Document the code
Well documented source code helps people to understand what the source code does and how to use it. Documentation is essential for people to start using the codebase and contributing to it more quickly.
- All of the functionality of the codebase, policy as well as source code, MUST be described in language clearly understandable for those that understand the purpose of the codebase.
- The documentation of the codebase MUST contain a description of how to install and run the software.
- The documentation of the codebase MUST contain examples demonstrating the key functionality.
- The documentation of the codebase SHOULD contain a high level description that is clearly understandable for a wide audience of stakeholders, like the general public and journalists.
- The documentation of the codebase SHOULD contain a section describing how to install and run a standalone version of the source code, including, if necessary, a test dataset.
- The documentation of the codebase SHOULD contain examples for all functionality.
- The documentation SHOULD describe the key components or modules of the codebase and their relationships, for example as a high level architectural diagram.
- There SHOULD be continuous integration tests for the quality of the documentation.
- Including examples that make users want to immediately start using the codebase in the documentation of the codebase is OPTIONAL.
How to test
- Confirm that other stakeholders, professionals from other public organizations and the general public find the documentation clear and understandable.
- Confirm that the documentation describes how to install and run the source code.
- Confirm that the documentation includes examples of the key functionality.
- Check with members of the general public and journalists if they can understand the high level description.
- Check that the instructions for how to install and run a standalone version of the source code result in a running system.
- Check that all functionality documented contains an example.
- Check that the documentation includes a high level architectural diagram or similar.
- Check that the documentation quality is part of integration testing, for example documentation is generated correctly, and links and images are tested.
Public policy makers: what you need to do
- Check in regularly to understand how the non-policy code in the codebase has changed.
- Give feedback on how to make non-policy documentation more clear.
Managers: what you need to do
- Try to use the codebase, so your feedback can improve how clearly the policy and source code are documented. For example, is the current documentation sufficient to persuade a manager at another public organization to use this codebase?
- Make sure you understand both the policy and source code as well as the documentation.
Developers and designers: what you need to do
- Check in regularly to understand how the non-source code in the codebase has changed.
- Give feedback on how to make non-source documentation more clear.
- Documentation guide by Write the Docs.