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Software quality and documetation, was: Core KDE member about HIG^W female contributors

On Tue, 17 May 2005 07:45:21 +0200, Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> wrote:
But writing and bug-finding /are/ subordinate though -- in the sense they only happen after the code's written...
When it comes to documentation: not quite. Documentation can be a means of quality insurance, and this power is far too seldom used, not only in Open Source development. The people who write the best code I know write documentation alongside or even before coding: The code has to follow documentation, otherwise it's a bug :), at least documentation and code are never allowed to get out of sync. Which means documentation _is_ development, not just something subordinate.

In a scenario like this documentation and usability are not just nice-to-have but an inherent part of development and equally important as writing code, and it finally leads you to better software, to software that is aware of its users and tasks and not just aware of how things are easiest, smartest to implement. But it requires a paradigm shift: Coders are no longer allowed to see documentation as a nasty add on, as something subordinate and documentation people don't simply have to follow the software they get but allowed and required to intervene. Software isn't released as long as the doc people don't give their go: Right, now code matches documentation, it does what it is supposed to do, now we can release.


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