Best Application Documentation

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Documentation is an important to factor in any software development. One of the best practices of successful customer service, where customer can find all information they need with minimum efforts and time spent, is available on the website in form of documentation.

Best application documentation tools help create better software. Developers use documentation to write quality documentation faster and easier. Good documentation promotes good coding practices, code reuse, code reusability, and removes the need for extensive comments in source code.

Documentation is an important part of a software development project. Many developers prefer to work with open source software as it can help them reduce the cost of developing software. The Open source concept allows you to download open source software for free and use it in your projects. Documentation is the most important aspect of documentation so you can easily modify and understand the solution.

When we are creating an application, it is important to remember that a manual or instructions will be required for those who only use the software. They won’t be able to figure out how things work on their own. Oftentimes, they will want hints and instructions, or just see what the program is capable of. In these cases, you need to have good documentation available in order to fulfill their needs.

What is Software Documentation?

Once you are done with software development, you already know how each element works and have already memorized or made notes of key functions and capabilities, thus finding the process of documentation unnecessary. However, without documentation, your software is like a black box. 

A black box, in terms of software, can be defined as an object or a system whose inner workings, designs or implementations are hidden from the outside world. The system works like its intended to, however, it can’t be customized to your wants and needs.

A man uploading documents in a software

This means that if some new hire or new developer joins your team, he won’t be able to peak into the system and understand how it works easily. If the person who worked on a particular piece of software leaves, he takes that information with them.

Documentation is what turns your black box into a white box, aka a system whose internal workings and implementations can be viewed by its users and developers, making it easier to understand and customize.

List of Best Software Documentation Tools Out There

To make the process of software documentation as easy for you as possible, we have curated a list of some of the best software documentation tools on the market.

These tools will not only provide you with all the tools needed for faster software documentation but will also make this seemingly boring process, a bit more fun! Let’s dive in, shall we?

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1. Software Documentation Tool: Bit.ai

Bit.ai: Software documentation tool

Bit.ai is new-age software documentation and knowledge management tool that helps teams to collaborate, share, track, and manage all company knowledge in one place.

Bit documents, unlike your standard Word Docs, are interactive. This means developers can easily add code blocks to a document with a single click!

Whether your team is creating software documentation, technical specs sheets, training manuals, best practices, client support material, etc. they can easily add code blocks or embed snippets of GitHub Gists and Pastebin code directly into a Bit document. It’s a smart way to add context to the code snippets you are sharing.

Multiple people can simultaneously collaborate on a Bit smart document in real-time. It’s a great way for software developers to handle different aspects of the software together under a single roof. Bit’s sleek, minimal, and distraction-free editor makes a great tool for documentation. Users can also make use of Bit’s wiki features to interlink important documents, making it easier to share knowledge across documents.

The best part is Bit’s support for Markdown which allows developers to quickly create and format text without any distractions. Markdown is supported by GitHub and other software development tools, making it easy to share the work you do inside of Bit with other platforms. Once you are done creating your documents, you can easily export them as PDFs, Word files, Markdown, etc. or can even embed your Bit docs on your company website or blog!

Bit allows users to manage edit permissions and information access that suits your organizational needs. It supports features like document tracking, client portals, data rooms, password protection, access restrictions, etc. depending on your organization’s needs.

We recommend that developers use video recording tools like CloudApp and Loom to bring their video screen-sharing video tutorials directly into their technical documents. It’s a smart way to share screens and provide direction to your team, future employees, and customers you’re working with.

Bit works with these two applications along with 50+ other integrations to make sure your technical documentation brings in various types of digital content.

ALSO READ:   Best Open Source Tools for Software Documentation

Bit provides a common workplace for software developers to collaborate, document, share their knowledge, brainstorm ideas, store digital assets, and innovate together. The best part is that this knowledge is safely secured in your workspaces and can be shared (or kept private) with anyone in your organization or the public!

Along with robust features and collaborative functionalities, Bit offers some beautiful, fully responsive templates for software developers to make the process a lot more fun.

