Write The Docs EU — Shwetank Dixit – Challenges and approaches taken with the Opera Extension Docs

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I’m at Write The Docs EU today in Budapest and will post semi–unpolished notes from sessions throughout the day after each talk finishes.

Cake or Death? Variations: Easy option or another easy option?

Goals:

  • Easy to understand.
  • Explain common use cases for developers.

Identify scope for improvement.

What helped? If you run into hurdles, document solutions that you find.

Scope of Improvement

  • Unified architecture explanation.
  • Easy to follow tutorials.
  • Explain common use cases.
  • Simple sample extensions.

His process:

  • Look at internal and Google Docs.
  • Note down what’s missing, and what works.
  • Think of common use cases.
  • Make sample extensions for those use cases.
  • Document issues he came across.
  • Write article explaining API, common use cases, and sample extensions.

Tools used:

  • Markdown for tutorials. Much love for Markdown.🙂
  • API docs in plain HTML
  • Built with Jekyll
  • Available on GitHub

Attribution and Licenses: Creative Commons!

Right type of sample code and sample extension? Make it super simple, almost like a test case.

Sometimes, “the readers are teenagers!”🙂

Thoughts on feedback. Multiple channels of feedback are good. Most weren’t through technical means, like a GitHub pull request. Also, there were abstract (“pie in the sky”) scenarios.

Ways they can improve their docs:

  • Navigation
  • Idea: Boilerplate extension generator
  • Increase awareness
  • Translations
  • Tweak the tone

His key points:

  • Empathize
  • Have a greater insight on your audience.
  • Make sample code and extensions before you write the tutorial.
  • Be as simple as possible.
  • Have multiple channels for feedback.

Published by

Bryan Villarin

Bryan is a Happiness Engineer at Automattic. He's also a photographer, card magician, and cat whisperer. (Thanks to my friend and colleague Steve Blythe for the sweet photo!)

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