The New VSTS Wiki – Perfect for development teams to keep documentation up to date.

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If you have logged on to your VSTS (Visual Studio Team Services) recently you may have noticed the new *Wiki hub in your Team Project.

vsts_wiki_hub.jpg

Microsoft has just launched the Wiki as a public preview and it is turned on for all team projects.  It is really easy to get started.  Microsoft has put a lot of effort into making the creation and management of the wiki as simple as possible. 

Here are a couple great links to getting started

A Wiki preview on VSTS

Announcing public preview of Wiki in Visual Studio Team Service

A Wiki is a website that allows any user to easily make or request changes directly on the pages.  One of the most popular Wikis is Wikipedia.   When is the last time you used an encyclopedia?  That is because Wikipedia has changed the way we do research and look up reference information.  Wikis are not just for research.  A Wiki is the perfect tool for development teams to keep their software documentation up to date.   Documentation is a key aspect to development but usually everyone’s least favorite part.  Even when development teams create documentation, often the documentation isn’t kept up with changes to the code.   Word docs, even hosted in SharePoint are often hard to find, manage quality, and keep updated.  A Wiki provides a very simple way to create documentation that is easily available for the entire team where anyone on the team can provide updates to keep it current.  Microsoft’s Wiki provides some nice WYSIWUG features but supports mark down formatting to make the documentation more rich.  The Wiki also supports some other nice features like pasting images directly into the editor without having to upload them first.

Have your team start creating documentation on their apps today.  Keep in mind the Wiki is scoped at the Team Project.  Therefore you should create a hierarchy that matches the hierarchy of the team project.

Keep in mind this is just the first public preview.  Based on Microsoft’s responses to comments on their posts, it sounds like they have a long list of enhancements for the Wiki.  I think this is great start.  I would really like to see the repo more available to do things like pull requests, forks, etc.  This would help manage the quality and control of documentation. Also, it will be nice if it will someday support APIs for generating and automatically uploading swagger like documentation from the code.

Enjoy!

Mike

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