Publishing an API is about so much more than just making some endpoints available. In fact, it would be easy to argue that if you’re not going to also provide tests and monitoring to ensure the quality of your tools, and excellent documentation so that your users can actually use them, then you could save a lot of time and effort by not setting out to build the API in the first place! Delivering a project is about getting it done, but also creating everything that goes with a successful API. This chapter aims to cover what makes a complete API and show some ways you can deliver this.
Documentation is the magic ingredient that will make your API both useful and usable. Without it, nobody can begin to use or understand the masterpiece you have built. With it, they can build on your offerings and create masterpieces (or at least reliable working software) of their own. Perhaps this chapter should have been the first, not the last, because it does make up a major part of shipping a successful API.
There are many types of documentation, and a great web service probably needs a bit of all of them. The following sections will look at the various kinds of documentation that are useful to accompany a web service and give some suggestions of tools you can use to generate and maintain these.
This is the welcoming committee of your API; it gets people over the threshold and gives them confidence that they are about ...