Docs or it didn't happen! [PyCon UK 2017]

Docs or it didn't happen! [PyCon UK 2017]

**This version of the talk was presented at PyCon UK 2017**

** Video available here:**

If you ever skimmed through a README, tried to follow a quickstart tutorial, attempted to decipher an error message, or typed '--help' in your console, congratulations -- you have encountered documentation!

Long gone are the days of massive books with never-ending stories about your software. Today's users are smarter and less patient, which means that we no longer need to document *all the things*, as long as what we do document is clear, concise, helpful, and accessible. And that's where the real work starts.

Documentation requires some attitude adjustment, since prose doesn't neatly compile into binaries as code does. But Don't Panic(tm)! No matter what your role is in the community, you can apply a few key principles from the technical writing world to make your project more docs-friendly, and therefore more user- and contributor-friendly.



October 26, 2017


  1. DOCS OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN! Mikey Ariel @ThatDocsLady @WriteTheDocs PyCon

    UK 2017
  2. Why are we here? We are *not* here to argue

    whether documentation is important (or to argue about anything, really). And please leave your flamewars at the door, documentation is communication so let’s remember how to do that. This talk will run the full 25 minutes, with no on-stage questions. Personal interaction is recommended (talk to me afterwards!), or you can email, Slack, or tweet @ThatDocsLady with your questions any time. ◉ We want to have more users and contributors ◉ We believe (or want to believe) that docs can help ◉ <something> is stopping us from working on docs
  3. Who is That Docs Lady? @ThatDocsLady @WriteTheDocs


  5. Content Strategy Plan a little, save a lot Community Spirit

    We’re all in this together DevOps for Docs Not just for developers anymore

  7. “ A documentarian is someone who cares about documentation and

    communication in the software industry, regardless of job title.
  8. Documentarians Writers Developers Designers DevOps Marketing Support UX

  9. CONTENT STRATEGY Asking the right questions in advance can save

    a lot of time later 1
  10. NEED-TO-KNOW DOCS (and no, you don’t need to know everything)

  11. Need-to-Know Documentation

  12. Need-to-Know Documentation Who

  13. Need-to-Know Documentation Who What

  14. Need-to-Know Documentation Who When What

  15. Need-to-Know Documentation Who Where When What

  16. Need-to-Know Documentation Who Why Where When What

  17. EXAMPLES (because screenshots rock)

  18. GNOME Help

  19. GNOME Help

  20. GNOME Help

  21. GNOME Help

  22. Arch Linux Wiki

  23. Arch Linux Wiki

  24. Minishift README

  25. Minishift Troubleshooting

  26. Minishift Troubleshooting

  27. Minishift Troubleshooting

  28. DEVOPS FOR DOCS Geeking out about documentation tooling and workflow

  29. INTEGRATION (if you can’t beat them, join them)

  30. UNIFIED TOOLING If it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it!

  31. Docs-as-Code

  32. Modular Source Content

  33. Issue Tracking

  34. Issue Tracking

  35. CONTINUOUS PUBLICATION No need to stop the press anymore!

  36. Publication Tools

  37. Continuous Deployment

  38. Live-Preview Staging<YOUR-PR-HERE>

  39. TESTING AUTOMATION More than a just a spell-checker!

  40. Linguistic Validation

  41. Test Automation Framework

  42. COMMUNITY SPIRIT Let’s help our contributors help us and help

    each other 3
  43. “ Docs or it didn’t happen! - Me, at the

    beginning of this presentation
  44. Django Project Linux Kernel OpenStack Documentation as a Deliverable

  45. Contribution Guidelines

  46. Templates

  47. The Documentarian community is growing!

  48. Dedicated Conferences

  49. Doc Sprints and Hackfests Documentation Help Desk during Monday sprints!

    (I have stickers)
  50. @ThatDocsLady @WriteTheDocs WELCOME TO THE CLUB!