Writing and Editing of Conceptual, Tutorial, and Reference Documents for Developer Portal of Map Software Maker

Google Maps Product Team

A key product team within the Google Geo division needed technical writing support to improve the quality, coverage, and efficacy of their internal documentation. While most docs were embedded within the code, a separate site served to aid in communicating conceptual, how-to, tutorial, and reference documentation for internal partners. Falling out-of-date as these sorts of developer portals tend to do, the doc set stood in need of oversight by a contract technical writer.

Key to my work as the only technical writer serving the product team was the task of driving the generation of new documents from developers and UX designers to address timely product concerns. Working from design docs or draft site content, I interviewed developers to uncover additional information necessary for ensuring high quality of the documentation. Related tasks included securing and maintaining code examples in C++, Java, and protocol buffers for documentation purposes.

The work was performed in the “docs as code” approach where documentation is written in markdown alongside the related code base. In addition to markdown, I frequently used Google Docs alongside other internal and external documentation and graphics tools.

The documentation on the developer portal dramatically improved and expanded under my oversight, resulting in positive remarks from customers, staff, and management. Objective measures of site quality such as a “doc health score” and “change-list submissions” demonstrated the activity of an effective and prolific contributor.

As well, I believe the new hire experience for developers and UX designers got easier. The Googlers had new documentation resources to make the onboarding experience less painful.