In this article, I’ll show you some of my favorite documentation tools that are free and will stay so. If you’ve ever tried to write your documentation tool or a library that includes one, then the price tag is likely what stopped you in your tracks. If not for cost, it may be because it was too difficult to start something new – especially if it’s open source! Let me be clear: there are no “best” API docs yet. There are only the best in your particular case. But if you’re looking for a few starting points, here are my ten favorite free API docs tools:
The Best Free API Documentation Tools
1. Open API
OpenAPI is a standard API description format that enables providers to generate helpful tools such as documentation and libraries. OpenAPI is under the OpenAPI Initiative, a Linux Foundation project. OpenAPI is an open-source standard for describing APIs. Most generators support OpenAPI v3.
ReDoc is a free, open-source tool that helps businesses publish great-looking API documentation. The responsive and stylish theme makes it easy to use on any device. ReDoc is flexible, with options to run in your browser, as a Docker image, or as a React component. The ReDoc navigation bar and search box are easy to use and customizable. The navigation bar makes it easy to find the information you’re looking for.
ReDoc is a tool that helps with the documentation of APIs. It allows developers to document their APIs using a visual editor. ReDoc also provides analytics and reporting to help teams track the progress of their API documentation.
Slate is a great tool that helps you create responsive, intelligent, and beautiful API documentation. With Slate, your documentation will look great on any device, from smartphones to tablets to print. Plus, Slate is easy to use and doesn’t sacrifice linkability.
Linking and code blocks are essential in the API documentation, and Slate helps with both. It highlights codes in different languages and has a wide range of features. So creating API documentation with Slate is a great way to ensure your docs are well-formed and easy to read.
Smooth scrolling and automatic table of content creation are just two more reasons to love Slate. And because it’s automatically hosted in GitHub, there’s no need to worry about hosting your docs.
DapperDox is an open-source API Documentation tool that allows you to write in GitHub-flavored markdown. It is easy to use and offers better documentation than other methods. Updates for this tool are irregular, but it is still a helpful way to document your API.
5. LucyBot DocGen
LucyBot’s DocGen helps you create custom documentation for your API.
It automatically generates documentation for every operation, parameter, and the response of your API.
You can set up an API Console so developers and users can make sample calls to your API to understand it better.
LucyBot DocGen lets you create documentation for your apps in various ways, using code or markdown.
You can also set up workflows that will guide users through the process of creating a document.
You can use LucyBot DocGen to create custom documentation pages in HTML or Markdown.
Swagger is a tool that allows for easy and powerful documentation of APIs. Swagger makes it easy to document your APIs in a way that is easy to understand and use. Swagger is a specification for describing an API. Developers and other stakeholders can use this specification to understand the API. Swagger allows for API documentation to be created using a standardized format. Developers and other stakeholders can use this documentation to understand the API.
Postman is a platform for building and maintaining APIs, with features that make creating API documentation more accessible and faster. Postman’s machine-readable documentation tool takes the hassle out of API documentation by automatically updating all the documentation it produces. However, the Postman UI may be difficult to understand at first.
SoapUI is a tool that makes it easy to develop and document APIs. It supports OpenAPI v3 and is well-maintained. SwaggerUI lets you quickly generate documentation for your API in multiple formats, and SoapUI can execute API calls from the documentation. The GitHub rating of 18 indicates that this documentation is well-loved by developers.
cURL is a URL shortener that can be used for API documentation. It is easy to use and lightweight. cURL is a modern URL shortener that uses apiKey authentication. cURL can be used to obfuscate or shorten URLs and supports many domains.
Insomnia is a conference focused on API documentation. The conference will feature speakers from RapidAPI who will discuss how their platform can help with API documentation. Registration for the conference is free.
Choosing the Right API Documentation Software
The best API documentation software should be easy to use, have a user-friendly interface, and make it simple for developers to create professional documentation. The top API documentation software is compatible with several programming languages and easily integrates with other API development tools.
API documentation software should also be able to generate documentation in various formats such as PDF, HTML, XML, or JSON. The best API documentation software should also be able to automatically generate API references and allow users to create interactive API demos.
What are some API documentation best practices?
API documentation is critical for any company that offers an API. However, crafting good API documentation can be a challenge. Here are the best practices for creating API documentation to help make your API more accessible and easier to use.
1. Make your API documentation accessible for non-technical users
2. Eliminate or minimize technical jargon
3. Encourage feedback from your users
4. Describe the most common use cases with examples
5. Include screenshots of your API in the documentation
What are the benefits of API documentation software?
- By providing information on how your API works and reducing the time spent fixing unexpected errors, documentation can help you increase efficiency and stability within your organization.
- Increased onboarding times: By helping new users understand how to use your API quickly, documentation helps reduce the time needed to take them onboard.
- Quicker updates: Keeping team members updated on changes to your product is more accessible with good API documentation, leading to faster updates for users of your resources.
- Better product maintenance: Having a clear understanding of how everything works together allows you to keep tabs on any issues that may arise, ensuring quick fixes in the event of an issue or problem.
- Reduced need for understanding codebase internals: The ability to create API documents in multiple languages makes it easy for anyone within an organization (from developers using specific programming languages)to understand what’s happening behind the scenes without needing deep knowledge about codebase architecture or implementation details.
How much does API documentation software cost?
When looking for API documentation tools, it is essential to consider the cost of the software. Many API documentation tools offer a free trial or a lower monthly price. You can also browse the web for API documentation tools and contact software companies directly to inquire about their pricing and services.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
What does API stand for?
Application Programming Interface (API).
What is the definition of API documentation tools?
An API allows access to another software application’s component or functionality. API documentation tools enable developers to document their APIs consistently, making it easier for other programmers to understand the purpose of an API and how it should be used.
Of what does API documentation consist?
API documentation consists of guidebook-style content that helps developers understand an API and its integration process. The information displayed in API documentation includes functions, classes, arguments, and return types.
What are some API documentation best practices?
API documentation should be accessible to users who may not have a technical background. When possible, jargon and technical terms should be avoided or defined in layman’s terms. It is also important to provide examples to illustrate how the API can be used. Feedback from users is essential to improve the API.
How much does an API documentation software cost?
The most expensive option usually has the highest functionality and costs more than a standard monthly package.
A few API documentation software provides you with the option to get a free version. However, some of these products offer limited features in their free versions and will charge for more advanced features.
The cost of API documentation software varies but is typically a one-off payment that starts at $250. The more features and functionality the software has, the higher its price.
What are the best API documentation tools for startups?
Startups need an API documentation tool that is affordable and easy to use. Many are on a tight budget, so they need something that will fit into their budgets without sacrificing quality.
What is the best API documentation tool for developers?
Developers need an API documentation tool that is easy to use has a great support team and offers excellent features. They want something that will help them create excellent API documentation that is easy to read and understand.
What are the best API documentation tools for small businesses?
Small business owners want an affordable, easy-to-use tool that will help them create professional API documentation and will help them attract new customers. They need a tool that has excellent customer support, so they know they can get answers to their questions quickly.
What is the best API documentation software?
The best API documentation software is versatile and can create professional documentation for any API. Swagger is considered the best API documentation tool because of its interactive user interface, ease of maintaining documentation, extensive range of tools and features, and compatibility with several programming languages.
API documentation is an essential part of any software development process. This guide provides you with the best free API documentation tools in 2022. Using these tools, you’ll be able to create high-quality documentation for your APIs in no time.