The Alibaba Cloud open-source documentation is now here! To narrow the gap between technical documentation and users, Alibaba Cloud is proud to announce that on June 7, 2018, we will be releasing our documentation on GitHub! This ambitious move will see one of China’s top 3 tech giants open its doors to welcome the public into its family, bridging the gap between companies and the public.
What’s the Big Deal with Open Source Documentation?
Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.
- Howard Zinn
What is open-source documentation? In short, it is the concept of engaging the public to actively take part in documentation processes. But what do we hope to achieve by doing this? To better understand this, we should look at the significance of open-source projects in our everyday lives.
Software developers have always had a soft spot for open-source projects. The open-source community provided a platform where people from all walks of life could come together and brainstorm, share experiences, manage, and learn things about a product or code. Over the years, this melting pot of talents and ideas generated a myriad of open-source applications — ranging from simple codes to fully-functioning robots.
Documentation on the other hand, plays an important role in various industries. From a basic TV user manual to an operating handbook for an entire power plant, almost everything needs some form of documentation to assist users. A well-written documentation not only helps users understand a product, but also shows the amount of effort a company has put into its product. With the amount of technology in today’s world, documentation becomes an integral part in navigating the world around us.
Companies, by tradition are very conservative regarding the flow of information, be it to protect trade secrets, or to avoid problems with management. Publicly released documentation has always been strictly controlled, and often do not contain information beyond basic product operation and functions. More advanced product information was obscure to users, who could not get in touch with the developers, be it to provide suggestions, feedback or even ideas. The idea of creating community maintained documentation for a product was considered outright ridiculous!
The Value of Community
Alibaba Cloud’s new open-source documentation initiative hopes to bring your value into a world-class project:
- For the community, by the community — Harnessing the power of the community, Alibaba Cloud hopes to continually improve its documentation from all angles — development, testing, architecture, technology, user experience, etc. The end result is not only a complete and detailed documentation library, but one that was built by you.
- Encouraging community participation — Users can easily provide feedback, suggestions and even take part in the development process of new products and documentation. What’s more, we are inviting you to contribute knowledge and ideas, and share real product experiences with other users. Your idea could help another user solve a similar problem, or set in motion an idea to a new and exciting product.
- Setting new industry benchmarks — As one of the first few companies to join the open-source documentation movement, Alibaba Cloud aims to join hands with you in setting the bar for documentation within China, and hopefully, the world!
- Bringing content to life — Open-source documentation powered by the public becomes the core driving mechanism. By shortening the distance between our developers and the public, content creation comes to life!
Roadmap to Success
Alibaba Cloud open-source documentation is divided into 3 major milestones:
Community Interaction Models
Keeping the ever-evolving open-source landscape in mind, we will be providing two new interaction models for users to participate in the community:
- Posted tasks –Alibaba Cloud’s documentation platform will release a number of tasks online, which members of the community can actively choose and pick. This top-down approach gives the community a clear view of issues that they can contribute to. Once a task has been completed, users can submit their input to us, where it will be reviewed and published.
- User submissions — See something that you’d like to change? Noticed a typo? Submit your suggestions directly! This bottom-up approach invites everyone to actively make suggestions to the existing documentation. All submissions will be duly reviewed and published. You may even be rewarded for your contribution!
Celebrating Our Future Together
One small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.
- Neil Armstrong
The release of open-source documentation is a huge first step for Alibaba Cloud. We at Alibaba Cloud hope that through welcoming the public into our family will be able to foster an even closer bond with everyone, and bring about a new era of community! So join us in taking the first step towards a greater community, and a better tomorrow!