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Five apps to take the pain out of documentation
If you’re a system or network administrator or a programmer,rnyou know one of the most tedious exercises you can undertake is documenting yourrnsystems, networks, or projects. But without proper documentation, you mayrnas well build it all and forget how you did it — because that information willrnslip from your memory. Or worse, you’ll be relieved of your duties and thosernwho step in to fill your shoes will be clueless as to what you did.
So what’s the best way to approach it? Do you just open uprna word processor and start typing random bits of information? Or do you use an applicationrndesigned to simplify the process? It makes sense to take advantage of arnspecialized app, but which one should you use? Here’s a list ofrnfive useful apps that can simplify your documentation chores. They’re eitherrnspecific to a task or general enough to aid in most situations.
Note: This gallery is also available as an article.
Yourrnfirst step will be to run the sphinx-quickstart, which will build the directoryrnstructure for your documentation. It will ask you numerous questions (in mostrncases, the default answers will work) and then instruct you to populate yourrnmaster file and create other documentation source files. After that, you runrnthe make builder command to build therndocuments.
Geany isn’t just a simple cross-platform text editor. It’s an easy-to-userngraphical text editor that can handle your documentation tasks in XML formatrn(think DocBook). Geany features syntax highlighting, code folding, symbol namernauto-completion, auto-closing of XML and HTML tags, and call tips, among otherrnthings. It also supports a large list of file types.
You can create projects within Geany and specify things likernfiletypes, encoding, and line endings on a per-project basis. Although Geany isrngeared more toward coding projects, it’s an outstanding tool to help yournconstruct your documentation. There is also a plug-in called GeanyGenDoc thatrnwill automatically generate documentation based on source code. To learn morernabout GeanyGenDoc, take a look at the online manual.
Calibre also lets you generate a handy table of contents forrneasier documentation navigation.