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What do you use for Documentation?

5 years ago from , Designer

I'm curious as to what platforms and tools (if any) you folks use for documentation / knowledge base sites?

I'm diving into a project to build a nice documentation website, and torn between services that have an API (Zendesk, Groove HQ) and going the DIY route so that I can fully customise the design and front-end experience.

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Services like Zendesk and Groove offer a suite of services, but I'm really only looking at the knowledge base. They offer custom options to style their theme, but it's still somewhat limited.

Mostly these appeal because I can use their API to fetch and show the docs content neatly from within our app:

https://hostr.co/file/d2dh9RATzk2Z/elevio.gif

^ example using [elev.io's](elev.io) widget to open 3rd party docs

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Tools like [Raneto](raneto.com) are great - open source, markdown based, fully customisable. It's more work to build it the way you want, but you can customise everything going the DIY route.

4 comments

  • Harpal SinghHarpal Singh, 5 years ago

    Ronan, it depends on how the documentation is meant to be used and at what stages of the project cycle. I frequently use Confluence that plays nicely with tools used by developers.

    There have been cases where I created the first draft of documentation in Google docs, and once the content started to take shape moved the documentation to a more appropriate tool.

    I would say 'Start with the content, not the tool'.

    0 points
  • Drew AlbinsonDrew Albinson, 5 years ago

    I have always wanted to use Read the Docs but have yet to try it. https://readthedocs.org/

    0 points
  • Silvio Bompan, 5 years ago

    How about ReadMe.io? Never used it, but looks very interesting

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    • Ronan Flynn-Curran, 5 years ago

      Nice looking service, especially for documenting APIs.

      Design-wise, you can tweak their themes which is nice, but it seems limited to still using their template structure. No API to use your docs elsewhere.

      0 points