RE: API - Suggestions on Document

Subject: RE: API - Suggestions on Document
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: Roberta Hennessey <rahennessey -at- gmail -dot- com>, tech writer tech writer <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2012 15:36:43 -0400

I'm about to need something very similar, for similar reasons.

I just spent a few days hurting my head rather badly, explaining
some of our product concepts in a mostly pictorial way, since
the many words I'd generated over the years have become... too many. :-)

Each time a customer (or pre-Sales Engineer) would come up with
an awkward question or - worse - would predicate a big purchase
on the ability to use a product in a specific and obscure way,
I would write a new page or add a section to an existing one
(either explaining how they could do it, or explaining why it
was not possible).

My resulting drawings from the re-work over the past several
days still have (perhaps too many) words in them - the IKEA
model of product instruction has proven elusive in my case - but
they're still a lot more organized and comprehensible than the
previous accretions. But that's for product configuration and
operational use, not so much for API-ish tasks of developing
customer apps against our framework or integrating with
third-party systems.

We've always had C, Java, etc. APIs, but now we're coming up
with a product and an associated API that could be usable by
less techie customers, so I have almost the same need that
Bobbi just outlined. I'd love to see a friendly, informative
flow of work or development that I could /s/t/e/a/l/ adapt
for my situation. Inspiration and approach. Yeah.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Roberta Hennessey
> Sent: April-19-12 2:47 PM
> To: tech writer tech writer
> Subject: API - Suggestions on Document
>
> I have been tasked to write a new version of existing API docs.
>
> The audience for this new document is both technical and very
> non-technical. The API is a .NET web services (asmx files). My idea is
> to
> create a very basic, simple, introductory concept chapter and include
> simple graphics (and maybe a work flow doc) to explain what an API does
> and
> how the two parts of this one work.
>
> I am writing in Word, converted to pdf and the document is used both
> online
> and hard copy. I can think of some innovative ways to use bookmarks
> and
> links in Word for the online users but what I'm really after is using
> the
> graphics to convey how the API works.
>
> I wonder if anyone on the list has used graphics or seen really good
> example of using graphics to explain a work flow. Work flow diagrams
> are
> fine, but really non-technical users need simple line art (IMHO). I'm
> asking if anyone can point me to some of their favorite "graphics
> explaining how something works" so I could learn by example and/or get
> my
> creative juices flowing.
>
> Any suggestions appreciated. No time to plan to use other types of
> docs,
> etc.
>
> Thank you.
>
> Bobbi


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References:
API - Suggestions on Document: From: Roberta Hennessey

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