October 02, 2022
5 -10 min
By definition, technical documentation is the ideal form that we as software development professionals should use to share timely information related to the creation of software and its stages. In a practical sense, this documentation is an explicit record of all the events or processes involved throughout the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).
Therefore, in this article we have proposed to address this topic in order to help and encourage programmers to write better technical documentation for their future software developments, since it represents for both users and future programmers the correct way to use and maintain a technological product.
For developers, writing documentation is an uncomfortable job, but we are sure that it is more uncomfortable to have to read poorly documented code, or in the worst case, no documentation at all. Consequently, it is clear that when we write documentation for a product, we are doing it for the future developers who will interact with that product, not for us or for the team that was involved in its creation.
So, starting from the premise that all software products need technical documentation regardless of their complexity or the size of the team involved in their development, let's learn about their scope and the types of documentation that exist.
The objective of technical documentation is to inform about the details that, according to our role, we need to know to understand and interact with the product. This is created from the phases contemplated in the software development life cycle (SDLC) or the stages of software development, which are:
In this stage, according to the market research, the feasibility of the project, its associated risks, its costs and which functions and services will satisfy the target public are determined.
This phase is key to the requirements and needs of the users and how the technical details and specifications will deliver the value expected by these users. This process is executed in a clear framework in which responsibilities, deliverables and testing are anchored to a relevant schedule.
This stage is entirely dedicated to designers, architects and application developers who are tasked with studying implementation options to structure and build the ideal software. This phase is usually iterative because it is necessary to debug and refine the product plans before having a final design.
Starting from a correct choice of tools such as appropriate programming environments, suitable languages, solid logics and global formats, the code starts to be developed by modules which are tested and approved until the application is finished.
This is a phase of auditing and correction of a stable version of the application. In the field of development, it is said that a test is successful when errors are detected, so this is where the application will take its first steps and will be corrected iteratively before the end user can make full use of it.
At the end of the cycle, the IT department's responsibility is to register the application, monitor it, maintain it and ensure that its functionality remains impeccable to guarantee the best performance for all users. At this stage there should certainly also exist for the consideration of updates and upgrades.
Technical documentation is aimed at different audiences according to their relationship with the product taking into account whether they design, create, review, revise, correct or simply use the software. These are its types:
This document should record all the information about the functionality of the application, taking into account commercial aspects, user experiences, use cases, etc. In addition, the purpose, functionalities, behavior and maintenance of the final product must be made clear.
This document clarifies and describes the architectural decisions about the infrastructure of the application. It describes the construction of the product in order to visualize and communicate the possible scenarios.
For this document you must do a research or benchmark related to the expected application in order to create your prototypes, perform usability tests and adjustments.
It is clear that good code does not need documentation, but it is also clear that as programmers we have different styles and approaches to create solutions, and this diversity needs a common framework to understand each other clearly: code documentation.
This document should chronologically detail the work plan, the responsible parties, their deadlines and the expectations of the entire development. Process documentation will promote communication and transparency among members and departments involved.
The objective behind this documentation is to address, monitor and execute the developments and tests necessary to control and guarantee the quality of the technological product. These tests are usually very specific and each one corresponds to a certain objective within the operation or execution of the application.
This documented stage is dedicated to dynamically explaining how the product created can solve the problem the end user needs to overcome in the shortest and simplest way possible.
Here you need to detail essential aspects that determine the functionality and availability of the application. These typically cover product installation and product and peripheral updates so that the administrator can keep the application running and its users can use it smoothly.
In summary, under the engineering framework, technical documentation addresses all types of documented information related to the development cycles that all software products go through. Therefore, tracking and monitoring is a valuable tool not only for the creation of documentation but also for the improvement of the quality of the software produced. If you are looking for a flawless execution of the above, you need to have a great professional team, in our case, we have experienced professionals in the construction of both software and the documentation it requires in order to deliver to all our customers business tools of high value and business impact. Learn more here