Best Documentation Framework

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Documentation is the handbook for the service you offer. A piece of documentation that does a good job clearly explaining technical processes to a lay audience is indispensable for a software company. Take Facebook as an example: it actually bases part of its branding on being a simple and approachable social network that everyone on Earth can use. Knowing exactly how to use Facebook is important to spreading the word about your platform internally and to prospective users alike.

Businesses are still working on making their documentation as useful as possible for both internal and external users. This has spawned a large number of different documentation frameworks and generators. Some are there to help create HTML pages, while others focus on inline code examples or even assets like videos.

Documentation is one of the most important things that a software developer needs to come up with. This will help people from all over the world to come and realize how to use your product. If you are trying to figure out which is the best documentation generator for your software, then this article is for you.

When writing documentation, the language you use is very important. It can be very difficult trying to determine what processes and user experience best complement your framework or information architecture. Fortunately, there are many ways in which you can write your documentation, that it can be quite a challenge deciding which one is best for you.

Top 5 best documentation tools

If you have to deal with a clunky and slow editor, unreliable search, and an unintuitive interface every time you have to write or update a document, it’s no surprise that documentation will be a source of endless frustration.

But a good documentation tool can go a long way towards changing your attitude towards writing the docs. To make your decision easier, we have evaluated dozens of documentation tools and put together a list of 5 best picks.

1. Nuclino

Nuclino is a unified workspace where teams can organize all their knowledge, docs, and projects — like a collective brain. It’s a great solution for lightweight internal documentation, but it’s not all it can do.

Nuclino offers a variety of ways to structure and visualize your documents, including a nested list, a Kanban board, and a mindmap-style graph, allowing you to collaborate on projects, plan your sprints, communicate asynchronously, and more. You can essentially consolidate all your work in one tool, minimizing unnecessary context-switching.

Nuclino is designed to eliminate as much friction from the writing process as possible. Its clean, intuitive interface makes it a great solution for both, technical and non-technical users. The editor supports a set of Markdown commands that allow you to quickly format your docs without taking your hands off the keyboard. Organizing your documentation is just as easy with wiki-style internal links, which allow you to link related documents together.

Every Nuclino page can be collaboratively edited in real time without edit-save-conflict cycles, and every edit is preserved in the version history. The instant search function allows you to locate the docs you need in seconds.

If you want to create clean, consistent documentation and value ease-of-use and speed, look no further than Nuclino.

ALSO READ:   Best Software to Make Documentation

What users say about Nuclino:

“I had never used a product like Nuclino until joining my current startup, and I’ve been really impressed with it. It’s super easy to use and edit and it looks clean. It’s been an essential tool for me as I’ve built out all of the documentation for my department. Some of my favorite features are the ability to pin articles and the ability to include boxes of code (and you can specify the language – there are a bunch to choose from, although I’ve only used SQL).”

Capterra review

2. Document360

Document360 is a hybrid solution that can bring together your internal and customer-facing documentation.

Notable features of Document360 include built-in localization mechanisms, content review reminders, SEO features, comments, and more. Granular analytics allow you to track how the readers interact with your docs.

Despite its extensive feature set, it’s a relatively easy-to-use tool. Documentation writers can choose between a Markdown editor and visual WYSIWYG tools, tailoring the editing experience according to their preference.

Note that Document360 is less affordable than other tools on this list. Its cheapest plan starts from $99 per month and only includes customer-facing documentation features. To be able to manage both your external and internal docs in Document360, you will need to pick one of the premium plans ranging from $299 to $599 per month. While this tool may be prohibitively expensive for smaller teams, large enterprises may find that its substantial feature set is more than worth the hefty price tag.

What users say about Document360:

“Document360 was exactly what we needed to publish documentation to various reader groups. It’s quite straight forward and quickly to grasp on one hand, while feature rich on the other.”

Capterra review

3. Confluence

Atlassian Confluence is one of the oldest software documentation tools on the market. Its powerful enterprise capabilities and extensive configuration options helped it amass over 60,000 customers.

Its strength lies in its seamless integration with other products in the Atlassian suite. If you are already using other Atlassian tools, such as Jira or Bitbucket, Confluence is likely to easily fit into your workflow.

It comes with a certain learning curve, but if you are looking for a documentation tool with advanced customization options and enterprise-level features, Confluence is definitely an option worth considering.

What users say about Confluence:

“After using this software for more than 18 months, I can definitely say, this is a great tool for technical documentation. It provides with easy setup, multiple project spaces for different teams, amazing API’s to create pages remotely from different tools, and last but not the least, simultaneous editing of the same document.”

