FOSDEM is one of the largest gatherings of Free Software contributors in the world and happens each year in Brussels (Belgium) at the ULB Campus Solbosch. In 2019, it will be held on Saturday, February 2nd, and Sunday, February 3rd.
What is Tool the Docs?
Tool the Docs is a developer room to present and discuss the open source tools used to document software projects. It's an opportunity for project leads, documentarians, and other documentation enthusiasts from across open source projects to come together and talk about tooling that makes it easier to contribute to docs efforts. After a succesfull launch in 2018, Tool the Docs returns to FOSDEM in 2019!
How do you document your project? What tools do you use?
Traditionally the technical writer community has been primarily served by closed-source solutions, even if documentation standards were open, editorial tools were not. Recently a speed increase in the development cycles of software projects have put pressure on documentation teams. In response new practices have emerged that automate publishing and that bring documentation closer to developers (e.g. “Docs like Code” that manages docs in Git). As a result a new breed of technical writers has sprung up that scratch their own itch and build their own open source tools.
Besides this new trend leading to a lot of new open source projects, documentation is also still important for the rest of the open source world: great docs can make the difference between a self-service community that organically grows and a non-scalable community that relies on project maintainers to teach newcomers. Unfortunately open source projects often struggle with documentation: If a project doesn’t have the proper tooling in place, a complicated or technically challenging workflow can discourage contributions. This is especially so for less technical and/or new community members, who otherwise can be really important contributors.
A lot of open source projects are aware of this, and have built a toolchain to make it easier to write, test, and publish documentation in their community. In this dev room we want to invite documentation leads, tool builders and contributors to talk about their projects. We hope we can encourage collaboration between the documentation tool makers from different open source communities.