5 Terms To Know As A Technical Writer [part 2]

1) API Client

An API client is a tool used to test APIs. Software developers usually write client-side code to make API calls to a server, however, during the development of such systems, it's a lot more convenient to test those APIs using an API client instead of writing client code.

API clients allow technical writers to test APIs while documenting them, which leads to more accurate documentation because they are more certain about the requirements for making requests as well as the responses they receive.

Modern API clients such as Postman provide a lot more functionality such as automation and organization to better help manage your workflow.

2) SDK

A Software Development Kit (SDK) is code in the form of a library that makes it easy to integrate functionalities from third-party software into your own system.

A popular use of SDKs is to integrate APIs into a system, in which case as long as the SDK is written in the systems programming language, developers can make API calls without having to concern themselves with the underlying API details.

3) JSON

JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) is a data exchange format derived from JavaScript. Structured data is represented in text form using a key/value pair structure. Since JSON is less verbose than other exchange formats like XML, it is easy to use and transmit. JSON is typically used when sending data from a server to a website or . Here is an example of student data represented as JSON


01: {
02:    "employees":[
03:       {
04:          "name":"John Doe",
05:          "age":12,
06:          "score":5.5
07:       },
08:       {
09:          "name":"Jane Doe",
10:          "age":18,
11:          "score":2.5
12:       }
13:    ]
14: }

There are different data types that JSON can store and these are:

  • String: JSON can store any form of alphanumeric text, like names or even blog posts.

  • Number: is any form of integer or float(decimal) number.

  • Object: sometimes you have a block of data that needs to be associated with a key, so say the key is an employee's name, and you have many values to attribute to him/her you will use an object, just like the example above.

  • Array: is suitable for representing a list of items, it could be a list of fruits, a list of countries, etc. eg: ['apple', 'mango', 'orange']

  • Boolean: is used to represent a true or false state. For example, you can have this {"closed":true}.

  • null: is used to represent emptiness.

To be clear JSON is a key-value pair exchange format, meaning on the left you have a label known as the key and to the right is the value, different data types can be used for the value but the key always has to be a string. You can get around using a number as a string by just wrapping double quotes around it ie: {"1":"Usain Bolt"}. Additionally, single quotes cannot be used in JSON to wrap strings, only double quotes can.

4) API Key

Just like you sometimes need a username and password combo to access a system, APIs sometimes require you to have an access key or token to access them. This makes it possible for software systems to restrict API functionalities to specific users.

5) HTTP Verbs

A key part of making HTTP-based API requests is specifying the HTTP verb or method to use. For example, if you wanted to get data from a server you will use the GET verb. To send data to a server for storage you will use the POST verb. PATCH and PUT to partially or completely update all parts of the data respectively and DELETE to get rid of the data altogether.

6) Production

An end-user version of a software system is called production, whereas a development version of the same software is known as staging or a development version because it is not available to the end-user.

7) Server

A server is a computer connected to the internet that can serve data to users in the form of a website, image, music, etc.

The page you receive from a website URL is prepared and sent to you by a server somewhere.

The software running on the server hardware that interprets the request a user sends is also known as a server. So it's used to refer to both the hardware and software.

Popular examples of server software include Apache and Nginx.

Instead of setting up and managing their servers, developers and companies can purchase, rent or pay a subscription to a hosting company to access server resources.

Popular choices include Digital Ocean, Google Cloud Amazon AWS.

Cloud Offering: This is similar to the concept of renting a server but engulfs the renting and accessing of not only servers but unlimited computing resources needed to run and distribute software.

Servers are the backbone when it comes to modern software distribution.

Here is another article for you 😊 "5 terms to know as a technical writer [part 3]"