In general, follow the guidelines in the grammar and mechanics section. If you come across anything not addressed there or here, use the Google developer documentation style guide as a reference.
Address the reader directly
Use the second person and tell users what to do. Be clear and to the point.
Unless there is a very good reason to do so, avoid using “we” and “our”.
If you’re going to deploy the cluster/When deploying the cluster
To get started fast, use the default settings.
If we’re going to deploy the cluster
We recommend that you use our default settings to get started fast.
In most types of documentation, especially in how-to guides, readers will be following the instructions as they read. Use the present tense to describe actions. Similarly, avoid “would” and “could” (and any other modals expressing uncertainty) in conditional statements.
Click the button and the window displays
Send a GET request to the endpoint. The server responds with a JSON object.
If you send a request, the server responds with a JSON object.
Click the button and the window will display
Send a GET request to the endpoint. The server will respond with a JSON object.
You can send a request. The server would respond with a JSON object.
When inserting links into the text, try to give them descriptive text (not just the URL). Make exceptions for API endpoints when the purpose of including the link is to show the location of the endpoint.
Also avoid phrases such as “click here”. Have the text make sense out of context—when you’re looking just at the link text.
Don’t personify systems
Keep computers and systems as inanimate things and attribute as few human qualities to them as possible.
The server communicates to the client that it’s received the request.
The app detects when you’ve entered the airport.
If you format the request badly, the server rejects it.
The server tells the client when it’s received the request.
The app sees when you’ve entered the airport.
If you format the request badly, the server will refuse to accept it.
Always be specific about what you’re referring to. If you introduce a specific product in the first sentence of a section, don’t assume the reader will know what you mean by “it” two paragraphs (or even two sentences later).
Repeat your references to make it clear what you are talking about.
Any time you have long strings of nouns, break them up into smaller pieces so it’s clear what refers to what.
Call Refund Calculator to get the refundable amount.
Check the type of refund in the response from Refund Calculator.
Draft instructions for the default settings of the application
Call it to get the refundable amount.
Check the type of refund in the response.
Draft default application settings instructions