Documentation is one of the most important parts of a software project. However, a lot of projects have little or no documentation to help their (potential) users use the software. A few years ago we started Read the Docs to help make hosting documentation easier. Part of the reason was that if hosting documentation was a solved problem, it would make people more likely to write docs.
However, there is still a large hole in the documentation world around writing documentation. There are some resources about it, but they are scattered around the internet in random places. Write the Docs is trying to solve this problem by getting all of the people that care about documentation in a room, to improve the art and science of documentation.
Write the Docs is two things. The first and more immediately interesting is that it is a two day conference in Portland, Oregon. Held on April 8-9, it will bring the community that exists around documentation together. Through this event we will spread a lot of knowledge about how, why, and when to write documentation.
The second part of the project is a resource for people who are writing documentation. It will solve the problems of someone who has the question: I want to write docs, but what do I write?!. It will be a home of best practices around documentation, and a lot more. We hope it will serve as a growing resource of all things documentation. We want to build the canonical source for people who have questions about documentation, and to further the art of documentation in all forms.
Write the Docs will also be a community that you can become involed in. We are announcing a mailing list that will serve as a place to ask questions, and bring together all those who write the docs. In addition, the Write the Docs Sphinx repository is open source, and accepting contributions to the information there.
All of the above is a work in progress. I hope you join me in supporting and contributing these projects. I believe that they will advance the state of the software community in many ways. The vision for the project lays out some of the things that we want to accomplish.
Remember: Docs or it didn’t happen :)