Creating and evolving developer documentation

TitleCreating and evolving developer documentation
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsDagenais, B, Robillard, MP
Refereed DesignationRefereed
Tertiary AuthorsRoman, G-C, van der Hoek, A
Secondary TitleProceedings of the eighteenth ACM SIGSOFT international symposium
PublisherACM Press
Place PublishedSanta Fe, New Mexico, USANew York, New York, USA
ISBN Number9781605587912

Developer documentation helps developers learn frameworks and libraries. To better understand how documentation in open source projects is created and maintained, we performed a qualitative study in which we interviewed core contributors who wrote developer documentation and developers who read documentation. In addition, we studied the evolution of 19 documents by analyzing more than 1500 document revisions. We identified the decisions that contributors make, the factors influencing these decisions and the consequences for the project. Among many findings, we observed how working on the documentation could improve the code quality and how constant interaction with the projects' community positively impacted the documentation.

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