Today, organizations are finding the best ways for implementing API’s(Application programming interface) programs for their applications. In this blog, we will explore what means to document your API, and why it’s important to have good API documentation. API’s which enables data transformation in the form of requests and responses. The API documentation is the official reference for all the functionality which your application contains.
How API Documentation is useful?
API documentation does not require any programming knowledge, you can create and manage the documentation with having some technical knowledge. All you need to have is a clear idea about your application and the requirement of your application.
It helps your team to understand the details of your resources, methods, their associated requests & responses and making the updates.
Documentation provides a great experience when using API. It also improves developer experience as if the developer will get the correct documentation they can create the services very easily and save time by replying emails and calls for clarity as well as understanding.
To explain this blog better, You need to know about the API first.
API(Application programming interface)
The mobile application connects to the Internet and sends data to a server. The server then gets that data and performs the necessary actions and sends a response back to your mobile application. The application then interprets that response data and represents the information in a user-readable way. Here API connects server request to mobile. API’s work as the interface between multiple software to communicate with each other.
For better understanding, let’s take a basic example, human and computer communicate with each other with the help of a keyboard. So, here keyboard is an interface between human and computer that allows human to send request and computer responds to a given input. This is all that API does.
Restful API in simple words
Here I am using Rest API because it’s simple to work on and also easy to access by consumer and producer. Rest API defines a set of rules by which data can transfer over an HTTP server. REST focuses on design rules for creating stateless services.
A client can access the data or resource using the unique URL and a representation of the data is returned as a response. We can use each new data representation, the client transfers.
Using Restful API’s with HTTP protocol, GET, PUT, DELETE, POST is the standard HTTP methods used for sending requests and receiving responses.
Get started to create the document
There are many ways to start with documenting your APIs. But if you want to get started from scratch, apidoc tool is best as they are open source and easy to work on. It helps you to automate and manage the process of the documentation. So let us get started with the documentation process using API Doc.
API Doc: API doc is one the simplest tool for creating documentation for how the applications can interact and use the data from an API. Apidoc creates the documentation using code comments.
Here we are going to use the APIDOC.JS which is the module of NODEJS CLI.
- It is used for Inline Documentation for RESTful web APIs.
- ApiDoc creates documentation from API annotations in your source code.
Steps for creating document are
Step 1- You need to install node js in your system through a node package manager.
Step 2- Run command ” npm install apidoc -g” on NODE CLI.
Now after the installation, you need to follow structure parameters. Without defining these params API doc parser will ignore and block the documentation, let’s have a look at the short description of each.
Below example snippet is for creating apidoc for getting user details:
Step 3: Run the command on NPM CLI
apidoc -i /public_html/project/ -o /public_html/project/apidoc/template
Here -i is the input source directory name and -o is the output source directory name which will be the result template of your API documentation. After running these all command the result will look as follows:
So by following these basic commands, you can make very interactive API documentation with apidoc.js. And believe me, once you will follow these steps you will not find any other way to do this.
Advantages of API documentation
API doc provides simple steps to create your documentation, it is not necessary that API doc can only create by developer anyone can do by following simple steps.
Easy to Maintain
Through API documentation API’s are easy to read, easy to iterate, and easy to consume. That is the reason today big organizations are already following this train. As according to them time is money hence if we reduce the time to understand the documentation then this will also going to help us reach the targets easily and in a more efficient way.
Improved developer experience
It provides the great experience to a developer. Making good API documentation improves performance, scalability, etc, having a great developer experience is a key to creating an API that helps meet your business goals as well as your user’s goals.
Saves Time and Costs
API documentation saves the time that you spend on communicating about your API’s to new users or consumer. Moreover, this will provide a clear understanding of the API to your team members.
Documentation plays a key role in a great experience when using API’s. It not only provides developer satisfaction but also enhances the adoption of your API. Most Popular open source platforms like APIDOC JS allow your team members to automate and update the documentation process.
I Hope you will find this article helpful in creating API documentation for your upcoming as well as existing projects. This blog consists of all the required commands that you will need to create your requirement analysis. Whether you are at fresher level or intermediate one, this information will provide support for understanding the needs of the projects and make it more readable.
However, do write your suggestions or query to me in the comment section.
Thank You for reading!!!