DEV Community

Cover image for Best Online Software Documentation Tools of 2021
Bhumi Khokhani
Bhumi Khokhani

Posted on • Originally published at aviyel.com

Best Online Software Documentation Tools of 2021

Software documentation tools are very important for the process of software development. It acts as a guide to building software, determines the workflow processes and overall usage of the software.

documentation -1.png

Software documentation

Software documentation is a long and tedious procedure, but an important one to keep your software project on track. Let’s first go through the guidelines you need to follow for the documentation and learn how it will benefit you.


documentation -2.png Image Source: kinsta.com

Guidelines to follow through

  1. Reader’s View: Documentation should be curated from a reader’s point of view. This makes the reader understand the documentation and work on it better.
  2. Unambiguous: Documentation should be unambiguous, clear, precise, and to the point.
  3. Repetition: Documentation should not include any repetition. It should be concise.
  4. Standardized: Documentation should be in the standard industry format.
  5. Updated: Avoid having pending things be added to the document. Your documentation should be up to date with the recent changes.
  6. Redundancy: Documents that are outdated should be removed after finalizing all added content parts. This will just keep the final document consisting of all required information.
    documentation -3.png Image Source: kinsta.com

10 best online software documentation tools in the market

1. Github

The open source software documentation tool, Github is a community for the developers to manage their projects, put up codes, review them and also build software. Using Github pages and Wiki features, one can maintain software documentation in an effective manner. Github can also convert your repositories and documents into websites that you can further host. This will let you put up your projects, documents, or even portfolios.

2. Docz

My favorite of all the tools is Docz. It is an amazing documentation generator and allows users to write interactive documents using your React components. Additionally, you can have a coding playground for your components. That’s where you can modify, view and even share it with others. People can view your documentation live, see the changes and also copy the code snippets for their projects.
Docz lets you create live-reloading, SEO-friendly, and production-ready, customizable documentation sites. You can customize its look, behavior, or pattern according to your preferences.

Why Docz is my favourite tool?

  1. Zero-configuration: The unnecessary steps are cut down, skipping the confusing building steps. Also, build your own customizable sites with a single, click command.

  2. Easy to learn: Docz is one user-friendly documentation tool. Even beginners can start incorporating their codes with Docz.

  3. Blazing fast: Increased performance speed, making it faster, reliable, and convenient to work with.

  4. Customization made easy: You can customize template, process workflow and create something productive out of your thoughts using the simple method component shadowing. This will definitely make your page stand out.

  5. MDX based: MDX is basically Markdown+JSX. MDX makes it easier to import components and use them. It incorporates some of the best industry standards used for code writing. This definitely speeds up the process of documentation workflow.

  6. Powered by Gatsby: Allows you to leverage GatsbyJS's enormous ecosystem of plugins and tools. Docz is completely built using GatsbyJS.

  7. Pluggable: Adding additional functionalities to your application is made easy using plugins without making any change in your code. GatsbyJS and Docz plugins together makes your documentation attractive and shareable.

  8. Typescript support: Docz offers Native TypeScript support for TSX components and generates documentation from your prop types and comments. Typescript builds all the exported Docz components.

Docz’s optimized, fast development experience and speedy build times make it stand apart. The document settings let the developer enrich their document with metadata used for the generation of the documentation site. Also, there are built-in properties for Docz extensible for the creation of new templates or themes, by editing different properties. These customized properties can be set on Docz’s document settings and they will be automatically parsed to the newer documents.
Creating plugins is another area where Docz stands out. Plugins let you modify processes, default configurations, and create hooks for build and render. So this turns out to be the perfect place for integrating all the other tools with Docz. Just a simple createPlugin method lets you create a new plugin in Docz.

3. Read The Docs

It’s a free software documentation tool and mostly works like Github. You can create as much open source material as you wish. However, you’ll have to pay to keep your documentation private. Read the Docs doesn't work well if you are building something for your company or organization since you would want to keep your internal project private. You can import documentation from any version control, be it, Git, Subversion, or Bazaar. Also, whenever you commit your code, webhooks will build the document automatically.

To continue reading more about the other open-source documentation tools and it's effectiveness and also learn more about software documentation and perks of using it, read my complete article here .


Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn | Twitter

If you like my work, you can extend your support by buying me a ☕. Thank you!

Discussion (0)