Importance of documentation for community driven projects like joomla
Joomla is one of the most widely used “content management systems”. Due to its open source nature, it has gained huge popularity. It has also developed a very customisable modular code structure. The contribution of open source communities behind the huge development of the joomla platform is very evident. So it is very important that a transparent documentation system is followed in such community projects. Without proper documentation it is very difficult for other developers to understand the code developed by any user and to reuse the code or make it more efficient.
Transparent open source code
Open source code is the backbone of community driven softwares. For developing such softwares people from various parts of the world work together. So, transparent communication through documentation process is very essential. Numerous developers work in parallel developing various parts of the software. Without proper documentation, it would be very difficult to work on parts of the program.
Without proper documentation it is almost impossible for people around the world to work simultaneously on a same project. Proper documentation in easy language is very important. This also saves a lot of time for the next developer. Communication is a very important aspect in such community driven softwares and so is the need for a proper documentation technique.
Code modification and reusability
Open source software stand on one basic principle – building efficient and reusable codes. Documentation plays a vital role in understanding codes developed previously. If a new person is interested to develop an on-going software project, then he has no other option but understand the software through its documentation. Now if the documentation is not correct then it becomes extremely difficult for the developer to understand the source code all by himself. This leads to inefficient use of even good source codes and limits their usability while simultaneously also hinders the process of application development and this should be taken care of.
Modular documentation is another step closer to systematic documentation. The idea is that the documentation of various smaller parts of the application is separately made available in modules. These modules are re-usable and can be compiled into larger documentation. The advantage is easier maintenance with increased indexing and search capabilities. The modules are so written that they make sense even when they are all by itself and not a part of the main documentation. This also enables us to easily export the documentation in various formats as PDF, XML, DocBook, CHM etc
Documentation is also widely used for online tutorials. Unless properly documented, the information shared will cause a lot of confusion among readers. Online tutorials are also an important part for softwares that are newly released. So proper documentation in online tutorial eases the process of learning a software environment and thus helps to gain popularity, which is also a key factor for success in case of community driven softwares.
Proper systematic documentation is a must in case of softwares like joomla. It is the reason behind its huge growing popularity and success.
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