Tools for Creating Documentation

InterServer Web Hosting and VPS

A few of my friends have asked me which documentation tools they should be using. After speaking with them and researching online, I learned that there’s huge confusion out there in regards to the best documentation tools to use. People are frustrated with their options, and while they might have a tool they like, they are open to looking at other documentation tools. That’s why I decided to create this guide to help my own friend

Documentation is an important part of the development process. It may not create the actual software but it adds crucial value to the project by improving troubleshooting. It also helps developers understand what they build and how it works and users to understand their rights and obligations on using it. All this is why do you need correct documentation for your next project. The importance of documentation should be evident for any type of development project, no matter if it involves engineering, design or some other creative practice.s out — and also to share it for anyone else that might be interested in learning about the best documentation tools available

You are looking for documentation tools free, to create documentation and technical writing. You are not looking for creating a simple help for your product. You need something more stylish, with docx, ascii docs and rtf support. A place where you can write more than just the code snippets from your app and to show more than just the screenshots.

Documentation is not easy. That’s why you sometimes feel like you have to spend half a day writing a proper documentation. But thanks to tools designed to simplify the documentation creation, writing documentation has become an easier task. The documentation tools below will help you create your docs with ease, and help you make it easier for others to understand how your code works.

What is Software Documentation?

Software documentation is any written document that explains how a piece of software is built, operates, or used. For more complex software, it typically includes a section on general use as well as sections about each of the software’s various functions and features. Documentation comes in many forms, including user tutorials that demonstrate how to perform tasks, printed manuals or books with step-by-step instructions, or knowledge bases and FAQ pages on a company’s website.

Software documentation varies depending on the complexity of the software and the technical knowledge of the audience. For example, it can walk end-users through the basics of a piece of consumer software, assist IT and system administrators with software installation, and help software developers build or update programs.

Types of Software Documentation

There are many types of software documentation, from internal documents only accessible to software developers to user manuals for those who use a piece of software regularly. Two main types of software documentation are developer documentation and software documentation targeted toward the end-user.

Developer Software Documentation

Developers use a specific type of documentation created as part of, or in conjunction with, the software development process. These documents can include release notes that describe features and updates, README files in text documents that offer a brief explanation of the software, system documentation that describes requirements for installation, and API documentation explaining how to integrate and work with an API.

ALSO READ:   Best Software to Write Technical Documentation

End-User Software Documentation

End-user software documentation provides information about how to install, use, or configure a piece of software. This type of documentation helps people understand how to operate a product. End-user documentation can include user guides, tutorials, troubleshooting manuals, and knowledge bases.

There are areas where the lines blur between different types of software documentation, especially when it comes to technical documentation. An example of this is the minimum system requirements for installing a piece of software. Even though it’s considered a technical document, it falls under end-user documentation because it’s written for software users.

13 Best Software Documentation Tools in 2022

The software documentation tool you choose will depend on the type of documents you need to create. Here’s a list of twelve of the best software documentation tools for end-users and developers to help you make your choice:

BEST END-USER SOFTWARE DOCUMENTATION TOOLS

1. Whatfix

Whatfix is a Digital Adoption Platform that allows you to create step-by-step walkthroughs that act as real-time software documentation by guiding employees through your software. If you already have a knowledge base, you can display your documentation in a self-help widget.

Whatfix is redefining how software documentation is displayed and consumed, with new content embedded directly within your software applications in forms such as interactive guidance, contextual walkthroughs, self-help FAQs, popup notifications and beacons, and more. The platform also allows you to measure the usage and effectiveness of your documentation with user analytics.

Whatfix Self-help widget
bit-ai

2. Bit.ai

Bit.ai is a documentation collaboration platform that allows you to manage all of your documents in one place. It allows you to create notes, documents, and wikis, and you can manage your company’s documentation across teams or departments.

bit-ai-documentation-example
proprofs-logo

3. ProProfs

ProProfs knowledge base software is a knowledge management tool that lets you create searchable online FAQs and help docs. In addition, you can add videos, audio, images, and infographics to your documentation to make your software documentation more interactive and compelling.

proprofs-screenshot-example
dropbox-paper-logo

4. Dropbox Paper

Dropbox Paper is an online document workspace that lets you organize and display text, media, and files all in one place. It’s a web-based tool, so it’s accessible as long as you have an internet connection. If you’re already a Dropbox user, you can create and edit documents without leaving Dropbox.

dropbox-paper-screenshot
Tettra

5. Tettra

Tettra is a tool for internal company use. It’s a wiki and knowledge management system that lets teams create content other employees can read and comment on. This tool is specifically built to work with Slack and features integrations with several other tools, including GSuite, Microsoft Teams, GitHub, and Zapier.

tettra-screenshot
tallyfy-logo

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.

