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Write The Docs EU 2014

by igor on

Among the many things Write The Docs tried to address two key issues stand out

  • Documentation doesn't matter
  • I am alone

The first of these two is a non-issue to anyone who has worked in support: Being able to point people to genuinely good documentation have experienced first hang the invaluable effects of good documentation. If you had to support someone through a problem with no documentation at hand, or worse yet, bad documentation, you will know how damaging that can be...

As for the latter: You are not alone. There is a community. We feel your pain. To me Write The Docs felt like a huge success in this regard in that it answered both of those solidly.

Format & Location

One of the key contribution to this success was the one-track format. Together with the location it brought everyone together and put the speakers in focus and enabled us to have lively conversation.

Speakers & Talks

For a tech-heavy conference I was very happy to see a comparatively representative ratio of women attendees. I suppose this can in part be attributed to the amount of women speakers.

[![All write the docs attendees](https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7038/13619299234_831bfa0863_z_d.jpg "Write the docs attendees")](https://secure.flickr.com/photos/122201294@N05/sets/72157643390179734/)

All speakers were mind-blowingly smart. This is actually not just true for the speakers, but actually for everyone I''ve had conversations with. I guess it comes with the territory: If you speak, and sometimes write, in multiple languages, and worse yet, have to translate from Technobabble to Human, you have to be smart. I was quite astonished how few of the speakers had stage fright. I''ll will attribute this to the welcoming environment the conference created. In the Lightning Talks we even had a few folks who spoke for the very first time in front of an audience.

There was a big overlap with the Python community and as a consequence a lot of talks about Sphinx. I''m not sure what to take from this other than the fact that, at least on a technical level, sphinx is doing many things right.

Next time I''d like to...

... see more talks about tone and structure of prose. Perhaps even workshops on how to approach writing certain topics, different structures of text.

I''d also like to try and not ask a question after every talk... But I''m not sure how else to encourage other members of the audience to ask questions of their own.

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