Are there best practices for integrating content from software development tools (e.g., APIs) into IT documentation?

Integrating content from software development tools, such as APIs, into IT documentation is a common requirement to provide comprehensive and up-to-date information for users. DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) offers best practices for achieving this integration efficiently and effectively.

Use of Custom DITA Elements

One best practice is to create custom DITA elements specific to the types of content you want to integrate, such as API documentation. These custom elements can be tailored to capture key information like API endpoints, request and response formats, authentication methods, and usage examples. By designing custom DITA elements, you can maintain consistency and structure in your documentation, making it easier for both authors and readers to understand the integrated content.

Structured Organization

Organizing integrated content is another key practice. DITA enables the creation of structured maps and topics, allowing you to arrange information logically. For instance, you can have a top-level topic dedicated to API documentation, and within it, subtopics for specific APIs or endpoints. Structured organization enhances navigation and ensures that users can quickly locate the information they need within the documentation.


Here’s an example of how DITA supports the integration of API documentation:

  <name>GET /products</name>
  <description>Retrieve a list of products.</description>
  <request-format>HTTP GET</request-format>
        fetch('', {
          method: 'GET',
          headers: {
            'Authorization': 'Bearer '

In this example, a custom DITA element <api-endpoint> is used to describe an API endpoint, including its name, description, request and response formats, and a usage example. By structuring API documentation in this way, users can easily find and understand the integrated content.