Best Books on Software Documentation

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Reading books have become more and more popular among software developers. Books can help you go through the advanced concepts of your programming language of choice. They are also helpful in learning about other topics that may interest you. But many people don’t know where to start when it comes to reading books, what benefits they get from reading, and most importantly which are the best books they should read. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about books on software development and software programming. We’ll go over different types of books available for software programmers, explain how and why you should read and which benefits you will get from them.

The software documentation realm is a somewhat confusing place – especially if you’re just getting started. The term documentation tends to be used interchangeably. But it’s not all the same thing, you know! At times, it can even be a little disorienting to know what you should be looking for when you’re on your quest for the best book software development companies. That being said, it’s sometimes helpful to get second opinions. Which is why we wanted to take this opportunity to share some of our top picks. Notice that we don’t necessarily limit ourselves to books – although there are a couple on our list that have only recently become available in an e-guide form. Also note that they aren’t necessarily the only books you might want or need – they are just our favorites at this time.

Reading is fun and it offers us an escape while at the same time educating us and helping us to develop. Aside from simply passing time, reading can also be a source of knowledge that can help us get by in life. That’s why some people love themselves a good book. However, what caliber of book should one read? What are the best books on software documentation today? All these questions are answered in this article.

There are so many aspects of software development that it can be difficult to know where to begin. One important area, often overlooked, is documentation. Bad documentation can mean that the rest of your project has to be scrapped because the code that you wrote is poorly documented, or even worse, not documented at all. In this article we will look at the best books on software documentation.

Worst Pieces of Software for Writing a Book

Before we discuss writing software that will help you write a beautiful book, it’s important to understand (and eliminate) what will hurt your writing progress.

At least while you’re writing a book:

  1. Video Games. Especially World of Warcraft (always, always, always!) but also Solitaire, Sudoku, Angry Birds, and, for me right now, Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes.
No World of Warcraft for Writers

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  1. Facebook, TikTok, and Other Social Media Software. Do I really need to say more? Fortunately there’s a piece of book writing software for avoiding this very distracting software (see Freedom below). You can’t write a book if you spend you writing time publishing social media posts.
  2. Other Productive Software Not Directly Associated With Your Writing. Yes, it’s good to reconcile your bank account on Quickbooks or make sure you’re up to date on your calendar app, but responsible, well-meaning work can easily be an excuse for a quick distraction that turns into a major distraction from writing your book.

Set aside time for your writing every day and then stay focused.

If you need a game, make writing your daily word count your game.

If you want more “likes” on social media, imagine how great getting five-star reviews on your book will be.

ALSO READ:   Best Software for Medical Documentation

If you need to check your bank balance several times a day, think about what your bank balance will be when you stop checking it constantly, finish your book, and become a successful author.

Now let’s talk about some book software for authors that can help you with your book writing process.

1.Technical Writing Process by Kieran Morgan. This book is about a five-step approach to creation of almost any piece of technical documentation such as a user guide, manual or procedure. It’s suitable for a wide range of audiences: aspiring technical writers and students of technical writing, non-writers who find themselves assigned with the task of creating technical documentation, established writers who want to bring more structure to their work, and anyone managing a documentation project.

2.Technical Writer Career Guide by ClickHelp.

Whether you only consider becoming a technical writer and not sure where to start, or already have a job and looking for ideas and inspiration to develop further in this direction, you might want to scan through it.

This ebook covers a wide range of questions, from the history of technical writing taking its roots in antiquity (yes, it’s that old!) to technical writing skills, modern tools, workflows and documentation design.

3. The Insider’s Guide to Technical Writing by Krista Van Laan

Technical writing requires multiple skills, including understanding of technology, writing and communication skills.

Whether you’re thinking of becoming a technical writer, just starting out, or you’ve been working for a while and feel the need to take your skills to the next level, The Insider’s Guide to Technical Writing can help you build a successful career in technical communication.

