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A Documentation Crash Course, LinuxCon 2016

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How many times have you come across an awesome looking library or tool that you're keen to work with in your own project but can't even begin to understand how to use it?

Programmers are great at creating amazing and cutting-edge code, but not always so good and explaining themselves, and I want to help. In this presentation I want to draw upon my experience in writing tutorials and technical documentation to help you write clear, concise and usable documentation for your own projects.

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A Documentation Crash Course, LinuxCon 2016

  1. 1. A Documentation Crash Course …for developers LinuxCon, Berlin
 @chrischinch
  2. 2. What’s one of the first things you look at with a new project?
  3. 3. • W • W • W ho are you writing for? hat are they trying to achieve? hy are you writing this? Youhavehopefullyansweredthesebeforedevelopment…
  4. 4. Assume nothing
  5. 5. Refine your concept(s)
  6. 6. API docs are (not) always enough
  7. 7. It’s not a manual
  8. 8. Interactivity
  9. 9. Language Selected highlights in (mostly) English, sorry…
  10. 10. Involve the reader
  11. 11. “function takes parameter x and returns value y”
  12. 12. “You can use function to return the value of y based on x”
  13. 13. Passive vs Active
  14. 14. “function can be used to return the number of y based on x”
  15. 15. “Holiday approval will be notified in due course”
  16. 16. Keep it short
  17. 17. “If I Had More Time, I Would Have Written a Shorter Letter” – Pascal, Locke, Franklin, Thoreau, Cicero, Wilson?
  18. 18. Structure
  19. 19. Consistency
  20. 20. Tools In brief…
  21. 21. Format and editing
  22. 22. Management and rendering
  23. 23. Testing, linting and automating
  24. 24. Write your own
  25. 25. Want More? • www.meetup.com/Write-The-Docs- Berlin • slack.writethedocs.org
  26. 26. –Me (maybe) “Documentation isn’t just for developers”
  27. 27. Thank You! Chris Ward contentful.com gregariousmammal.com @chrischinch I have stickers and merchandise!

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