Stack Overflowlaunched the public beta of its newest product, Stack Overflow Documentation, which is the company’s effort to help developers better document their software.
According to the 2016 Annual Developer Survey, poor documentation ranked as one of the biggest challenges developers face daily in building software.
Jay Hanlon, Stack Overflow’s vice president of community products, said Stack Overflow Documentation will complement and improve existing technical documentation. The new offering will enable developers to take static technical documentation and turn it into a set of evolving assets that developers can update continually and collaboratively with new use cases, implementations and integrations.
Stack Overflow said the documentation offering has been in private beta for some time and is meant to address specific developer needs to provide better documented software.
“Just like we did with Q&A, the goal of Documentation is to solve real-world developer problems,” Stack Overflow’s Hanlon said in a statement. “By harnessing the sum total of good programming knowledge in the world, we can create something more useful than any individual or team could on their own.”
The Stack Overflow Documentation offering will go beyond providing standard technical definitions, the company said. Stack Overflow will collect documentation samples for a broad variety of use cases to provide developers with proper information via relevant examples.
In addition, major technology and developer-focused companies—including Microsoft, PayPal, Twilio, Meteor, Xamarin, PubNub, Dropbox, and Twitch—are partnering with Stack Overflow to help promote the beta launch of the documentation solution and extend their own documentation resources, Stack Overflow said.
“I’ve always been inspired by the instinct developers have to share their hard-earned knowledge with their peers,” said Kevin Whinnery, developer education manager at Twilio, in a statement.
Stack Overflow Documentation will make it easier for developers to act on that instinct and contribute their knowledge back to the projects and communities they care about, beyond the core documentation, he said.
Indeed, as Stack Overflow is one of the largest, most trusted online communities for developers to learn and share their knowledge, it is a go-to site for developers seeking help and offering to share advice on software development. Now it can be a go-to site for documentation, as developers begin to feed more and more into the Stack Overflow knowledge base.
“In addition to providing a great resource for our developer community, Stack Overflow Documentation is going to help us refine our products by providing deeper insights into how devs are using our Data Stream Network,” said Wendy Schott, chief marketing officer at PubNub, in a statement.
Meanwhilethe Stack Overflow 2016 Developer Survey, released in March, was the most comprehensive developer survey to date, with more than 50,000 responses fielded from across 173 countries, Stack Overflow said. The results of the survey provided insight on developer hiring and technology trends, among other issues.
Now, with the release of the survey’s raw data earlier this month, developers, employers and data scientists are able to glean even greater insights from further analyzing the information.
“You can analyze this year’s and previous years’ results yourself by downloading the raw data from our brand new research portal,” said Kaitlin Pike, developer marketing manager at Stack Overflow, in a blog post.
Pike noted that although Stack Overflow believes it knows software developers better than anyone else, the company is curious to see what others will come up with in their analysis of the Stack Overflow data.
Stack Overflow’s launch of its new research site means users can compare what developers have said about the state of the programming world and workforce since 2011, Pike said.