Documentation published as human consumable HTML pages help potential API consumers learn about what an API does by describing the paths, channels, parameters, headers, schema, messages, and other building blocks of APIs, showing examples of what is possible or by providing an API client to make calls to each API as part of the documentation.

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API documentation is the number one pain point for API consumers, and is the toughest area to keep accurate and up to date for API producers. API documentation has evolved over the last decade and become a natural part of API developer portals, something that is baked into API management solutions, as well as seeing waves of open source solutions emerge. API documentation is rarely hand-crafted, and most times generated using OpenAPI definitions, and natively part of defining any API using a Postman collection. API documentation should be publishable, sharable, and something that is always keeping up to date with the latest changes, allowing any API stakeholder to read and easily understand what they need to do to put an API to work in their application or integration.

Related Elements

  • Examples - Examples of API request, responses, and messages used across API operations helps provide a versioned, evolvable, and reusable set of example and synthetic data that can make documentation richer and testing more relevant to actual business needs.
  • Client Snippets - Simple easy to apply snippets of code in a variety of programming languages for each individual API request, providing ready to go resources for developers to use when learning about how an API works, while also potentially jump-starting integration and putting to use in applications.

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