As software products become more complex, developers must invest increasing amounts of time to learn about new API and product capabilities. Traditional documentation tools were not designed to help navigate that increasingly complex landscape. This article reports on an interactive documentation navigator developed by Business Objects, S.A., for their Crystal Reports and enterprise reporting-related products. That documentation tool not only presents API components and describes how to use classes and methods of an API, but also guides a developer through the decisions of what API elements to use to accomplish a given task.
What is your opinion about using a decision tree to help people find their way through complex API documentation? What other approaches do you think would help developers deal with the increasing complexity of APIs?