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InfoQ Homepage News Stack Overflow Launches Documentation Beta

Stack Overflow Launches Documentation Beta

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Stack Overflow has launched a new website called Documentation, enabling developers to create documentation on various software development topics for developers.

Unlike the Stack Overflow Q&A website which attempts to answer specific questions, the new website intends to provide reference and instructional documentation on many programming technologies. It is like a manual on the web written by developers.

The documentation is organized around the existing list of almost 50,000 tags from the Q&A website. Being in its beginning, only several hundreds of tags have the documentation started at this point. For each tag the documentation is organized in topics which contain examples explaining the topic, followed by Syntax, Parameters and Remarks sections. For example, at this point, the Java Language tag has the largest number of topics (90, and counting), including Arrays, Streams, Strings, Generics, Lambda Expressions, and others. The Arrays topic includes 15 examples showing how to create, sort, iterate, compare, convert or perform other operations with arrays. Each example usually contains some text and code snippets demonstrating the use of the respective technology feature. The Syntax section contains concise syntax reference documentation while the Parameters one may include information about the parameters of a constructor or a method. The Remarks section is optional.

Documentation is open to all who want to contribute or provide feedback. A voting system is in place which will make some examples more popular than others. The existing Q&A badge and reputation are extended to Documentation, accumulating points from both websites.

Developers from several technology companies participate to make Documentation better, including ones from Microsoft, Xamarin, PayPal, Meteor, Dropbox, and others. It is expected that many other companies to contribute in the future in order to bring the manuals for their respective technologies on Stack Overflow.

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