how fast you are with the exercises.

Introduction

1
Overview

Covers:

  • Teacher's background and credentials
  • What are APIs?
  • Why is API documentation important?
  • JSON, XML, and how they compare
  • Class overview
2
Data Types and Structured Data

Covers:

  • Data types
  • Boolean values
  • Structured data
3
Identify Types of Data

Please answer the following questions about data types.

4
Tools for Writing JSON and XML

For this class, you'll be creating JSON and XML files. This lecture recommends some tools you can use.

JSON

1
What is JSON and How Does It Work?

Covers:

  • The history of JSON
  • Basic data types
  • Arrays
  • Objects
  • Nesting
  • Indentation

On completion, students will be able to read and understand JSON files.

Note that this for this (and all video lectures), the PowerPoint presentation is included as a resource.

2
Create a JSON File Exercise

This lecture is actually a hands-on exercise. Create a JSON file according to the given specifications.

3
JSON Quiz

Please answer the following questions about JSON.

4
Documenting JSON

Covers:

  • How JSON is used for both requests and responses
  • Documenting a JSON element
  • Documenting acceptable values
  • Documenting element nesting
5
JSON Documentation Exercise

This lecture is an exercise where you will document three JSON files.

6
JSON Documentation

Answer these questions about JSON documentation:

7
An Alternative to Indenting

I suggested using indentation in tables to indicate nesting. More recently, I have seen a different approach using sample JSON. This short article describes this approach.

XML

1
What is XML and How Does It Work?

Covers:

  • What is XML?
  • Tags and content
  • Attributes
  • Namespaces and Comments
  • Indentation
  • Schemas

On completion, students will be able to read and understand XML files.


2
Create XML Exercise

This lecture is an exercise where you will create three XML files according to specifications.

3
XML Quiz

Please answer the following questions about XML.

4
Documenting XML

Covers:

  • Differences between XML documentation and JSON documentation
  • Documenting attributes
  • Using multiple tables

On completion, students will know the basics of how to document XML.

5
XML Documentation Exercise

  This lecture is an exercise where you will document two XML files.

6
XML Documentation

Answer the following questions about XML documentation:

Final Words

1
Tools for Writing Structured Data Documentation

Covers what kinds of tools are available for documenting JSON and XML.

2
Using Structured Data for Documentation

Covers:

  • Why use structured data for documentation
  • Using JSON to describe APIs
  • Using XML to describe XML (XSD)
  • Disadvantages to this approach
3
Review and Next Steps

Covers:

  • Review of everything you've learned in this course
  • What is the next step for learning to document APIs
4
Bonus Lecture: Offer for Next Course in the Series

Learn how to document REST APIs.

You can view and review the lecture materials indefinitely, like an on-demand channel.
Definitely! If you have an internet connection, courses on Udemy are available on any device at any time. If you don't have an internet connection, some instructors also let their students download course lectures. That's up to the instructor though, so make sure you get on their good side!
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1 hours on-demand video
4 articles
Full lifetime access
Access on mobile and TV
Certificate of Completion