My KDE in 2019: Developer Documentation Update

Late 2019 year-end post, I know. It’s been a rather busy start to the new year even when I tried to hit the ground running. Unfortunately, some things like blog posts have taken a backseat. Hopefully not for long.

2019 was a wild year for me personally and I don’t mean that in the completely good sense. One of the highlights, though, was being hired to do contractual work for KDE as a technical writer and documentation specialist. TL;DR I went through KDE’s developer docs and queried a few devs on the state of the documentation and what needs to be done to make it easier for new developers to get started using our libraries/frameworks and contribute to KDE projects.

It was definitely an honor to formally work for the community. I have been a sporadic contributor (lately more just helping out on IRC) and getting the chance to work on more technical matters again and be involved on a deeper level was exciting. Plus, the accountability definitely helped in the motivation aspect. Sadly, due to personal circumstances, I wasn’t able to follow up on the matter after the contract formally ended. Fortunately, that period is over and I can get the ball rolling again.

It’s probably no secret to both seasoned developers and those just getting their feet wet that our developer documentation is largely outdated except for a few bright points in the Community Wiki (kudos to contributors who continually update that!). Some hail from the pre-Frameworks days and some have never even seen the light of KDE4 (remember, there is no such thing as “KDE5”). They’re also a bit scattered here and there, with incomplete or even missing information. Suffice it to say, there’s plenty of things to do and plenty of ways for KDE helpers to join the game.

Here are just some of the things that need to get addressed in the coming months:

  • API documentation, a.k.a. apidocs, need filling up with more information and especially examples.
  • New or updated documentation for “hot” areas like Kirigami and Plasma/Mobile need to be written.
  • The TechBase and Community Wikis need to be cleaned up and content migrated to their proper places
  • Tutorials need to be updated or written and placed in their proper location (wiki or apidocs)
  • An improved onboarding for new contributors as well as external developers need to be developed.

You can view the initial report I submitted in June as well as an update I wrote in December here.

2019 was spent for analysis and planning so, hopefully, 2020 will be spent putting all of these into action. Writing documentation is often seen as a boring task but, especially when it comes to developer documentation, it can be the perfect opportunity to become familiar with the software and libraries, the tools and processes, and, most importantly, with the people and the community that make KDE awesome

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