2. Software Documentation Tool: ProProfs Knowledge Base

Proprofs: Software documentation tool

Employee onboarding is something you cannot ignore, especially in the case of remote workers who are spread across geographies and only have a certain idea of your firm and the work you do. This makes onboarding all the more crucial for remote employees.

The first few days of new employees are extremely crucial, as that’s when they have the time to invest in learning about your organization and the roles they are hired for.

For optimum utilization of this time, it’s best to use a tool like ProProfs Knowledge Base software – simple, powerful, and feature-rich.

This tool helps you create an online employee handbook to familiarize new hires with your firm’s work dynamics, policies, vision, mission, and, most importantly, the role that remote employees are going to play in your organization.

You don’t want your new hires to get bombarded with emails on the very first day of their joining. So, it’s best to offer them a platform that provides them all the relevant information they need to get started. ProProfs Knowledge Base software helps you achieve this with ease.

It’s an excellent tool to create a company-wide knowledge platform, more like an employee handbook, that can be accessed easily on multiple devices, including laptops, mobile phones, and tablets. The software’s compelling features, such as its MS Word-like editor, Google-like search functionality, customization options, workflows, and more, work together to provide you an unmatched experience.

Even minute tasks like adding text to multiple pages at a go, creating toggle content, adding your firm’s logo and brand name, etc. can be easily done with this powerful tool.

All in all, it’s a great tool to keep emails at bay, calls at a bare minimum, and provide remote employees with a smooth and hassle-free onboarding experience.

3. Software Documentation Tool: GitHub

Github: Software documentation tool

If you work in the software world, the chances of you not being familiar with GitHub are next to nil. GitHub is a community for developers to host and review code, manage projects, and build software alongside 28 million developers.

GitHub believes in the power of quality documentation and knows that every healthy software project needs one. On GitHub, you can create well-maintained docs use GitHub pages and Wiki features.

GitHub pages let you convert your GitHub repositories and documents into a visually appealing website to showcase your portfolio, documentation, or your projects easily. GitHub pages provide you with one free webpage, GitHub hosting, and the ability to route a custom domain. Use Jekyll (a tool that converts plain text files into websites) and easily create an elegant web page.

If you don’t want a separate website for your documentation, every GitHub repository comes equipped with a section for hosting documentation, called a wiki. Wiki is the place to store details about your project- how to use it, how it’s been designed, and so on. It’s a great way to quickly store all the critical information about your project for others to use.

4. Software Documentation Tool: MarkdownPad

MarkdownPad: Software documentation tool

MarkdownPad is one of the most famous markdown document editors for windows. You can use MarkdownPad to write articles, READMEs, and of course, software documentation.

With instant HTML previews, users can quickly see what their documents look like in HTML as they create them.

MarkdownPad offers a lot of customizing options like color schemes, fonts, sizes, and layouts. It even supports your custom CSS stylesheets and has a built-in CSS editor. Users can easily convert their written text into HTML or even export their documents as PDFs.

With a simple, easy to use user interface, MarkdownPad is a great document editor for software documentation. However, the lack of cloud features and the fact that it’s only supported on windows can be a bummer for a lot of you out there.

5. Software Documentation Tool: Read the Docs

ReadtheDocs: Software documentation tool

Read the Docs is a free platform for software documentation, used by millions of developers worldwide. Read the Docs simplifies software documentation by automating building, versioning, and hosting of your docs for you. Read the Docs hosts your software documentation for free and currently supports over 90,000 projects.

Apart from hosting your software documentation, you can even convert and view your documentation as PDFs, a single page HTML, and eReaders. without the hassle of any additional configuration. Developers can even host multiple versions of their docs easily on the platform. Read the Docs is free and is funded by its strong community of supporters!

ALSO READ:   Best Free Software Documentation Tools

6. Software Documentation Tool: Doxygen

Doxygen: Software documentation tool

If you want to generate automatic documentation from your C++ code, Doxygen is a great tool. Recently, Doxygen has also started documentation support for other popular programming languages such as C, Objective-C, C#, PHP, Java, Python, IDL Fortran, etc.

