Open source documentation

Documentation is the key to success of any software programming, in the IT industry and most of the company understand the importance of the good document.

Without correct user documentation, chances are high user may end up not using your product effectively.

In the open source, documentation issue sometimes becomes the nightmare for the users.

Normally in the open source documentation is neglected and this leads to frustration among the user.

Companies have their own internal documentation style guides but, at some point in time, they also have to look at the open source documentation for the different project needs. With the open source, documentation comes many challenges hand in hand that can hamper the sole purpose of software engineering.

Those challenges need to be discussed so that the documentation can become error-free and in its right spirit.

Image courtesy: thenextweb

·        Incomplete and confusing documentation is the most common challenge to be faced when the input is open source. This is because of many reasons. To list a few are:
Technical documentation is not a general writing, it needs a set of skills and ability to understand and document accordingly as per the need for any project. In an open source documentation most of the time the skills are not up to the mark and hence the writer lacks the ability to document all the work properly.
Any documentation needs to be completed in a particular time frame and in order to meet the deadline often the perfection is not achieved.
Any software has a tendency to change and the documentation needs to be updated accordingly, which tempts a writer to wait until the software change is finalized and after that, they are left with minimal time to complete the documentation. Following agile values and principal can solve the issues.
·        The second major challenge is unresponsiveness. This may be because of perceived focus on the developer. The user can be the right person to do the documentation but when the documentation revolves around the developer the writer is less interested to contribute from their side and the unresponsiveness from the user affects the quality of documentation.
·        It is also very necessary to take a contribution from the users who are not well informed because as an end user they value the documentation the most. They can contribute to having a clear and accessible language in the documentation as they are not preoccupied with the project and developers though.
·        Some more small challenges to be faced are such as unwelcoming language and content, unexplained rejection etc.

Webinar about contributing in open source