Documentation

Basic rules

Use standard American English

Ansible uses Standard American English. Watch for common words that are spelled differently in American English (color vs colour, organize vs organise, etc.).

Write for a global audience

Everything you say should be understandable by people of different backgrounds and cultures. Avoid idioms and regionalism and maintain a neutral tone that cannot be misinterpreted. Avoid attempts at humor.

Follow naming conventions

Always follow naming conventions and trademarks.

Use clear sentence structure

Clear sentence structure means:

  • Start with the important information first.
  • Avoid padding/adding extra words that make the sentence harder to understand.
  • Keep it short - Longer sentences are harder to understand.

Some examples of improving sentences:

Bad:
The unwise walking about upon the area near the cliff edge may result in a dangerous fall and therefore it is recommended that one remains a safe distance to maintain personal safety.
Better:
Danger! Stay away from the cliff.
Bad:
Furthermore, large volumes of water are also required for the process of extraction.
Better:
Extraction also requires large volumes of water.

Avoid verbosity

Write short, succinct sentences. Avoid terms like:

  • ”...as has been said before,”
  • ”..each and every,”
  • ”...point in time,”
  • ”...in order to,”

Highlight menu items and commands

When documenting menus or commands, it helps to bold what is important.

For menu procedures, bold the menu names, button names, etc to help the user find them on the GUI:

  1. On the File menu, click Open.
  2. Type a name in the User Name field.
  3. In the Open dialog box, click Save.
  4. On the toolbar, click the Open File icon.

For code or command snippets, use the RST code-block directive:

.. code-block:: bash

  ssh [email protected]
  show config