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Software Development / Programming Languages

Learn API Technical Writing: JSON and XML for Writers

API Documentation: Teaches technical writers how to document structured data. No programming experience required.


This is the first in a series of courses for technical writers who want to learn how to write API documentation. 

This course teaches how to document structured data, focusing on the two most popular structured data formats: JSON and XML. If you are new to API documentation, this is a great place to start. 

No programming experience is required, but technical writers with programming experience who want to know more about structured data will still find it useful. 

What are APIs? APIs (Application Program Interfaces) define how software systems talk to each other, and API documentation is a rapidly growing field. There is a strong need for writers who can understand APIs and explain them so that software developers can understand how to use them. API writers get to be in on the cutting edge of technology in high-paying positions.

Full details


  • Introduction
    Covers: Teacher's background and credentials, What are APIs?, Why is API documentation important?, JSON, XML, and how they compare, Class overview
    Data Types and Structured Data
    Covers: Data types, Boolean values, Structured data
    Quiz 1 - Identify Types of Data
    Please answer the following questions about data types.
    Tools for Writing JSON and XML
    For this class, you'll be creating JSON and XML files. This lecture recommends some tools you can use.
  • JSON
    What is JSON and How Does It Work?
    Covers: The history of JSON, Basic data types, Arrays, Objects, Nesting, Indentation On completion, students will be able to read and understand JSON files.
    Create a JSON File Excercise
    This lecture is actually a hands-on exercise. Create a JSON file according to the given specifications.
    JSON Quiz
    Please answer the following questions about JSON.
    Documenting JSON
    Covers: How JSON is used for both requests and responses, Documenting a JSON element, Documenting acceptable values, Documenting element nesting
    JSON Documentation Excercise
    This lecture is an exercise where you will document three JSON files.
    JSON Documentation Quiz
    Answer these questions about JSON documentation:
  • XML
    What is XML and How Does it Work?
    Covers: What is XML?, Tags and Content, Attributes, Nesting, Namespaces and Comments, Indentation, Schemas On completion, students will be able to read and understand XML files.
    Create an XML File Exercise
    This lecture is an exercise where you will create three XML files according to specifications.
    XML Quiz
    Please answer the following questions about XML.
    Documenting XML
    Covers: Differences between XML documentation and JSON documentation, Documenting attributes, Using multiple tables On completion, students will know the basics of how to document XML.
    Documenting XML Exercise
    This lecture is an exercise where you will document three XML files.
    XML Documentation Quiz
    Answer the following questions about XML documentation:
  • Final Words
    Tools for Writing Structured Data Documentation
    Covers what kinds of tools are available for documenting JSON and XML.
    Using Structured Data for Documentation
    Covers: Why use structured data for documentation, Using JSON to describe APIs, Using XML to describe XML (XSD), Disadvantages to this approach
    Review And Next Steps
    Covers: Review of everything you've learned in this course, What is the next step for learning to document APIs


  • Application-Program Interface (API)
  • JSON
  • Technical Writing
  • XML

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