Doxygen directly extracts the documentation from the sources, making it easier to keep the documentation consistent with the source code. Users can then export the documentation in RTF (MS-Word), PostScript, hyperlinked PDF, compressed HTML, and Unix man pages. Users can even generate graphs and diagrams from the source code, making it a highly customizable and feature-rich tool.

Doxygen is free for use and works on all top operating systems- macOS, Linux, and Windows.

7. Document360

Document360 software documentation tool

Document360 is a documentation tool that helps companies in the process of software development by providing support with their processes and workflows.

Document360 provides support in the process of software development by helping companies with their processes and workflows. This documentation tool supports projects from conception to deployment, showing everyone on the team what’s coming next, who’s working with what, and when it’s due. Document360 is an innovative product designed to manage your documents.

8 Userguiding

UserGuiding software documentation tool

UserGuiding is a site that allows users to create and share guides on any topic imaginable. The high demand for guides inspired the idea with deep insight into specific topics. Guides of this nature are often hard to find or expensive due to the immense time and effort it takes to compile such rich information. 

UserGuiding can be used to turn software manuals into interactive guides, and the resource centers widget can be integrated with knowledge bases to offer in-app browsing of the knowledge base. With UserGuiding, you can create interactive guides for your software. Guides are an easier way to learn software than reading long manuals and help make the process of learning new software less painful.

With UserGuiding, you can create:

  • Interactive Product Tours,
  • Tooltips and Hotspots,
  • User Onboarding Checklists,
  • Resource Centers,
  • NPS Surveys,
  • And custom user segments.

Join 2,000+ teams creating better experiences.

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9- BitAI

BitAi software documentation tool

Bit.ai is a workspace and document collaboration platform. It allows you to create, organize and share files with your team or colleagues in real-time online. It provides the ability to access information from any device at any time, anywhere. For example, you can view a file while on the go via mobile device while working on something else back at the office on your desktop computer. Bit.ai has Github integration, Cloud File Integrations, and many more. Documents have been created for an enhanced user experience both for the creator and the receiver. They are easy to share, searchable, interactive, and dynamic documents that can be made available on a website or mobile device. 

10- ClickHelp

ClickHelp software documentation tool

ClickHelp is a cloud-based documentation tool that helps your business create, manage and publish online help desk content. With ClickHelp, you can customize the reader experience with UI templates, visual settings, and CSS. ClickHelp is an online documentation tool that enables businesses and individuals to create, edit and share step-by-step guides. Now you can create helpful ‘how to’ guides for customers in a snap. 

What You Get:

# Marketing-friendly Features

# No Installation or Server Setup Required

# Completely Cloud-Based Solution

11- MarkdownPad

MardownPad software documentation tool

MarkdownPad  is a high-quality, easy-to-use software documentation tool that makes creating READMEs and other documentation as simple as writing in plain text.

MarkdownPad helps you focus on the essential parts of your writing. It’s a new way to write that keeps track of what you write and brings all the tools you need for editing and formatting in-line. This makes it much easier to see how your document will look when it’s published or exported. MarkdownPad is a free and open-source markdown editor for Windows. They offer extensive customization options such as layouts, fonts, and sizes. Plus, you can add your custom CSS to sheets. 

12- ProProfs

ProProfs software documentation tool

ProProfs is a SaaS platform that helps you create beautifully designed, easy-to-understand documentation. With ProProfs, you can add images and videos to your articles and include live code snippets and interactive guides. You can also set up configurable email notifications so users will receive automatic emails when new content has been added to your site. 

  • Enhance searchability of content
  • Create mobile-friendly documents
  • Explain technical terms & concepts 

13- Tettra

Tettra software documentation tool

Tettra is a lightweight documentation tool for software developers that makes creating and updating documentation easy. It’s suitable for both technical and non-technical content. It does not require any programming experience to use Tettra, and it can be used to build technical or marketing documentation. It features an intuitive, easy-to-use interface. This makes it a great choice for technical writers, developers, and editors looking for a tool to create elegant, high-quality tech docs that help them communicate effectively with the rest of the team.