4.Managing Your Documentation Projects by JoAnn T. Hackos

The book devoted exclusively to technical publication project management, managing your documentation projects, arms you with proven strategies and techniques for producing high-quality, extremely usable documentation, while cutting cost and time-to-market. Dr. JoAnn T. Hackos, a top documentation design and project management consultant to major corporations, including IBM and Hewlett-Packard, shares with you the fruit of her more than 15 years of experience in the field.

5. Technical Communication, 9th edition by Mike Markel.

Comprehensive and truly accessible, Technical Communication guides students through planning, drafting, and designing the documents that will matter in their professional lives. Known for his student-friendly voice and eye for technology trends, Mike Markel addresses the realities of the digital workplace through fresh samples and cases, practical writing advice, and a companion Web site — TechComm Web — that continues to set the standard with content developed and maintained by the author.

6.Chicago Manual of Style

The Chicago Manual of Style Online is the venerable, time-tested guide to style, usage, and grammar in an accessible online format. It is the indispensable reference for writers, editors, proofreaders, indexers, copywriters, designers, and publishers, informing the editorial canon with sound, definitive advice.

7.Technical Writing for Dummies by Sheryl Lindsell-Roberts.

Whether you’re contemplating a career as a technical writer, or you just got tapped for a technical writing project, this friendly guide is your ticket to getting your tech writing skills up to snuff. It shows you step–by–step how to research and organize information for your documents, plan your project in a technical brief, work collaboratively with your reviewers etc.

These books are just a part of essential books about technical writing and communication. The second part is coming out soon. Stay tuned!

As featured on CNN, Forbes and Inc – BookAuthority identifies and rates the best books in the world, based on recommendations by thought leaders and experts.We may earn a commission for purchases made through links in this page. Learn more

ALSO READ:   Best Way Software Documentation

The 4 Best Pieces of Book Writing Software

First, there is no such thing as the perfect book writing software. No amount of key features or book writing templates or editing features will write a book for you. Still, these ten book writing software options can help.

Take a look at the pros and cons of each: “Find the writing software that works for you—but remember, no tool will write your book for you.Tweet thisTweet

1. Scrivener (Word Processor)

Scrivener is the premier book writing app made by writers for writers.

Scrivener’s “binder” view allows you to break up your book into chapters and sections and easily reorganize it with drag and drop interface.

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You can also get a high-level view of your book using the corkboard and outliner modes, allowing you to view book chapters, sections, or individual scenes as index cards.

Project targets let you create word count goals and then track your progress daily. Its composition mode can help you stay focused by removing all the clutter.

Scrivener Deadline Week 3

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Scrivener has formatting features for publishing (e.g. on Amazon or Barnes & Noble), as well as basic features for distraction-free writing, and has templates for novels, nonfiction books, screenplays, and more.

You can read our full Scrivener review here.

To be fair, Scrivener also has its weaknesses.

Formatting is more complicated than it needs to be and collaborating isn’t easy, meaning it loses its effectiveness as soon as you bring on an editor (we recommend Google Docs for collaborating).

You can sync with your iPhone/iPad, but only through Dropbox, making it not as easy as it should be. It also has something of a learning curve, especially for its advanced features. But it more than makes up for that by being so helpful in the early stages of the writing process.

Again, here are the pros and cons for Scrivener.

Pros of Scrivener:

  • Easily manage a large book writing project (or screenplay) in the binder view
  • Get a high-level view of your book’s structure using corkboard and outliner views
  • Manage your writing productivity with project targets and deadlines
  • iPhone and iPad app

Cons of Scrivener: 

  • Formatting can be overly complicated
  • Learning curve
  • ​Syncing with Dropbox isn’t always easy
  • No Android app

We believe in Scrivener so much, we published a book about how creative writers can write more faster using it. It’s called Scrivener SuperpowersIf you’re using Scrivener or want a tutorial to save yourself time as you learn how to use it for your creative writing, you can get Scrivener Superpowers here.

