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Sarah Simpers - Use What You've Got

API The Docs 2023 Developer Success & Developer Portals Recap

This talk was presented at APIDays New York 2023, Developer Success & Developer Portals track on 17 May. We are glad to present the video recording and the talk summary.

Visit the talk listing page for an overview of all presentations!



Senior Technical Writer at MongoDB


“Improve your developer experience using code, making small, digestible changes with existing code."

The Benefits of Improving Developer Experience

  • Easy Onboarding: Improved developer experience helps external developers start using and continue using the product, reducing frustration and attrition.
  • Command Reference Generation: Using code in documentation allows internal developers to generate command references from CLI code with minimal effort.
  • More Contributors, Faster Results: Reusing existing code lowers the barrier for entry, enabling stakeholders like technical writers to contribute efficiently and speeding up product improvements.

Update 1: Add Atlas CLI Commands Everywhere

  • Reason: To prevent outdated commands in documentation and improve visibility.
  • Implementation: Leveraged a tool called docurl to pull in updated versions of the Atlas CLI commands at every release, keeping them fresh and accurate.
  • Result: Significant increase in monthly active users and more contributors to the CLI code repository.

Update 2: Give the Output

  • Reason: To display expected results for CLI commands and facilitate scripting.
  • Implementation: Reused CLI variables to show outputs in both the CLI and documentation.
  • Result: Improved developer understanding and easier contribution for technical writers.

Update 3: State Required Roles

  • Reason: To indicate necessary permissions for each command and prevent confusion.
  • Implementation: Created a template that makes it easy to update the required roles on an ongoing basis and defined the actual role required for each command in the command’s file.
  • Result: Enhanced clarity for external developers and a straightforward contribution process for internal developers and technical writers.


  • By using code in documentation, MongoDB witnessed numerous benefits, including increased active users, more contributors, and faster improvements.
  • Starting your journey of improving developer experience through code in your documentation is a win-win for all stakeholders involved.

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