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Scott Morrison (Autodesk): A Unified Documentation Pipeline for Internal and External Docs

API The Docs 2023 Developer Success & Developer Portals Recap

This talk was presented at the API The Docs Amsterdam 2023 conference on 6-7 June. We are glad to present the video recording and the talk summary.

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Scott MorRison

Senior Software Architect at Autodesk


Scott's presentation (video recording)

“The docs-as-code approach has become the industry standard for publishing technical documentation.”


In the demo, you can hear about:

  • Docs-as-code approach for technical documentation at Autodesk: the source is on GitHub, and among the text-based formats, they also support other formats for generating reference documentation.
  • Utilities that help develop documentation and APIs like API linter, runnable sample codes, dynamic content, menu injection, etc. 
  • Custom pipeline that runs in Jenkins, compiles docs to HTML, reviews builds for pull requests and more. Autodesk also has a custom GitHub application to support the pipeline.
  • The internal developer portal is based on Backstage framework and uses the same documentation pipeline as the external portal. 
  • Current challenges with the pipeline include dependency on Jenkins, difficulties in onboarding, an abundance of configuration options, and potential challenges in adding new features.
  • A reimagined pipeline’s prototype (built-in viewer, local object storage, support live updates, etc.). 

Plans for the future

  • Using other languages for SDKs.
  • Unifying the developer documentation support to also include desktop products.
  • Incrementally moving all developer docs.
  • Rearchitect the pipeline. 

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