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Asmit Malakannawar
Asmit Malakannawar

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Google Season of Docs'22 with Weaviate!


Google Season of Docs is an annual program by Google. Its goal is to bring technical writers and open source organizations together to foster collaboration and improvement of documentation in the Open Source space.

During the program, accepted technical writers spend between 3-5 months either building a new doc set, improving the structure of the existing docs, developing a much-needed tutorial, or improving the contribution processes and guides of an Open Source organisation.

More details here.

How I got into it?

I developed interest in technical writing when I was working on my portfolio website, and I found it hard to find the resources online. I had to search through many websites for technical problems, therefore I decided to jot down my learnings in the form of technical

I came across Google Season of Docs program during my freshman year. But due to lack of experience and other commitments, I decided to apply for next term. I found this program very interesting as it would give me an opportunity lucrative to help me bolster my writing and documentation skills. I started my technical writing journey in July 2021, where I wrote various tutorials, installation guides, personal experiences, etc.

Due to my habitual writing and good content, I was reached out by Aviyel, for the role of technical writer for their platform. Aviyel is a community platform for open source projects to monetize and be sustainable. This opportunity helped me shape my technical writing skills. My content was reviewed and provided feedback.

Later, I searched more about eligibility criteria for Google Season of Docs, time commitments, looking at past organizations etc. I was pretty excited about this program and was hoping to contribute to technical documentation under guidance.

Google Season of Docs has a repository where organizations list their interest to participate in the program and the contributors reach out to them for more details.

Why Weaviate?


I came across Weaviate after the list of organizations was announced for GSoD. The idea of creating comprehensive contributors and onboarding guides seemed like a good fit for me as I had worked with a few organizations before with similar ideas. I was curious about what vector search is and how it works. I asked my mentors for guides and materials which I could refer to gain my knowledge. I also came to know that Weaviate was using Jekyll to build their documentation site. I have had experience with it so started contributing towards it with the aim of making it more efficient.

As I researched about Vector based search engines, I got fascinated by the concept, which employs deep learning models to encode data sets into meaningful vector representations. I am thrilled that SeMI Technologies chose to make Weaviate open source. I extensively use open-source software in my projects/research work, and I understand the importance of a project having a good contributor and onboarding guide.

Google Season of Docs gave me an opportunity to work with an organization and improve their contributor experience. It's also a chance for me to stretch myself and explore new areas of technology.

Initial Contributions

Weaviate's documentation site was built on Jekyll initially. It had a lot of missing things, beginning with a detailed README on how to setup a project. Since, I had experience with Jekyll (thanks to Google Summer of Code), I decided to fix that issue by adding a detailed guide on how to setup a project.

Later, to actually understand what Weaviate is, I learnt about vector search engines, how they work, where it is used, etc. and wrote a blog about it.

Here are some of my initial contributions to the project!

During my contribution phase, I met awesome people at Weaviate like Bob van Luijt, Laura Ham, Saurabh Rai, who helped me navigate the project. Discussing proposal ideas with them gave me a clear idea on what needs to be focused in the contributor's guide. I drafted my proposal there after and got it reviewed.

Selection process

After submitting the proposal, I got an interview scheduled with Sebastian Witalec, Head of DevRel at Weaviate. He asked me a few questions about my past work, my experiences, blog content etc. The interview was pretty good and he made sure I was comfortable as well. He became my mentor for Google Season of Docs.

For getting selected at any organization, previous contributions always gives you an edge over the others. Communicating with mentors is necessary as it also states that you are interested in working on that project.

After the interview, I got a message on the same day that I had been selected! I was pretty much excited to contribute to the docs and improve the experience for the community!

Project Goals

Weaviate had user documentation and a contributors guide. Initially, the contributors guide was very limited. Good documentation on how to get started on contributing to Weaviate was lacking. The pages that were in the guide helped Weaviate developers who have a good amount of background knowledge and have been contributing to Weaviate before, but it was hard to get started as an unexperienced contributor.

My goal was to create a contributor's guide that serves as a comprehensive guide that assists new contributors from beginning to end. This includes sections on how to get involved and get started, how to create your first GitHub issue, how to format Pull Requests, and more. A beginner should understand the basic navigation of the repo and how they can contribute to the repository. Wonderful guides prevent hours of frustration and lost time.

So, this was my initial experience in getting selected for Google Season of Docs 2022. Hope you got any insights on it. If you have any questions, please connect with me on different social media platforms. I'd be happy to help you :)

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