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Found a link that might help. It's a user manual for the Java Application
Programming Interface (J)API used by programmers at Sun: http://java.sun.com/products/jdk/1.1/docs/api/API_users_guide.html. I
believe the (J)API there is windows-based and lets the programmer manipulate
object-oriented programming "icons", if you will, to develop programs in an
interface where lines of code for some of the more basic programming
functions are generated automatically as the icons are manipulated. Other
uses for the API, at least in computer networking, and according to Bradley
Mitchell over at the "About" website:
"An API allows programmers to access the functionality of a pre-built
software module through well-defined data structures and subroutine calls.
Although programmers often define APIs for private internal code, network
APIs typically are the public entry points to libraries that hide low-level
details of computer networking."
I believe documenting API interfaces is probably very similar to documenting
other interfaces - gaining an understanding of your user, gaining an
understanding of what problems the interface is designed to overcome, and
translating all of that into user friendly language. Except now your users
are going to be primarily programmers/software developers.
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