Today, ReadMe turns one! On September 29th, 2014, we found ourselves launched on Product Hunt.
It’s been a busy year. We joined Y Combinator , raised money, got an office, and hired some awesome people.
More importantly, though, the product has matured. A year ago, we had the belief that documentation was in desperate need of new tools. Developers spend most of their time either reading or writing documentation, yet it was a painful experience for everyone involved. However, we didn’t know exactly what that would mean or look like.
Derek Silver has a story I really like:
A new green college campus was built, but one thing was still debated:
Where in the grass should we put the paved walkways?
Some felt the walkways should be around the edges, to leave the center green and untouched.
Some felt the walkways should cut diagonal, connecting all buildings to all buildings.
One professor had the winning idea: Don’t make any walkways this year. At the end of the year, look at where the grass is worn away, showing us where the students are walking. Then just pave those paths.
For the first year, ReadMe has been a blank canvas. We make your docs look nice, however it’s been mostly up to the user to decide what to write and where to put it. We spent the past year watching how thousands of companies used ReadMe to document their products, APIs, code libraries, internal on-boarding and more.
Now it’s time to start paving paths.
Don’t worry! ReadMe isn’t going to drastically change. However, we are going to start building out UI that enhances the most common use-cases we’ve been seeing.
Over the next few months, you’ll start to see sections emerge for the most common uses of ReadMe. We’re also going to make it easier to upload semantic data (such as a Swagger file) about your API, and have the heavy lifting (code snippets in various languages, try-it-now features, etc) done automatically.
The more we learn about your API and about the user, the more we can dynamically tailor the docs to each individual consumer. A seasoned developer using your API daily for months, for example, shouldn’t have the same experience as a junior developer using it for the first time.
Documentation is the UX/UI for your API or code library; it’s the way users interact with your product. We want it to be a magical experience for them.
We’re really excited about the next phase, and can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on