It’s a common refrain you hear when it comes to documentation for open source projects. It typically sucks! In part, because nobody wants to work on docs. But also in part because good documentation is challenging to write.
What is good documentation in the first place? The following is a list of some qualities that make for great documentation. This list is by no means complete. Good docs are…
- Written for the right audience
- Comprehensive and accurate
- Easily browsable and searchable
- Written in a clear and concise language
- Laid out in a readable format
- Versioned with the source code
While it’s challenging to write and maintain great documentation, my co-worker Matthew was up to the challenge of building a simple Markdown based system to help us manage our documentation. Read about our new docs site in his blog post, Introducing NuGet Docs: Community Driven Documentation.
Our goal in the long run is to have a great set of docs for NuGet with help from the community. So if you’re interested in helping out, please visit our NuGet Docs project page and let us know. It’s a separate repository with its own Mercurial repository so we can give a lot more people write access directly to the repository.
So please, if you’re looking for a low commitment easy way to get a toe in the waters with open source in general or with NuGet, consider helping us with our docs. It’s a great way to get started with OSS. It’s how I got my start a long time ago by contributing docs to RSS Bandit.