Write The Docs EU — Shwetank Dixit – Challenges and approaches taken with the Opera Extension Docs


I’m at Write The Docs EU today in Budapest and will post semi–unpolished notes from sessions throughout the day after each talk finishes.

Cake or Death? Variations: Easy option or another easy option?


  • Easy to understand.
  • Explain common use cases for developers.

Identify scope for improvement.

What helped? If you run into hurdles, document solutions that you find.

Scope of Improvement

  • Unified architecture explanation.
  • Easy to follow tutorials.
  • Explain common use cases.
  • Simple sample extensions.

His process:

  • Look at internal and Google Docs.
  • Note down what’s missing, and what works.
  • Think of common use cases.
  • Make sample extensions for those use cases.
  • Document issues he came across.
  • Write article explaining API, common use cases, and sample extensions.

Tools used:

  • Markdown for tutorials. Much love for Markdown. 🙂
  • API docs in plain HTML
  • Built with Jekyll
  • Available on GitHub

Attribution and Licenses: Creative Commons!

Right type of sample code and sample extension? Make it super simple, almost like a test case.

Sometimes, “the readers are teenagers!” 🙂

Thoughts on feedback. Multiple channels of feedback are good. Most weren’t through technical means, like a GitHub pull request. Also, there were abstract (“pie in the sky”) scenarios.

Ways they can improve their docs:

  • Navigation
  • Idea: Boilerplate extension generator
  • Increase awareness
  • Translations
  • Tweak the tone

His key points:

  • Empathize
  • Have a greater insight on your audience.
  • Make sample code and extensions before you write the tutorial.
  • Be as simple as possible.
  • Have multiple channels for feedback.

Published by

Bryan Villarin

Bryan works at Automattic. Cat whisperer. Sometimes, a photographer and card magician.

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