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Continuous Documentation

Continuous Documentation was pioneered by Swimm to meet the challenges of modern software development teams who have been struggling with little or mostly outdated documentation.

Continuous Documentation is a paradigm for creating, maintaining, and finding code-coupled documentation as part of the regular developer workflow.

Continuous Documentation enables dev teams to easily create documentation that is:

  • Code-coupled - Documentation that contains or directly refers to parts of the code itself, including code snippets, function names, values, etc.
  • Always up to date - Documentation that remains consistent with code as it evolves and changes. Your code and documentation can be automatically updated with Swimm’s patented Auto-sync feature.
  • Created when best - Documentation is best created just after a new feature is completed or updated, or when a bug has been fixed. You want everything that you want to include to be fresh in your mind.
  • Covers what’s important - Documentation should include the parts of the code that are most crucial for your team to understand. This is always a good starting point.
  • Consumed when needed - There’s no point in creating documentation if you can’t find those docs when you need them. When you consume documentation as you’re coding and find them easily in the IDE or git hosting platform, you’ll code better and faster.

Continuous Documentation helps developer teams in the following ways:

  1. Makes developers more productive. GitHub’s 2021 study with 12,000 developers shows a “50% productivity boost when documentation is up to date, reliable, and comes in different formats.”

  2. Helps you scale teams. With Continuous Documentation, you’ll see value from your new employees quickly. Swimm interviewed 80 engineers and engineering managers and over 50% of respondents shared that it takes more than 6 months for new employees to become fully independent and productive.

  3. Enables knowledge sharing and collaboration. Good information flow and knowledge sharing are essential to building trust within dev teams. Teams with high trust are two times more likely to have a healthy collaborative culture and three times more likely in open-source settings. Developer documentation facilitates the type of knowledge sharing that leads to strong team cultures and increased developer satisfaction.

  4. Helps you keep up with our changing workplace. Turnover is high and we need to solve the problem of knowledge walking out the door when developers leave a position. Moreover, we cannot expect to remember everything about our codebases and companies are commonly left with thousands of lines of code without documentation.