TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Siliconwriter wondered: <<I'm starting a new job. The first thing they
want me to write is an SDK. I've never written one. I don't even know
what they look like, even though I've been documenting software for
years. Most of my work has been in support of GUIs and CLIs, but I've
never been assigned an SDK or an API. Any suggestions where to start?>>
A great place to start is with the people who are developing the SDK:
this is one of the rare cases where the SMEs are actually sufficiently
expert in the topic that they can provide useful guidance. Since they
are programmers, they use SDKs as part of their daily job, and can
point you towards the kinds of resources they find useful. These form a
good starting point for your research.
Moreover, you can do what many of us only dream of doing: work with
real users of the product to find out how they use it, and thus, what
kind of support they need to do their work. Arrange to spend some time
with your programmers to find out how they would use the SDK. If
they'll actually be using the documentation that you develop as part of
their work, they'll love you for caring enough to find out about their
needs, and it's never a bad thing to befriend the product developers.
The first is a seminar given by Manny Gordon, an STC associate fellow
and a well-known and well-respected teacher in the Montreal techwhirler
community; if you can't make it to Montreal, he might be travelling to
your area at some point in the future. The second is the workbook of
this workshop (in case you don't have a travel budget). The third is a
DVD version of the workshop that comes with the workbook. All have
received very good reviews, and although I haven't taken this specific
course, I have taken other courses with Manny that were excellent.
(Disclaimer: Manny is a friend, so while I hope I'm being objective,
you'll have to ask others on techwr-l for their opinions.)
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