ALSO READ:   Best Online Documentation Software

14- Confluence

atlassian software documentation tool

Confluence builds a knowledge base for documentation & product requirements. There are advanced search and page tree options and dozens of templates that are ready to use. Plus, you can connect your plans to development work with Jira integration. They have multiple plans available for you; free, standard, and premium.

Confluence is a great way to keep your team on the same page. It helps you get work done faster, better, and more efficiently. By bringing together all of your organization’s data sources into one place, Confluence allows you to easily share information and ideas with your entire company in real-time.

15- Doxygen

Doxygen software documentation tool

Doxygen is a documentation system for C, C++, Java, Objective-C, Python, IDL (Corba and Microsoft flavors), Fortran, VHDL, and to some extent, PHP. It can be used to create both online readable documentation and printed manuals. Doxygen offers point-and-click support for creating references and links in the generated documentation.

16-  Helpjuice

HelpJuice software documentation tool

HelpJuice is a platform that allows you to create engaging, effective, and easily shareable tutorials and guides. Helpjuice is a cloud-based WordPress help desk software that allows businesses to provide exceptional customer service by streamlining the support process. The best thing about Helpjuice is that it doesn’t require any coding skills or website modifications. Their lite plan starts with $199 per month up to 4 uses with all features, customer care, and expert customization options. Lite

17- Whatfix

Whatfix software documentation tool

WhatFix is a next-generation software onboarding tool that allows you to provide interactive, omnichannel documentation and support via your team’s onboarding process. WhatFix is a free tool that takes the hassle out of creating interactive product documentation. They help you create awesome content in just a few clicks and make it easy to add videos and images. They have custom pricing according to customers’ needs. 

While writing documentation for software products is not a new phenomenon, it has become more important than ever as technology continues to advance and software becomes increasingly complex. Simply put, the demand for documentation has grown exponentially over time. It can be a daunting task to write good documentation, but with the right tools and techniques in place, anyone can produce clear and concise documentation that will benefit both your users and colleagues alike.

18- Tallyfy

Tallyfy software documentation tool

Tallyfy is a cloud-based documentation and automation tool mainly between co-workers and clients. Tallyfy is modern and proven software that lets anyone document and automate any process without complex flowcharts and ineffective docs. They have a 14 day trial for free. 

14- Typora

Typora software documentation tool

Typora is an open-source text editor that supports real-time collaboration, live previewing of web pages and documents, and lets you instantly publish on the internet. What makes Typora special is the focus on creating a clean and distraction-free writing environment while also offering all the features one needs to produce clean copy (including images, mathematical equations, and tables). They remove the preview window, mode switcher, syntax symbols of markdown source code. Instead, it provides a real live preview feature to help you concentrate on the content itself.

14- SimpleMDE

SimpleMDE software documentation tool

SimpleMDE (or Simple Mind Document Editor) is an open-source web application for creating rich text documents. It was written in JavaScript using the jQuery library, and it runs on Node.js. This software documentation tool is open source & its repository can be forked from GitHub. 

What is the best API documentation software?

The software tools mentioned in the list above can quickly produce high-level API documentation. For now, SwaggerHub ranks at the top of the list due to its ideal combination of enterprise-grade features, an extensive range of tools for personnel with all levels of technical knowledge, and support for several programming languages. That said, the overall quality of an API documentation software depends on your specifications and your documentation needs.

Conclusion

Software documentation is critical to a software project. Software documentation provides assistance to both a user and a developer typically in the form of an application’s information dictionaries, system interactions, module operations, and programmable interfaces. Lacking it, software maintenance becomes nearly impossible and quite tedious for programmers.

To build a successful software product, you’re going to need skilled and experienced development team that can perform large-scale software project. In order to be effective in building such a software, you must have best open source tools for software documentation at your disposal. But finding best free software development tools, on the other hand, is not an easy task to perform.

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