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Whether you’re just rolling out a new project, or you’re maintaining ten years and three major versions of legacy code, good documentation is vital for your users. But even when you know it’s necessary, come on, who wants to actually write docs? Isn’t it just a pain?
Not necessarily! This presentation will show you how writing docs can be fun, and give you the tools you need to create great docs quickly. From first drafts to final revisions, it’s all in here – we’ll discuss techniques for getting started, how to build on what you already have, and even some ideas for attracting volunteers to help document your project!
And, getting involved with documentation is a great way to contribute back to your favourite project. It’s easy to get started, and a great way to get appreciated! If you know how to use the software to do what you want, you’re ready to go. The most important thing is being how to explain what you’re doing – but we’ll also take a look at some of the commonly-used tools of the trade.
So if your favourite project’s documentation is not quite there yet (and let’s face it, whose is?!), this talk is for you! From her early days in Open Source, contributing drive-by translations and docs to projects she was using, to her work over the last five years with the Apache httpd project, to her day job as a technical writer at Google, Noirin’s wealth of experience will help you get going from wherever you stand!
Noirin Plunkett is a jack of all trades, and a master of several. A technical writer by day, her open source work epitomizes the saying “if you want something done, ask a busy person”.
Noirin got her open source start at Apache, helping out with the httpd documentation project. Within a year, she had been recruited to the conference planning team, which she now leads. She was involved in setting up the Community Development project at Apache, and acts as organization admin for Apache projects participating in Google Summer of Code. And, of course, she continues to contribute to ASF projects as diverse as Infrastructure and Incubator, and sits on the boards of both the Apache Software Foundation and the Open Cloud Initiative.
When she’s not online, Noirin’s natural habitat is the dance floor, although she’s also a keen harpist & singer, and a mean cook!
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