What is Apiary?
What is Read the Docs?
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What are the cons of using Apiary?
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We recently needed to rebuild our documentation site, currently built using Jekyll hosted on GitHub Pages. We wanted to update the content and refresh the style to make it easier to find answers.
We considered hosted services that could accept our markdown content, like ReadMe.io and Read the Docs, however both seemed expensive for essentially hosting the same platform we already had for free.
I also looked at the Gatsby Static Site generator to modernize Jekyll. I don't think this is a fit, as our documentation is relatively simple and relies heavily on Markdown. Jekyll excels at Markdown, while Gatsby seemed to struggle with it.
We just launched the Segment Config API (try it out for yourself here) — a set of public REST APIs that enable you to manage your Segment configuration. A public API is only as good as its #documentation. For the API reference doc we are using Postman.
Postman is an “API development environment”. You download the desktop app, and build API requests by URL and payload. Over time you can build up a set of requests and organize them into a “Postman Collection”. You can generalize a collection with “collection variables”. This allows you to parameterize things like
workspace_name so a user can fill their own values in before making an API call. This makes it possible to use Postman for one-off API tasks instead of writing code.
Then you can add Markdown content to the entire collection, a folder of related methods, and/or every API method to explain how the APIs work. You can publish a collection and easily share it with a URL.
This turns Postman from a personal #API utility to full-blown public interactive API documentation. The result is a great looking web page with all the API calls, docs and sample requests and responses in one place. Check out the results here.
Postman’s powers don’t end here. You can automate Postman with “test scripts” and have it periodically run a collection scripts as “monitors”. We now have #QA around all the APIs in public docs to make sure they are always correct
Along the way we tried other techniques for documenting APIs like ReadMe.io or Swagger UI. These required a lot of effort to customize.
Writing and maintaining a Postman collection takes some work, but the resulting documentation site, interactivity and API testing tools are well worth it.
I cannot stress enough how important it is for companies to avoid Readme.io.
There is no accountability from their team when their service encounters serious errors. For weeks now, the service has been throwing internal server errors which were caught by monitoring tools.
In reaching out to readme.io support, the only information they ever gave was "Thank you" and a link to their status page. The status page does not reflect the fact the services is severely depredated and any further attempts over the past 14 days to reach support have been met with total silence.
Then there was an exchange with their CEO on Twitter who seemed like they may try to get us some sort of response or RFO, but that has also been met with silence after submitting exactly what was requested.
If you value the ability for your customers to reach your API Documents, then do not use readme.io.
README.IO DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOU AS A CUSTOMER.
A pretty UI and the right combination of tools (tutorial section, API documentation, announcements) does not make up for consistently slow and buggy experience. As the amount of stored documentation grows, the app becomes more and more unreliable about saving changes, and for complex, in-depth documentation, the anchor tagging system is terrible, leading to false redirects. Multiple times, I have lost everything I've worked on, and the support service is terrible, even at the enterprise level. Other times, my changes are being saved, even though the app tells me they are not. I do not recommend this service for any company with lots of documentation.
Apiary é um excelente ferramente para documentação de sua API e guia para desenvolvimento do back-end. Utilizamos ele para garantir a informação correta a cada end-point.