Writing for Developers

At Zapier, developers aren’t our primary audience, but they’re an important one. In fact, many developers are users of Zapier because nobody wants to write more code than is needed–that’s why Webhooks and Code are popular apps. But perhaps most notably, Zapier apps are usually built outside of Zapier. That means someone from another SaaS company connects their API to the Zapier platform.

When we say “developers”, we mean anyone who wants to integrate their app with other apps. A Zapier developer is not always an engineer: they may be a product manager, a marketer, or any other person with enough technical skills to build against our developer platform. We provide more nuance to what a developer is in the Partner Definitions section of Writing for Partners.

Guiding Principles

Anything we write for developers should either:

Many times we’ll be able to achieve both within the same piece of content.

Three Approaches to Developer Content

There’s not a single way to write to developers, because their needs change depending on what they’re trying to accomplish. Sometimes a developer just needs an answer and other times they’ll want context—there’s a big difference.

We break it down into three approaches:

  1. Hold my hand. Walk through the idea step-by-step, providing as much detail as you can. Think tutorials or getting started guides.
  2. Show me the gotchas. At a high level, give your reader best practices and point out land mines.
  3. Feed me facts. Dive into details, but don’t focus on a specific application. Think API references or documentation.

Your documentation will be a mix of all three of these approaches, and you can use any of them elsewhere, such as blog posts.

Guidelines

Regardless of the approach and type of content, keep these guidelines in mind:

Miscellaneous

While not quite at the level of guidelines, here are some other things we look for, especially in blog posts and tutorials: