Wed Oct 5, 2022

API Documentation vs API Specification - What it means for you

API documentation

What is API Documentation?

API documentation serves as a user guide or manual, explaining how to utilize the API to its users. Developers are the primary audience for API documentation this doesn’t mean that non-techies can’t have access to this. When it comes to making sure developers have a pleasant experience with the API, providing documentation that is well-written, well-detailed, and simple to follow is essential. An excellent developer experience (DX) also increases the likelihood that an API will be successful. If your API documentation isn’t clear enough for developers to understand, they’ll probably go for another API that is. Decreased onboarding times for new API consumers is another benefit of good documentation. Developers won’t need to contact your business by email, phone, or forum posts if they have access to all the information they require to use your API.See more about API documentation

When done right, API documentation serves as a reliable source of knowledge about how an API operates. It should include information on quickstarts, functions, arguments, classes, and more in a well-organized format that is simple to grasp for both developers and non-technical users. It frequently contains tutorials and examples that will aid the user in understanding how various components of the API interact.

API documentation ought to include examples of each call, each parameter, and each call’s answers. Code examples for popular programming languages including GoLang, JavaScript, PHP, and Python should be provided just like what we have here. Each API request should be explained in the documentation, along with illustrative samples of error messages. It’s also crucial that API documentation is regularly updated and actively maintained.

What is an API Specification?

API specification is a detailed understanding of an API’s behavior and how it interacts and relates with other APIs. It describes how the API works and what outcomes are possible when using the API. The OpenAPI Specification is a perfect illustration of what an API specification is all about. While an API specification describes how the API acts and what to anticipate from the API, the OpenAPI 3.0.1 paper also acts as an API documentation in some ways. And the GitHub repository’s OpenAPI Specification paper does just that. Numerous API objects, values, and parameters are listed in the paper, along with information on how to call each object and what it can accomplish. We can also observe how things are related and how each object can be used.

API Documentation and API Specification differ from one another in terms of human and machine readability as well as purpose and objective. The significant distinction between the both is that while Specification is primarily intended for human reading, it provides a broad understanding of the functionality of the API and the expected results, Documentation is intended for more precise, direct information. The API documentation tells developers and other API consumers how to use the API. After all, how can your API be successful if developers don’t know how to use it? At the end of the day API, documentation, and API specifications are all keys to the success of an API.