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  • Book
  • © 2021

Docs for Developers

An Engineer’s Field Guide to Technical Writing

Apress
  • Aligns the craft of writing with the craft of programming

  • Contains easy-to-follow processes, templates, and best practices for creating, organizing, and maintaining documentation

  • Written by experienced writers and developers from Google, The Linux Foundation, Stripe, LaunchDarkly, and Monzo,

Buying options

eBook USD 29.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-1-4842-7217-6
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 39.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Table of contents (11 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xxv
  2. Understanding your audience

    • Jared Bhatti, Zachary Sarah Corleissen, Jen Lambourne, David Nunez, Heidi Waterhouse
    Pages 1-21
  3. Planning your documentation

    • Jared Bhatti, Zachary Sarah Corleissen, Jen Lambourne, David Nunez, Heidi Waterhouse
    Pages 23-44
  4. Drafting documentation

    • Jared Bhatti, Zachary Sarah Corleissen, Jen Lambourne, David Nunez, Heidi Waterhouse
    Pages 45-66
  5. Editing documentation

    • Jared Bhatti, Zachary Sarah Corleissen, Jen Lambourne, David Nunez, Heidi Waterhouse
    Pages 67-81
  6. Integrating code samples

    • Jared Bhatti, Zachary Sarah Corleissen, Jen Lambourne, David Nunez, Heidi Waterhouse
    Pages 83-99
  7. Adding visual content

    • Jared Bhatti, Zachary Sarah Corleissen, Jen Lambourne, David Nunez, Heidi Waterhouse
    Pages 101-120
  8. Publishing documentation

    • Jared Bhatti, Zachary Sarah Corleissen, Jen Lambourne, David Nunez, Heidi Waterhouse
    Pages 121-131
  9. Gathering and integrating feedback

    • Jared Bhatti, Zachary Sarah Corleissen, Jen Lambourne, David Nunez, Heidi Waterhouse
    Pages 133-146
  10. Measuring documentation quality

    • Jared Bhatti, Zachary Sarah Corleissen, Jen Lambourne, David Nunez, Heidi Waterhouse
    Pages 147-167
  11. Organizing documentation

    • Jared Bhatti, Zachary Sarah Corleissen, Jen Lambourne, David Nunez, Heidi Waterhouse
    Pages 169-185
  12. Maintaining and deprecating documentation

    • Jared Bhatti, Zachary Sarah Corleissen, Jen Lambourne, David Nunez, Heidi Waterhouse
    Pages 187-200
  13. Back Matter

    Pages 201-225

About this book

Learn to integrate programming with good documentation. This book teaches you the craft of documentation for each step in the software development lifecycle, from understanding your users’ needs to publishing, measuring, and maintaining useful developer documentation.

Well-documented projects save time for both developers on the project and users of the software. Projects without adequate documentation suffer from poor developer productivity, project scalability, user adoption, and accessibility. In short: bad documentation kills projects. 

Docs for Developers demystifies the process of creating great developer documentation, following a team of software developers as they work to launch a new product. At each step along the way, you learn through examples, templates, and principles how to create, measure, and maintain documentation—tools you can adapt to the needs of your own organization.

You will:

  • Create friction logs and perform user research to understand your users’ frustrations
  • Research, draft, and write different kinds of documentation, including READMEs, API documentation, tutorials, conceptual content, and release notes
  • Publish and maintain documentation alongside regular code releases
  • Measure the success of the content you create through analytics and user feedback
  • Organize larger sets of documentation to help users find the right information at the right time

Keywords

  • Developer documentation
  • software documentation
  • technical documentation
  • technical writing
  • design docs
  • friction logs
  • documentation metrics
  • findability
  • searchability
  • document contributors
  • content licenses
  • style guides
  • code of conduct
  • code contributions
  • open source contributions
  • open source documentation
  • open source

Authors and Affiliations

  • Berkeley, USA

    Jared Bhatti

  • Victoria, Canada

    Zachary Sarah Corleissen

  • Cornwall, UK

    Jen Lambourne

  • San Francisco, USA

    David Nunez

  • Mounds View, USA

    Heidi Waterhouse

About the authors

Jared Bhatti


Jared is a Staff Technical Writer at Alphabet, and the co-founder of Google’s Cloud documentation team. He’s worked for the past 14 years documenting an array of projects at Alphabet, including Kubernetes, App Engine, Adsense, Google’s data centers, and Google’s environmental sustainability efforts. He currently leads technical documentation at Waymo and mentors several junior writers in the industry.

Zachary Sarah Corleissen

Zach began this book as the Lead Technical Writer for the Linux Foundation and ended it as Stripe’s first Staff Technical Writer. Zach served as co-chair for Kubernetes documentation from 2017 until 2021, and has worked on developer docs previously at GitHub, Rackspace, and several startups. They enjoy speaking at conferences and love to mentor writers and speakers of all abilities and backgrounds.

Heidi Waterhouse

Heidi spent a couple decades at Microsoft, Dell Software, and many, many startups learning to communicate with and for developers. She currently works as a principal developer advocate at LaunchDarkly, but was reassured to find that technical communication is universal across all roles. 

David Nunez

David heads up the technical writing organization at Stripe, where he founded the internal documentation team and wrote for Increment magazine. Before Stripe, he founded and led the technical writing organization at Uber and held a documentation leadership role at Salesforce. Having led teams that have written about cloud, homegrown infrastructure, self-driving trucks, and economic infrastructure, he’s studied the many ways that technical documentation can shape the user experience. David also acts as an advisor for several startups in the knowledge platform space.

Jen Lambourne

Jen leads the technical writing and knowledge management discipline at Monzo Bank. Before her foray into fintech, she led a community of documentarians across the UK government as Head of Technical Writing at the Government Digital Service (GDS). Having moved from government to finance, she recognizes she’s drawn to creating inclusive and user-centred content in traditionally unfriendly industries. She likes using developer tools to manage docs, demystifying the writing process for engineers, mentoring junior writers, and presenting her adventures in documentation at conferences.


Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Docs for Developers

  • Book Subtitle: An Engineer’s Field Guide to Technical Writing

  • Authors: Jared Bhatti, Zachary Sarah Corleissen, Jen Lambourne, David Nunez, Heidi Waterhouse

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4842-7217-6

  • Publisher: Apress Berkeley, CA

  • eBook Packages: Professional and Applied Computing, Professional and Applied Computing (R0), Apress Access Books

  • Copyright Information: Jared Bhatti, Zachary Sarah Corleissen, Jen Lambourne, David Nunez, Heidi Waterhouse 2021

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-1-4842-7216-9

  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4842-7217-6

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXV, 225

  • Number of Illustrations: 31 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Web Development, Open Source

Buying options

eBook USD 29.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-1-4842-7217-6
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 39.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)