As a developer, you spend a lot of time writing. More than writing code. You reply to emails, update bug requests and write project documentation and more. Code allows us to communicate with computers. With people, we need to use words to communicate.
Every day, we communicate with clients, users, team members and other developers. We write all kinds of different things to communicate with them. From a quick email to help them get started using our product to a full user’s guide.
"If you can’t automate it, document it. – Hila Fish
You want to write technical documentation to help reduce your work load. Technical docs help you to remember why you are doing things a certain way. You or future developers will be glad you took the time to document the choices made.
Documentation keeps your project on track
When you work on your own projects, writing becomes more important. You write documentation to help explain what your product does. How it solves your customers’ problem and how they can use it. If you like to work on many projects, documentation helps you to keep going. Simon Willison explains how to use documentation to maintain multiple projects.
Document your project quirks
Every project has its own quirks. You make choices that affect how things turn out. To help your future self or the next developer, document the following:
- Choices that you make while you are working on the project
- Things that bugged you
- Items that aren’t clear or straight forward
- Any surprises that came along
- Issues or things to consider when using this tool or language feature