JetBrains has released in early access a Writerside tool to help developers and technical writers create technical documentation. It is based on JetBrains’ own internal tool for creating documentation for its software products.
According to JetBrains, Writerside allows developers and technical writers to collaboratively create product documentation, describe APIs, create tutorials, developer guides and instructions directly in their favorite JetBrains IDE or with a separate tool built on the same platform.
The tool has been in use at JetBrains for more than 10 years, and according to the team, JetBrains products, from the Kotlin programming language to the IntelliJ Platform SDK, use Writerside to create their documentation.
Anna Gasparyan, Writerside lead at JetBrains, said: “When technical writers use the same tools as developers, such as Git, automated validation and build pipelines, it not only ensures the quality of the final product, but also makes it easier for the whole team to work on documents, review them and track changes.”
Writerside supports both Markdown and native XML-based semantic markup, as well as sharing them. Users can enter semantic attributes or entire semantic elements, as well as on-the-fly conversion of Markdown snippets sent by other contributors into XML.
The tool automatically checks for broken links, missing resources, incorrect attribute values, and non-unique identifiers. There is on-the-fly code highlighting and validation with built-in inspections. You can also automate checking for compliance with your own spelling and style conventions.
Once a document is created there is a live preview option, Writerside shows what the document will look like with error highlighting. According to JetBrains, this directly solves the problems of limited access to CI/CD or lengthy builds for small updates.
Writerside utilizes an artificial intelligence-based spell checker and grammar error correction tool created by JetBrains that supports more than 25 languages, including English, German, Spanish and Chinese.
Writerside is available as a plug-in for JetBrains IDE and as a standalone application.
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