Best Tool for Documentation
Are you trying to find the best free tool for code documentation? No matter if you are a developer or an entrepreneur, creating and keeping your code documentation is an important task. For this reason, there are many tools that you can use. In this article, we will provide you with the best tools you can use today to meet your coding standards and keep a style guide that is as good as any other company in your sector.
If you’ve ever had to use a piece of software you’re not familiar with, you understand the importance of helpful technical documentation. You don’t have time to guess how to use a piece of software when you have work to get done. You need straightforward instructions to help you complete your tasks.
Let’s talk about the best code documentation tools. Not only this is an important part of the job for both developers and project managers, but it can also be one of those “quick wins” that deserves attention. One you might be interested in is whether the tool will help you learn from what your co-workers have done before or if it will automate parts of the documentation process (making it easier to do).
Documentation is an integral part of any software product. It explains what the software does, how it works, how to integrate it into other tools, and provides a peek under the hood. There are several different types of software documentation, and they can all benefit from specialized tools that make creating them more manageable.
Best documentation tools
Technical writers need a robust solution that will help them save time, minimize efforts, and empower users’ understanding of the products through crisp documentation– How about a solution like Bit!
Bit.ai is new-age documentation and knowledge management tool that provides a common workplace for technical writers to collaborate, document, track and share their knowledge, brainstorm ideas, store digital assets, and innovate together. They can interlink Bit documents inside of your workspace with Bit’s wiki feature for both- internal use and external sharing.
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!
Unlike your standard Notepad, MS Word, and Google Docs, Bit documents are interactive. This means, whether your team is creating technical documentation, training manuals, technical specs sheet, best practices, product catalogs, etc., they can easily add code blocks, training videos, and presentations directly into a Bit document within seconds.
Once you are done documenting, you can simply export them as PDFs, Markdown, and much more. Bit’s sleek, minimal, and distraction-free editor makes it a great tool for technical writing.
- Markdown editor support
- Content management capabilities
- Real-time team collaboration
- 100+ Rich media integrations
- Document tracking
- Wiki/interlinking documents
- Offers a free plan
- Pro plan starts at $8
2. Adobe FrameMaker
If you are worried about writing content and re-using the existing content (like single-source writing) then you can consider Adobe FrameMaker as an option for your technical writing!
Adobe FrameMaker is a sophisticated document processor that suites large industrial standard documentation. It can be used to generate structured documents with an XML framework that’s 100% Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) compliant. FrameMaker is a DITA-friendly technical writing tool with the built-in ability to print a PDF and a great alternative to editors like MS Word.
Additionally, documents created with FrameMaker span over 200+ pages with pre-defined templates in several industrial standard formats – such as financial statements and legal agreements. You can also generate automatic hyperlinks, a list of figures, a table of contents, and a list of tables in just a few clicks.
- One-click image resizing
- XML file handling
- Multidevice publishing
- Mini table of contents
- Starts at $29.99 per month
- Full version at $999
3. ProProfs Knowledge Base
ProProfs Knowledge Base is an excellent technical writing tool that provides amazing features and smart settings to help you create technical documents that reflect perfection.
This tool is beautifully engineered to meet the demands of businesses all over the globe, it helps you create a company-wide knowledge platform, more like a manual, that can be easily accessed via multiple devices, including mobile phones, tablets, and laptops.
ProProfs offer compelling features, such as MS Word-like editor, Google-like search functionality, workflows, customization options, and more, merged to provide you an ultra-modern experience. It even facilitates minute tasks like adding text to multiple pages at a go, adding your firm’s logo, creating toggle content, etc.
- Branding features
- Revision history
- Compatibility with multiple devices
- Library of themes, designs, fonts, etc.
- Offers a free plan
- Pro starts at $40
Taking screenshots in technical documentation is not just a process- it’s a compulsion! Without images, it would be extremely difficult to comprehend the content.
Most technical writers enhance their screenshots with various attributes like- frames, arrows, circles, etc. These elements help readers to understand images in a simple and fast!
One such tool that offers a collection of beautiful pre-made elements along with the functionality of taking screenshots is Snagit! Snagit is a powerful screen capture tool targeted toward technical writers that make their documents look consistent and professional!
- Panoramic scrolling capture
- Captures drop-down menus
- Borders and image effects
- Exports to cloud storage
- Offers a 15-day free trial
- Pro plan starts at $50
MarkdownPad is one of the most popular Markdown document editors used by technical writers. It provides a lot of customizations like fonts, color schemes, sizes, and layouts. It even has a built-in CSS editor and supports your custom CSS stylesheets.
