Eric Holscher on Documentation and Read The Docs


December 20th, 2015

1 hr 5 mins 33 secs

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About this Episode

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The first place we all go for learning about new libraries is the documentation. Lack of effective documentation can limit the adoption of an otherwise excellent project. In this episode we spoke with Eric Holscher, co-creator of Read The Docs, about why documentation is important and how we can all work to make it better.

Brief Introduction

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  • We are recording today on November 30th, 2015 and your hosts as usual are Tobias Macey and Chris Patti
  • Today we are interviewing Eric Holscher about Documentation
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Interview with Eric Holscher

  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python? – Chris
  • You are one of the people behind the Read The Docs project. What was your inspiration for creating that platform and why is documentation so important in software? – Tobias
  • What makes Read The Docs different from other static sources for documentation? – Chris
  • The Python community seems to have a stronger focus on well-documented projects than some other languages. Do you have any theories as to why that is the case? – Tobias
  • Can you outline the landscape of projects that leverage the documentation capabilities that are built in to the Python language? – Tobias
  • Can you estimate the overall user base for Read The Docs? – Chris
  • Do you have any advice around methods or approaches that can help developers create and maintain effective documentation? – Tobias
  • Can you list some projects that you have found to provide the best documentation and what was remarkable about them? – Tobias
  • Newcomers to open source are often encouraged to submit improvements to a projects documentation as a way to get started and become involved with the community. Do you have any general advice on how to find and understand undocumented features? – Tobias
  • Do you have any statistics on the languages represented among the projects that host their documentation with you? – Tobias
  • What are some of the challenges you’ve faced and overcome in maintaining such a large repository of documentation from so many projects? – Chris
  • How can our listeners contribute to the project? – Chris


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The intro and outro music is from Requiem for a Fish The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA