Announcing Read the Docs for Business

I helped create Read the Docs over four years ago. It started with a humble goal of replacing a cron job on my own server. Since then, it has grown more than I ever could have imagined. It has become vital infrastructure for the Python community, and the programming world in general.

Read the Docs has always been a volunteer effort for me. I have gotten small amounts from Gittip over the years, but it doesn’t compare to a developer’s salary It has been a labor of love because I really believe in improving documentation for developers [1].

Companies have the same issues with documentation that open source has. [2] Since Read the Docs is open source, it’s been possible to run it locally at your company. However, running Read the Docs is not trivial. There are a lot of moving pieces, and the code base is always gaining new features.

That’s why today, Read the Docs is adding a hosted solution aimed at companies. It will host your company’s private documentation, and only give people at your company access.

readthedocs.com

This site will live at https://readthedocs.com. The profits from the .com will help fund development on the .org.

We’ve also added some features that only make sense for companies. Since everyone is logged in, you can see who is reading each page. This lets you focus your writing on pages that get read.

https://readthedocs.com is launching today with a private beta. You can sign up for invites now, and we will start letting people in soon.

Why a .com and a .org

readthedocs.org will always be free and available for open source docs.

I love readthedocs.org, and I never want anything to happen to it. readthedocs.com is a separate entity that has been established to bring Read the Docs to business.

This has been a lot of work. Having both live on the same domain would be much easier, but I strongly believe readthedocs.org should never be part of “an incredible journey”. As part of that, we are bootstrapping, and do not plan on taking venture funding. [3]

The fate of readthedocs.org is not tied to the fate of the business.

readthedocs.com has been created to help fund work on the open source project. readthedocs.org should be a resource available to the programming community forever, and I am doing everything in my power to make sure that happens.

Creating a company will help make both the open source and corporate documentation worlds better. Read the Docs solves a real need in the software world, and I hope you join us in the next stage.

Our mission is to build world-class documentation tools for developers, and we would love to have you aboard.



[1]During this time, I’ve also co-founded documentation conferences in the US and Europe. We’re building community around people who care about this issue. The conference is also run as a non-profit endeavor, in our effort to build community.
[2]Actually, most companies have it way worse. Hell, most of them still store their docs in a wiki.
[3]We have taken $20,000 as part of being in PIE with the explicit understanding that we are not seeking further venture funding. They are amazing folks and I thank them sincerely. The business likely never would have happened without the office space and mentoring they provided.


Hey there. I'm Eric and I do consulting and provide other services around software documentation. Feel free to email me if you want to chat.