Did I mention that I love working with startups and I love working with new tools? Well, let’s see how Gitbook holds up. Back in November, I started working with a small client. Their tool of choice (literally) was readme.io. Despite limitations, I was able to deliver a very nice “mature” looking help file as requested. Now, some months later, they’re back with a new interface and a new documentation tool. Gitbook.
Once again, I was handed the tool but this time, I have to admit, it was a much better experience. Gitbook has a nice clean appearance and many of the ease-of-use functionality of the power tools most tech writers are used to having. Easy insertion of graphics, hyperlinks, etc. Simple commands to create a table of contents and more.
On the bright side, I missed the conversion from readme to Gitbook. That was handled internally by the company can I can’t say that I’m sorry I missed it. The CEO of the tiny company send me a nice note asking me to check the import and handle an update to the newly designed UI. In his kind note, he assured me that they had fixed all “all internal links that got broken.” Definitely glad I missed that part.
Gitbook was fun. For a simple, single-user type interface. Meaning, there was no requirement to create conditional text. Which was good because I couldn’t see anyway to implement that functionality, if it had been a requirement.
If I had to choose between Gitbook and readme, hands down, I’d choose Gitbook. It has some major limitations. No real content reuse that I could find. No conditional text. But for a small company looking to build a really nice end product quickly, not to mention one that interacts seamlessly with GitHub, Gitbook has what it takes.
And, it’s always exciting, even when it ends in disappointment, to experience something new. Gitbook wasn’t a disappointment because the limitations for this small and very new company were quite limited. Flip side, the company is doing very well, rapidly advancing its product and growing. Who knows how soon they’ll need to head into yet another tool!