Google Season of Docs logo

This week, Google announced the 50 organizations taking part in this year’s Google Season of Docs (GSoD). I wrote a “Tech Writer’s Guide to Google’s Season of Docs” for TechWhirl’s Tech Writer Today magazine to invite writers (perhaps even you) to explore the program.

Perhaps you’ve heard of Google’s Season of Code program. Google started Season of Docs in 2019. Here, technical writers and open source organizations meet up and improve a variety of help docs. North American writers who successfully complete their selected project receive a $6000 stipend from Google. Writers in other countries get similar stipends based on their relative cost of living.

The article is something of a condensed version of the program’s own technical writer’s guide. I also offer some advice on how to select a project and complete the application.

GSoD is something I would have loved to get into when I was a baby tech writer. Sadly, Google barely existed when I got started. Today’s Google may not have “Don’t be evil” as a motto anymore, but this is a positive boost for a variety of open source projects. Of course, the ultimate beneficiaries are the users of the software, so it’s good for everyone! By the way, the WordPress doc team is involved, so you can help improve those documents.

Go read the article, go see the final reports from last year’s GSoD, and then start exploring your ideas for improving open source documentation. You have until July 9, 2020 to apply to the program.

Meanwhile, you can find more of my best work for TechWhirl in my portfolio.

Hey folks, my latest WPMUDev blog story posted over the weekend. It’s a summary and preview of HelpHub, the upcoming home for WordPress.org’s user documentation site.

WordPress logo blue
WordPress logo blue (Wikipedia)

I really enjoyed writing this, as it combines two of my primary interests, WordPress and technical communication. I also got to poke around both the Documentation team’s area on Make.WordPress, and its Slack channel. Yes, I somehow found that fun.

What is HelpHub?

HelpHub has been in the pipeline as a potential replacement for the WordPress Codex since 2015, and the project is (at last) nearing the finish line. The hope is that HelpHub is more like other knowledge bases, a bit more useful to the average WordPress user, and will be easier to search.

The HelpHub Staging site
The HelpHub Staging site

The team could always use some help, so if you have some technical writing skills (and I know you’re reading this!) and some volunteer time to share, click that Documentation Team link in the second paragraph.

I am looking forward to seeing this new documentation site go live in 2018, even if I’ll miss the Codex just a little bit.

Next up: ElasticSearch

In the next couple weeks, I’ll have a tutorial in WPMUDev on enabling ElasticSearch on WordPress. ElasticSearch is a faster, more effective search engine than the default WP search. I’m playing with it now.

Have a few choice words about the current state of WordPress documentation? What would you like to see in the new HelpHub? Anything I should know about ElasticSearch before I write this story? Feel free to drop a comment here. Try to keep it clean, though!

EasyDITA
EasyDITA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently got the chance to test out and review easyDITA‘s new WordPress publishing feature for TechWhirl. This web application lets technical communicators create web-based help using the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) and publish that content directly to a WordPress site. They’ve done a pretty nice job.

Read more at TechWhirl.