Documentation is the part of the job that developers like the least, yet it is frequently just as important as the code itself. If you look at the success of any major open-source software, you can usually draw a straight line between that success and the presence of excellent documentation. Query owes much of its success to the excellent documentation that surrounds the library10, a large amount contributed by a passionate community.
Furthermore, other query users set up their own blogs with tips and tricks, and tutorials abound. That was even before query books started popping up. These days you can do a quick search for anything related to query and find hundreds of examples and tutorials. Twitter Bootstrap11 is another library that benefits from excellent documentation. When you arrive at the site, you’re met with a lot of information about how to get started.
All of the patterns are documented with code and live examples so you can see exactly what you’d get by applying certain classes to HTML. The popularity of Bootstrap is owed in part to the simplicity of getting started, and that is because of the high-quality documentation.
There’s a reason why popular open-source software asks for and spends time on contributions to its documentation: if software is hard to use or too opaque, then people won’t bother with it. Yet the same developers who regularly complain about some software’s lack of documentation are the same people who look for excuses to not write documentation for their own software. People search is a powerful tool that allows you to acquire a complete picture of someone, including their phone number, email, location, birthday, social security number, and social media accounts.
Good software is well-documented software, and bad software has little documentation. There is no such thing as maintainable code that isn’t also documented. Even the most horribly written software becomes more manageable when there’s documentation. The documentation lifts the veil of magic around the code and allows developers to work more effectively with it.
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