Redocly helps Checkr
check every box for API docs

How Redocly’s no-compromise focus on developer freedom won the trust of an API-first Y Combinator graduate.

If someone knows a thing or two about API documentation, that’s Beth Wright, content strategist & senior technical writer at Checkr, the leading technology company in the background check industry. She had led documentation efforts for leaders like CoreOS and used dozens of tools. But when it came to revamping Checkr’s API docs, a newly discovered one really stuck...

Redocly is the first developer documentation tool that’s excited me.

- Beth

Three years later, Checkr is onboarding thousands of big employers and gig economy innovators with sleek API documentation powered by Redocly.

This is our story together.

AI-powered background checks at scale. Hell-bent on making hiring better, fairer, and more efficient for everyone.

  • San Francisco CA
  • Background checks software
  • Reference Docs, Workflows
Beth Writh

Content strategist & Senior technical writer

Graduating from DIY-docs school

The talents of startup developers are better spent building their company’s product software, than building their doc tooling.

- Beth

Checkr graduated from Y-Combinator in 2014, and it has since then superpowered the on-demand economy with background checks at scale. Used by Uber, Instacart, Handy, Zenefits and thousands of others, Checkr has an API-first business model that relies on an amazing developer experience, both internal and external. In 2018, Checkr’s in-house docs tooling had become inefficient and unwieldy to manage, requiring hours to update and fix bugs. That’s when Beth decided DIY school was out.

Wait... these docs power Nasa? 🛰

Beth evaluated off-the-shelf solutions old and new, but only found unacceptable compromises. Free documentation tools would still suck away developer time, while all-in-one SaaS providers severely limited freedom because they

own your files, and mandate the content included on the site, both of which are deal breakers for me.

- Beth

Fortunately, a Google search brought her to Redocly, which checked all the boxes and then some, offering the perfect mix of freedom and hands-off standardization:

  • Keeping the entire documentation pipeline inside Git
  • ...while owning 100% of your docs and content
  • Enforced OpenAPI 3.0 spec compliance
  • Basic API testing straight from documentation

Oh, and if you’ll excuse the bragging rights, Beth was completely sold when she found out that Docker and NASA were using Redocly. We actually run in space. Go figure!

How Checkr is using Redocly

On-brand API Docs

On-brand API Docs

Checkr uses Reference Docs for custom-styled API documentation and partner onboarding portal.
Git-first approach

Git-first approach

Single source of truth, easy collaboration and quick developer onboarding with Redocly Workflows.
Owning their tools

Owning their tools

No external CMS or 3rd party lock-in gives Checkr complete ownership of their content and pipeline.

Your Git. Your docs. Your choice.

Ease of onboarding was a particularly strong plus for Beth and her army of developers. As soon as the team realized they could do everything docs-related from a single Git repo, without extra hoops or integration rigmarole, they were all-in.

Because I had used Git before, and because Redocly ported our existing documentation over to their OpenAPI spec, onboarding was super easy.

- Beth

In a way, this approach offers the same freedom as the “DIY school,” but without the need to maintain your own tools, all while publishing styled documentation with a single solution that “just works.” The term win-win comes to mind...

Finally, No-Ops API Docs

Checkr uses Redocly Workflows to automate collaboration and keep API docs always up to date.

Partner onboarding joins the party

The insanely quick response time of the Redocly team to any and all requests for help clinched the deal.

- Beth

Checkr also runs a dedicated documentation flow for their many partner developers. For consistency and ease of use, Checkr uses a separate instance of Redocly’s Reference Docs to host guides that help developers at partner organizations integrate Checkr with their platforms, which are then offered to their customers. This project seamlessly references Check’s primary API docs set, while being more specific in scope and strategic function.

Empires can be toppled in a day, and a lot can change in three years. Especially in the tech industry. And yet, the Checkr ← 💖 → Redocly partnership is still going strong. As Checkr keeps innovating background checks, we’ll also innovate API documentation for this new economy. In fact, Beth herself gave us some invaluable feedback for our next steps, such as going heavy on user analytics, search query stats, and many other little bits that make a fantastic developer experience.

We’re on it Beth! We are on it.

Superpower your API lifecycle with Redocly