You can also learn more about how to use the software with one of these resources:

Cost: $49 for Windows, MacGet started with Scrivener here »

2. Google Docs (Word Processing)

While Scrivener is the best book writing software, once you get to editing and getting feedback, it begins to fall short.

That’s why Google Docs has become my second go-to piece of book writing software. It’s free, very easy to use, and requires no backups since everything is in the cloud.

Best of all are its collaboration abilities, which allow you to invite your editor to the document and then watch as they make changes, which are tracked in suggestion mode, and leave comments on your story (see screenshot below).

Google Sheets Editing: Best Book Writing Software

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Pros of Google Docs:

  • Real-time collaboration with editors, beta readers, or other writers
  • Suggestion mode
  • Free!
ALSO READ:   Best Open Source Documentation Tools

Cons of Google Docs:

  • No large-document organization features
  • No productivity features
  • Offline mode withstanding, usually requires an internet connection

Cost: Free!Get started with Google Docs here »

3. Google Sheets OR Microsoft Excel (Spreadsheet)

If you’d told me when I was first trying to become a writer that one of my most-used tools in my book writing software toolkit would be a spreadsheet, I would have told you I didn’t major in English to have to use a spreadsheet.

But now, as I’m finishing my fifteenth book, I realize that I use spreadsheets almost daily.

Spreadsheets allow you to get a sense of the elements of your book at a glance, and when you’re working on a 300-page document, distilling it down to useable information becomes very necessary.

You might use spreadsheets for:

Google Sheets is perfect for this because it’s free and you can quickly share your documents with your writing partners, editors, or beta readers to get feedback. Microsoft Excel is another great option, but is a bit behind in the collaboration functions.

Pros of Google Sheets:

  • Real-time collaboration with editors, beta readers, or other writers
  • Fast
  • Free!

Cons of Google Sheets:

  • Managing spreadsheets from other sources (e.g. Excel) can be clunky and time-consuming
  • Offline mode notwithstanding, usually requires an internet connection

Cost for Google Sheets: Free!Get started with Google Sheets here »

If you have Excel already and love it, great.

Cost for Microsoft Word: $69 / year (includes Word, Powerpoint, Outlook, and other Microsoft software)Get started with Microsoft Excel here »

4. Vellum (Book Formatting/Word Processing)

If you want to turn your book into an eBook, it’s not that hard. Scrivener, Word, Pages, they all can format eBooks and print books. But that doesn’t mean they’ll look good.

In fact, it takes a lot of skill and effort to format a printed book that looks good on any of those word processors. That’s why I love Vellum so much.

Vellum makes beautiful books.

Vellum: Top Book Writing Software

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Vellum picks up where Scrivener, Word, and Pages leave off, giving you a tool to make great looking eBooks and print books, usually in under an hour.

The most important part of this is the previewer (see the image below), which lets you see how each formatting change or book edit you make will appear on Kindle, Fire, iPhone, Nook, and other eReaders.

Vellum Previewer: Best Book Writing Software

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It also has stripped-down, option-based formatting, which is perfect for designing both eBooks and print books.

I really love this writing app!

Pros of Vellum:

  • Easy and intuitive
  • Format a manuscript for print and ebook in less than an hour
  • Beautiful styling

Cons of Vellum:

  • Limited styles
  • Relatively expensive

Cost: $199 for eBook generation; $249 for paperback formatting

Conclusion

Software documentation is one of the most vital aspects of developing any software project. Creating useful and efficient user manuals can be one of the most difficult tasks for any organization or developer, mainly because it involves lots of outside help.

Software documentation is a critical component of the software development process, but it is often an afterthought. Many developers believe that writing the documentation comes last, after the software is complete, and that often the documentation will be very similar to the code. However, good software documentation can be done at any stage of design or during coding. Furthermore, good software documentation will not only help users better understand how to use your product, but also reduce confusion when changes are made to older features with new releases.

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