- Define the audience
- Define the purpose
- Define the assumptions
- Provide a way to contact the author
- Provide a way to ask additional questions
How is value defined in a business context?
For a solution to be valuable it must solve an actual problem.
If a need exist for the solution, then the solution must do one or many of the following:
- Reduce costs/time: reduce human resources needed to produce the same results
- Increase quality: Increase accuracy/repeatability of a process
- Solve a problem that could not be solved previously
- Have a significant impact on costs for improving an already solved problem
- Offer the ability to scale the process without having to scale the necessary human support linearly with the growth of the process
- Help with identifying the most important pieces of the business in order to follow the 80/20 principle
I have rated a lot of movies on Rotten Tomatoes and I'd like to export them to a text format. I also know PHP. How can I do that?
In 2013 I wrote Rotten Tomatoes ratings exporter for the purpose of exporting the movies I had rated into a format I could read and also store.
To automate the process of acquiring the ratings, I wrote a small class which needs information available in the site's cookies once you are logged in. With this information in hand, it is then possible to fetch the ratings from the website and store them in any desired format, given that the data returned to you is a plain PHP array.
I have movie ratings that I would like to import into IMDb. I also happen to know PHP. How can I do that?
In 2013 I wrote IMDb ratings importer for the purpose of importing ratings I had created in another system (Rotten Tomatoes). I wanted to import my ratings into IMDb so that I could use their statistics reporting tools, which let you see your distribution of ratings and the distribution of the release year of the movies you've seen. A friend of mine also had his bot send a message to our discussion channel whenever one of us would update their ratings after watching a movie.
The library is pretty straightforward. It expects you to provide it with a string that uniquely identifies your cookie on the server side. With an array of all the titles and ratings that you have, you can submit those ratings and the library's importer will take care of calling IMDb by finding the closest movie title and assigning it the desired rating.
What do you need to know to write good documentation?
You need to know who your audience is. You need to know what they should know so that you can make assumptions about their knowledge. You should also be able to tell what they won't know. It is mainly this lack of knowledge that you need to fill when you write your documentation.
Once you have established who your audience is, you should state it clearly. This way, readers will be able to determine if they identify or not with the target audience, which can help them better frame how to read the documentation.
The purpose of documentation should be clear. Is it to describe a specific use case, provide a getting started guide, answer specific questions regarding functionalities?
You need to state explicitly what you will cover and not cover in the documentation. Readers may start reading your document which contains assumptions about their knowledge, but if they do not have this knowledge, they should know where to acquire it.
It should be easy for readers to know where to reach the author of the documentation or people knowledgeable enough to guide them to the right people.