Capterra review

4. BookStack

BookStack is another wiki-style documentation tool. It’s open-source, self-hosted, and highly flexible.

While the interface and navigation are fairly user-friendly, note that the initial installation may require some patience and technical skills. Once your documentation platform is up and running, however, it should be easy to bring your team on board.

If you would prefer a self-hosted documentation tool rather than a cloud-based one, BookStack is definitely worth evaluating.

ALSO READ:   Best Documentation Generator

What users say about BookStack:

“The stock interface design has a modern feel and is simple for new users to use. Granular permissions can be set up for specific roles on a per-content basis and permissions will waterfall down to child content. However, the current installation process involves many steps and may be a lot to take in for people not familiar with setting up Laravel applications.”

— (Slant review)

5. GitBook

GitBook is an all-in-one platform that can work as your internal documentation tool, a knowledge base for your customers, and your personal note-taking app. It’s a great option if you are looking to consolidate all your documentation — both internal and external — in one place.

It lacks certain collaboration features that other options on this list offer, such as real-time collaborative editing, but it makes up for it in other areas. GitBook stands out thanks to its seamless integration with GitHub, visual customization options, advanced version management, and more.

What users say about GitBook:

“Before GitBook our documentation was limited and very hard to find. It is really easy to get started with and the best part is that it supports Markdown. Writing documentation in Markdown is way easier and GitBook makes it easy to organize the content. There are no cons as such, but there were a few issues while getting started, while importing the existing documentation for the first time.”

— (Capterra review)

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6. Tallyfy

Tallyfy is workflow and process management software that lets you capture and automate your company’s knowledge. This software offers the ability to see the status of your tasks, and it is built to integrate into many other systems like Slack or Gmail. It also automates the process of tracking document changes.

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7. Scribe

Scribe is tool that automatically creates software documentation. It’s a Chrome extension and desktop application that captures a process you complete in a software tool, then turns your actions into instructions and screenshots in seconds.

Users can then modify instructions, edit screenshots, redact sensitive information, and more. Scribes can be shared to select people or teams, or be made available publicly. They can be embedded in a CMS, knowledge base, wiki, help center, or other platforms.

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BEST DEVELOPER DOCUMENTATION TOOLS

8. GitHub

GitHub is a cloud-based website and service that stores code and helps developers control and track changes through a version control system called GIT to host and review code. In addition to their repository, they offer GitHub Pages, a website hosting service that takes files directly from a GitHub repository and runs the files through a process that creates a website. This feature gives developers an easy way to create software documentation in plain text or Markdown.

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9. Apiary

Apiary by Oracle is a dedicated host for Application Programming Interface (API) documentation that lets you design, prototype, document, and test APIs. One helpful feature is the ability to prototype an API without written code.

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10. Read the Docs

Read the Docs is open-source documentation software that helps developers build and host documents. It can also build multiple versions of your documents by creating a separate branch or tag in your version control system, which is helpful for making sure your documents stay up to date.

ALSO READ:   Best Documentation Tools 2022
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11. MarkdownPad

MarkdownPad is a full-featured Markdown editor for Windows. This tool allows you to create text-based web content, blog posts, websites, articles, READMEs, and software documentation.

12. GitHub

  If you’re working in the software development world then it’s highly likely you’ll have used GitHub. It’s a popular platform with developers and a solid choice you can use for hosting your web-based documentation.   You have a choice between using the main GitHub platform wiki section or you can use GitHub Pages, which allows you one free page, hosting, and a custom domain. You can combine GitHub Pages with Jekyll to create modern and appealing documentation sites.   GitHub is free to use if your repositories are public.

Pros
  • It can be appealing to use GitHub if you are already using the platform for software development.
  • It’s a free platform for hosting your repositories if you choose the basic plan.
Cons
  • Requires development skills to use and maintain. May not be accessible for all members of your team.

Find the right documentation tool for your team

This is by no means an exhaustive list of documentation tools. There are plenty of other solutions, many of which are (quite honestly) almost identical copies of each other.

It’s also important to keep in mind that finding the right tool is only half the battle. The real challenge is to build a culture of documentation and develop the right habits. A user-friendly documentation tool, however, can make that task a lot easier. We hope this list helps you make the right choice for your team.

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.

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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.

Conclusion

Documentation frameworks provides web service APIs to third-party developers. This framework permits developers to build software applications without having the prerequisite knowledge of programming languages and software creation tools. The frameworks are available in various versions that serve different purposes of documentation generation.

Documentation is the process of building up a better, head-start and framework. A documentation frame will help you in design and development which can be applied to all the aspects of software engineering.

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