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Lessons Learned About Documentation

  Kendo UI Team      2012-02-15 05:53:28      1,233    0    0

Here at Kendo UI, we have always encouraged you to give us feedback.  Whether it’s through our forums, or the Kendo UI User Voice site, what you think is important to us.  We take your thoughts very seriously.  We receive a lot of feature requests, enhancement requests and other various pieces of product feedback.

One of the things that we heard loud and clear from our users was that our documentation could be better.  We took a good look at what we had, and we agree.  It can and should be better.

Nothing is more important to you as a developer than to have the information you need to build your application.  You shouldn’t have to guess at settings through trial and error and break into objects to try and examine their properties.  While some of this is par for the course for any sort of development, we wanted to eliminate as much of that as we could by providing you with great documentation.

We (and I mean myself included) have been working diligently on our documentation for the past several weeks.  We have examined each and every configuration settings, API call and method.  We build prototypes and like you, I have to refer back to the Kendo UI documentation frequently as I build an application.

We have updated all of our demos with enhancements in some very specific areas of the documentation. 

We are pleased to present you with Documentation 2.0

Dedicated Documentation Page

A little known fact about Kendo UI is that we do in fact have documentation in not one, but two places.  You will find documentation on all of the demos under the configuration, events, and api tabs.  Additionally, you can hit our dedicated documentation page directly.  This page will contain all of the same documentation that you will find with the demos, but also contains some walkthroughs to help you get moving in the right direction quickly.

Copy / Paste Development

It’s common when using a new tool to want to have some code that you can copy and paste from the examples into your own project to see it run.  It’s one thing to see it run on our site, but you need to know you can make it work in your project too.

We have added a veritable cornucopia of copy/paste code samples to all of our demos.  Where can you find this jump start goodness?  Just about everywhere.

A quick example.  Let’s take the Kendo UI Grid.  Have a look at the Configuration / columns docs:

You can take that block of code and paste it directly into your application.  As long as you have included the Kendo UI js/css files and jQuery, you will have a grid on your page.  Just like that.


Ok, lets have a look at the new mobile demos and docs.  Have you downloaded the mobile bits yet?  What are you waiting for?

The mobile tools come with some sick icons that can be referenced easily, but you have to know their name and conceptually what they look like.  No guess work, we laid it all for you.

That’s how it should be.  You have enough work to do without having to figure out what we already know.

You Have Options

Some widgets have enumerations of string values that you can pass in.  The DataSource is a prime example of this.  Take the powerful filtering options.  The filter object can get somewhat complex, so we disected exectly what it looks like when you send it to the server.  We also specified what your available filtering values are and gave you some more of that awesome copy/paste code.

More On The Way

We’ve improved so much and we’re not even close to stopping.  We are going to continually refine our documentation, adding more code samples and defining Kendo UI objects and methods as best we can.

We are additionally working on providing some example applications.  We have a small yet epic two part series on using Kendo UI with PHP.  We will follow that up some posts on Rails, MVC and Node.  Also, we plan to provide server wrappers for all of the necessary web frameworks out there so that you can write JavaScript, or not. The choice is yours!

There is so much more to come in our relentless pursuit of documentation perfection.  As always, please give us feedback either here or on the Kendo User Voice site.




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