What is API documentation?
API documentation is a comprehensive set of resources that provide instructions and information on using and interacting with an API.
This is a critical resource for developers, allowing them to quickly understand an application programming interface (API), its capabilities, and how to integrate it into their apps.
API documentation can significantly improve the experience of using an API for developers, expedite integration, and help ensure effective API usage without errors. Well-structured and up-to-date documentation should be available from the API provider in the developer portal.
Elements of API documentation
API reference: Essentially the technical manual for the API, this section offers detailed information about the API’s endpoints, methods, parameters, request and response formats, error handling, and more.
Code samples: Practical examples of the API at work in various programming languages that show developers how to get started quickly.
Authentication and authorization: Information on how to authenticate an app with the API and secure the required permissions to access it. This is a critical step for ensuring secure API access.
Use cases and tutorials: Real-world use cases and step-by-step tutorials guide developers through common scenarios or tasks.
SDKs and libraries: The API provider supplies software development kits (SDKs) or libraries to help streamline development for the supported programming languages and platforms and troubleshoot issues effectively.
Versioning: Documentation should specify which version of the API is in use, allowing developers to ensure its compatibility with other systems.
Testing: Documentation should detail how to test the API in a sandbox or testing environment, ensuring it works without disrupting existing systems.
API documentation is a crucial resource for developers adopting, understanding, and integrating the API. A quality API provider should offer organized and updated documentation. For examples of robust API documentation, you can head over to the Sendbird developer portal.
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