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Frequently Asked Questions News

These are the news items I've curated in my monitoring of the API space that have some relevance to the algorithm conversation and I wanted to include in my research. I'm using all of these links to better understand how the space is testing their APIs, going beyond just monitoring and understand the details of each request and response.

Every Government Agency Should Have An FAQ API Like The DOL

I wrote about my feelings that all government agencies should have a forms API like the Department of Labor (DOL), and I wanted to separately showcase their FAQ API, and say same thing--ALL government agencies should have a frequently asked question (FAQ) API. Think about the websites and mobile applications that would benefit from ALL government agencies at the federal, state, and local level having frequently asked questions available in this way--it would be huge. 

In a perfect world, like any good API provider, government agencies should also use their FAQ API to run their website(s), mobile, and internal systems--this way the results are always fresh, up to date, and answering the relevant questions (hopefully). I get folks in government questioning the opening up of sensitive information via APIs, but making FAQs available in a machine readable way, via the web, just makes sense in a digital world.

Like the forms API, I will be looking across other government agencies for any FAQ APIs. I will be crafting an OpenAPI Spec for the DOL FAQ API (man that is a lot of acronyms). I will take any other FAQ APIs that I find and consider any additional parameters, and definitions I might want to include in a common FAQ API definition for government agencies. This is another area that should have not just a common open API and underlying schemas defined, but also a wealth of server and client side code--so any government agency can immediately put it to work in any environment.


Using Anchors In Your FAQ And Other API Support Pages

I was going through some of the Twitter feeds of the APIs that I track on and noticed Spotify's team providing support to some of their API users with quick links / anchors to the answers in their API user guide available at developer.spotify.com. This might sound trivial, but having an arsenal of these links, so you can tweet out like Spotify does can be a real time saver.

This is pretty easy to do with a well-planned API portal and developer resources but is something you can rapidly add / change to using a frequently asked questions page for your API. The trick is to make sure you have anchors to the specific areas you are looking to reference when providing support for your community.

Another benefit of doing this beyond just developer support is in the name of marketing and evangelism. I'm often looking for specific concepts and topics to link to in my stories, and if an API doesn't have a dedicated page or an anchor for it, I won't link it--I do not want my readers to have to dig for anything. The trick here is you need to think like your consumers, and not just wear your provider's hat all the time.

When crafting your API portal, and supporting resources make sure you provide anchors for the most requested resources and other information related to API operations, and keep the links handy so you can use across all your support and marketing channels.


Disqus Uses Twitter #HashTag to Support Developer FAQs

I’m always on the lookout for extremely simple ways API Evangelists can support their developers without rolling out complex tools or platforms. The latest approach comes from the Disqus API, and how they are using Twitter to answer developer questions.

Using a #hashtag is a great way to allow developers to ask questions without learning some new system or complex process. They can simply Tweet out their question in real-time, in a format they are hopefully already familiar with.

As an API owner, you can quickly help solve a developers problem, allowing them to get back to developing. Because of the Twitter 140 character format it will help keep their questions brief. Then using the Twitter REST API, you can easily pull, filter and integrate FAQs for your API into your master FAQ list.

Thanks Disqus for keeping developer support so simple.


If you think there is a link I should have listed here feel free to tweet it at me, or submit as a Github issue. Even though I do this full time, I'm still a one person show, and I miss quite a bit, and depend on my network to help me know what is going on.