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What's up docs? An investigation into SilverStripe documentation

Let's face it, a common gripe in open-source is documentation.

Posted in Developers

Tagged documentation, community

Comments 4

Cam Findlay

by Cam Findlay and Cam Findlay

Posted 25 June 2014

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Let's face it, a common gripe in open-source is documentation. SilverStripe is no exception here, though we would like to do something about it. While we have had some semblance of developer documentation up at for some time, it often takes a back seat in favour of more technical and code related contributions from the community. In fact, we have raised the issue in the past and made some significant improvements, however it's time for more. The key thing to remember here is that that documentation has been and will continue to be a collaborative effort built up by contributions from the community (so a big thanks to all those that have contributed thus far!).

Part of my role as Community Awesomeness Manager here at SilverStripe, is to work within the community to both ensure knowledge flows and that you have the tools you need to build awesome projects using the SilverStripe Framework and CMS. Documentation is something we not only need to correct in the short term, but to ensure as we move forward that documentation has a good process to ensure continued contribution to it by the community in a structured and meaningful way.

Since I engage with community members in many spaces, I get many perspectives and opinions. Common is the "docs sux!" message. However, without any context this is more an outlet of frustration for that user, rather than constructive feedback I can drive action from and work inside SilverStripe to get some traction on fixing things. So I am starting a conversation and aiming to facilitate some discussion leading towards developing a clear idea of what we should do next to start improving SilverStripe's open-source documentation.

So far I have guided great feedback from our IRC channel and our core developer list (a Google group that talks more about the high level work going on around our CMS and Framework). Now I would like to widen the conversation out to the whole community. Whether you are a newcomer to SilverStripe or have been using it for a while and still use the documentation as a reference it would be great to get your opinions of where the key issues lay and how you think we might improve.

My role in this is to gather all the information and build out a plan to get documentation into shape and create a robust process to ensure SilverStripe documentation becomes a high quality and useful learning and knowledge resource well into the future. I'd like to do so in the spirit of open-source, that is, transparent, open to input from the community and sharing knowledge as we create something valuable.

Let's reimagine what SilverStripe documentation can be and contribute to make it useful for SilverStripers now and in the future. Either leave me a comment here, email me at or contribute to the ongoing conversation over on the core developer list.

Looking forward to your feedback. 


About the author
Cam Findlay

Cam is our Developer Advocate, joining the team after impressing them with his insightful keynotes about community development at the SilverStripe meetups.