Users can quickly convert their written text documents into HTML or even export them as PDFs. With quick HTML previews, users can easily see what their documents look like in HTML as they create them.
They can use MarkdownPad to write articles, READMEs, and of course, technical documents. However, the lack of cloud features and the fact that it’s only equipped for Windows can be a bummer for a lot of writers out there.
- Built-in image uploader
- Session management
- Configurable automatic updates
- Offers free download
- Pro plan starts at $14.95
No one likes to see technical content in the form of a boring, endless document that makes it hard for your audience to resolve their problem. When you are showing technical documentation online, you have to keep away from the lengthy, robotic web pages. Whatfix helps you with that!
This technical writing tool allows you to create compelling guides and help articles, presented in the form of real-time interactive walkthrough elements.
Moreover, Whatfix automatically adapts the help guide based on the device you use. And the same help content can be accessed in other formats – as a video, slideshow, or PDF.
- Customizable user interface
- User tracking
- Multi-browser compatibility
- Multi-format support- videos, graphics, images, and text
- Get a quote
Nuclino is a good way to organize information within teams into workspaces. You can use Nuclino to create beautiful software documentation for your employees or your customers. Workspaces can be public or private. You can bring your content to life with text, images, videos, files, tasks, embeds, code blocks, and more. Write your content even faster with Markdown or use the WYSIWYG editor. You can collaborate in real-time so you can see the changes your team members are making as they type, which means there’s no risk of version conflicts. You can type @ inside an item to link to another page in the knowledge base and use workspaces and clusters to organize items. There’s a powerful search bar that you can type into to find relevant content. Work visually by organizing your team’s content into boards and graphs. Nuclino integrates with a large number of apps including Slack, Google Drive, Dropbox and more. Nuclino’s standard plan costs $5 per user per month.
- Straightforward organization that helps users find the content they’re looking for.
- Documents can be edited simultaneously, reducing the risk of version conflicts.
- Lack of formatting options for content.
- No ability to control access at the article level, only at the workspace level.
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.
- 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.
- Requires development skills to use and maintain. May not be accessible for all members of your team.
MarkdownPad is a well-known Markdown editor for Windows. MarkdownPad offers instant HTML previews so you can view your documentation as you write it. It’s simple and as easy to use as Microsoft Word and comes with a WYSIWYG editor so you don’t even need to know Markdown to use the software. You can take advantage of extensive customization options such as layouts, fonts and sizes. You can also include your own custom CSS style sheets. It comes with a CSS editor built into the platform so you can style your text to your heart’s content. MarkdownPad is free for the basic plan or $14.95 USD for MarkdownPad Pro.
- Free on the basic plan.
- Allows your team to write stunning documentation in Markdown.
- MarkdownPad doesn’t have cloud features so you won’t be able to share your docs.
- MarkdownPad is only available on Windows.
10. Read the Docs
Read the Docs comes with two versions – Read the Docs for open source and Read the Docs for Business. If you’re looking to invest in product documentation tools then we suggest you go with the latter. Read the Docs for Business simplifies the entire process of building and deploying developer documentation. With support for Sphinx and Mkdocs, you can integrate your code and user-facing documentation using the same tools. Create beautiful documentation easily with themes, and preview every commit with Pull Request previews. Read the Docs for Business starts at $50 USD per month.
- The ability to write your docs alongside your software using the same tools.
- Documentation can be public or private.
- Requires developer resources to use and maintain.
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.
There you have it peeps! A clear list of best technical writing in the market. The primary purpose of all these tools is to generate quality documentation and provide you with an awesome user interface to keep the process exciting and fun!
Before you start on with any of these technical writing tools, ensure that you analyze the features offered by them. This will help make a better decision when you have to make a purchase.
Documentation is one of the most important and fundamental pillars of every project. And in these days every project must have some documentation, so it’s extremely important to have it right. But what’s wrong when we have hundreds or even thousands of lines of code and don’t have a single line of documentation?
Whether your business is new or you are a well-established brand, you want to make sure that your customers know what to expect. A good way to do this is by writing down your processes and making them available to customers. This will give you a unique advantage against competitors who don’t have such a system in place. If you’ve already got an in-house documentation team, then congratulations; but if not, and the thought of having to complete hundreds of pages of documentation makes you break out in a cold sweat, then you’re still in luck, because there’s plenty of tools that can help with documentation