Today I am going to talk about API documentation tools. Specifically the ones we use at Lateral to create our documentation. Now, I understand if you aren’t enthused by API documentation, I get that. But a lot of people are. I am. People who make APIs are. So maybe you should be too. You don’t want to be left behind not knowing what’s possible with today’s advanced API tools. What would you talk about at conferences? It’d be terrible. Imagine. You’d have no idea. Anyway. Here we go.
At Lateral we use PostgreSQL to store documents for our visualiser. Each document consists of a text column and a JSON column with meta data inside such as a title, date and URL. We wanted to create a fast search experience for the visualiser that lets you search the full text of documents as well as their titles to quickly find a document to get Lateral recommendations for.
Stack Overflow is a programming Q&A website with over 4M users and 9M posts. It is one of many such sites on a variety of topics run by StackExchange. Stack Overflow is highly successful at gameifying the answering of questions through a reputation system based on up-votes and bounties. Users can use the reputation points and badges they win to support job applications, and employers can use the reputation to find the best employees. So answering many questions and earning tons of points is something that users take very seriously. But how can I find questions that I can answer?
On Friday and Saturday (the 24th and 25th) was the joint APIDays Berlin & APIStrat Europe conference. The Lateral tech team was in attendance chatting away with various API management software providers and API providers, and attending some very interesting talks. Ben and I decided on the Saturday to enter the Speedhack challenge. This is a breakdown of the challenges that we completed and some opinions on the various APIs that we tried.