June 4, 2017

Problem of open source- clear documentation

Importance of good document

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. Companies have their own internal documentation style guides but, at some point of 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 to 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:

Documenting is not a general writing, it needs a set of skills and ability to understand and document accordingly as per the need of 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 changed 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.

·        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 effects 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 have a clear and accessible language in the documentation as they are not preoccupied with the project and developers thought.

·        Some more small challenges to be faced are such as unwelcoming language and content, unexplained rejection etc.

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