How to Fix API Documentation

It is vital to provide accurate and precise API documentation. You can find out how to fix API documentation by reading our articles about Best practices, troubleshooting API error codes, and caching problems.

API Documentation

If you want to read more about troubleshooting, head out to ValidEdge. Besides, we'll help you make the most of your API and avoid unnecessary costs. Read on to know more about how to write an API document! And remember compulsorily to share this article with other API developers!


Best practices for API documentation

As you work to implement new features and services, you should take care to ensure that your API documentation matches the functionality you promise to implement. A lack of documentation can make it difficult for your users to integrate your services, which defeats the API's purpose in the first place. Luckily, you can actually follow some best practices to improve the quality of your documentation. Read on to discover some of these tips:

Write API documentation in plain English for a broad audience. The documentation should be written for both less-technical decision-makers and developers. The technical writing team should avoid using jargon and stick to easy-to-understand domain explanations for each resource. Do not make API documentation too complicated. If possible, make the documentation available to developers outside of the organization. It's best to have public API documentation, mainly if developers use your API outside your organization.

Authentication is another common problem, and the documentation must be clear about how users can authenticate. Authentication can be tricky, so explaining the process to your users in as much detail as possible is essential. Documentation should also provide information about HTTP status codes and handle errors gracefully. For example, suppose an API is intended to be used by multiple developers. In that case, it should have clear documentation of all the API parameters, including their types, value types, and formatting rules.


Problems with caching API results

The first problem you might encounter when caching API results is that you cannot guarantee that the data will always be up to date. Sometimes, you may need to cache the results locally if they are not updated frequently. For example, if the World Bank API returns information every few minutes, it's likely to be cached permanently. The good news is that the World Bank API doesn't add new data every day so that you can cache its results for a long time.

API Documentation

Another problem you may encounter is that not all API calls are fast. Using the cached version of the response is more rapid than using a new request. It also prevents your API from making repeated queries to the database. Caching is more effective if you use a reverse proxy and place it in front of your application. An excellent open-source reverse proxy is Varnish. It's free and powerful. If you're using an API that provides stock quotes, you'll need to make sure that you know exactly when the end of the day is. If the stock price changes daily, you'll need to cache the data.


Troubleshooting API error codes

If you are getting an API error code, you should first identify the problem and the cause. Typically, this starts with the API and the client. Try connecting from different locations and devices. If the error persists, contact your API provider. The API provider will most likely be able to help you identify the problem. If not, follow these steps. Troubleshooting API error codes can help you avoid a reoccurring issue.

The first step is understanding how API errors are handled. APIs have error codes that indicate various issues. Sometimes, the error code is not sent but passed as a header in the response. For example, a response code of 400 Bad Request provides the context for the error. A reply with a title that reads "400 Bad Request" is helpful because it also gives a reference ID. The body of the response must have the correct language.

The next step is checking your API call's permissions and HTTP method. You should also check for the presence of headers and parameters. If you're using NGINX, you should consult the debugging log. There are several tools available online for this purpose. They can assist you with troubleshooting API error codes and will guide you through the troubleshooting process. If all else fails, you should try deploying a dedicated application that enables you to monitor your API traffic.