API Documentation

Including a technical writer in the development team allowed developers to focus on the software while still ensuring the API document was delivered on time.

Tools Used: MS Word, MS Visio, Adobe Acrobat

The client was a high-tech company that develops semiconductor devices for broadband networking applications. The device in this project contained embedded software. The software's procedural application programming interface (API) provided an extensive set of functions to allow application developers to interact with the underlying hardware.

The software developers were under significant deadline pressure to develop and test the software. The API document was an added burden that they really didn't have time for, and the project was at risk of slipping the delivery date.

Thanks to my engineering background, my knowledge of software and the programming language (C++) was sufficient to produce the API document independently, directly from the source code, without the need to continually interrupt the developers with questions.

The lead developer had this to say about the project:

Given a high-level task such as "create a user manual for this firmware product", Tracey will dig into the source code and independently produce a clear and well-structured document with no hand-holding required. This combination of software competence and great writing skills is rare and valuable to companies with overworked software developers. I would be very pleased to work with Tracey again on any technical documentation projects.

He followed up this commendation by referring me to another organization that needed help creating a set of software user manuals.

This Can Work for You, Too

Creating effective technical documentation is a job in itself, and one that requires specialized skills. If your technical experts do not have strong writing skills, they could be spending far more time than they should on the documentation required for a project. The documentation becomes a source of frustration and a barrier to completing the project on time. By involving a dedicated technical writer in the project, you eliminate the distraction of documentation and free up your technical staff to focus on the things they do best.

I offer many years' experience in technical writing. My background in science and engineering allows me to understand and interpret your technical material and produce effective documentation (print or electronic) on time and on budget. If you need help delivering quality documentation on time, give me a call. I can help.