ALSO READ:   Best Software to Make Documentation
tallyfy-screenshot
scribe-logo

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.

scribe-documentation-screenshot

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.

github-software-documentation
apiary-logo

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.

apiary-editor-screenshot
readthedocs-logo

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.

readthedocs-screenshot
markdownpad-logo

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.

typora-logo

12. Typora

Typora is a simple document reader and writer that provides support for Markdown — a plain text format that’s easy to read and write. This software appeals to developers who want to remove distractions by hiding unwanted elements, like preview windows. It also has a live preview feature to allow you to focus on your content.

typora-screenshot
doxygen-logo

13. Doxygen

Doxygen is a top-rated tool for generating documentation from annotated C++ sources, and it supports other programming languages. It can generate online documentation and offline reference manuals from specific source files by extracting information directly from the source, creating continuity between your documentation and source code.

doxygen-screenshot

14. Confluence

  Confluence is one of the oldest software documentation tools on the market and has over 75,000 customers. One of the main strengths of Atlassian’s Confluence is its integration with other Atlassian products such as Jira and Bitbucket, so you can fit this software into your existing workflows.   Confluence is a remote-friendly workspace for knowledge and collaboration. You can build, collaborate and organize work using Confluence’s wiki-like system for sharing documentation. Confluence is best-suited for internal wikis but can be adapted to offer a public site.   Confluence comes equipped with best-practice templates so you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You can also integrate Confluence with other popular apps such as Trello, Slack and Microsoft Office. You can control user permissions so only certain people have access to particular content, making it easy to keep certain documents confidential.  

ALSO READ:   Best Documentation Platform
Pros
  • Integrations with Atlassian’s other products.
  • Has a web and mobile version so you can access Confluence on the move.
Cons
  • Confluence is more of a collaboration tool so you might find it difficult to use for extensive software documentation.
  • Lacks customization options to fit your business’s brand.

Choosing a technical documentation software Solution

In addition to reviewing a solution for its support for the different documentation types, pay attention to these selection criteria. 

  • Pricing plans: Technical documentation software solutions often come with per user per month billing plans that are capped at storage limits and page views. These quickly become a problem when you have a large support team and get a high volume of hits, these can add up fast.
  • Good access control: Your technical documentation is usually a mix of private and public pieces. So your technical documentation software should come with at least some level of access control.
  • Comfortable writing and editing experience: Of course, you need a good writing and editing experience that your technical writers and other team members enjoy.

What Are Software Documentation Tools?

Software documentation tools streamline the process of creating and managing documents by making writing or distributing documentation faster and easier.

Many documentation tools give you the ability to publish your documents once complete and distribute documents to internal teams or external users. Some documentation tools offer version control systems so your teams can track changes made over time.

So which technical documentation software solution is the best?

In addition to the technical documentation software options listed above, you can also use Google Sites to create and publish your technical documentation. 

Creating a Google website is free but having Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) access for your employees gives you easier access control (especially for your internal documentation that could use restricted access). Do keep in mind, though, that using Google Sites as a technical documentation solution needs you to invest in customization.

Conclusion

Good documentation is one of the most important thing in any software project. If a user doesn’t get the information they need, it is almost certain your software will fail. And, if we are talking about web apps written in JavaScript, Angular, or React… there is no gold standard for documentation tools and styles. Everything has to be built from scratch because no framework solves this problem out of the box. That’s why every developer knows how tedious it may be to write good documentation.

Writing documentation is a big job that often goes unnoticed. Tool specializes in helping create beautiful software and helpful online help, it makes sense to use them to write documentation as well. Tools for creating documentation. Documentation is one of the most vital parts of software creation. Its main task is to describe work process and programmed functionality, so that future developer could easily understand how everything works and that any changes won’t lead to wrong result or critical error.

Leave a Comment