Great documentation is hard to build, maintain and continually improve on. Developers have exceptionally high expectations when it comes to documentation and will often judge a product on how articulately it communicates how to use the product as much as the actual offerings of the platform or tool itself.
You may have the best product on the market, maybe even the most competitively priced, but if nobody understands how to actually use it then its failure is almost certainly inevitable. Poor documentation often stems from lack of deep insight, the kind of insight where one understands the quirks and edge cases that if not addressed can lead to confusion and a lost customer. It’s important to put documentation into the hands of the people who understand the product the best, to enable people and to allow those who have faced challenges to put it right for the next person.
This talk is about the open-source platform and tools that I built when developing Nexmo Developer and how it has enabled us to build a powerful and flexible platform for writing rich documentation collaboratively with ease. I’ll cover our goals and how we met them, the challenges we faced during development and our tooling including our custom Markdown pipeline, Open API Specification generated API Reference Pages and the various components we use throughout our documentation.