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A guide for how to write a guide
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README.adoc

README.adoc

Getting started with writing a Guide

With this guide you’ll learn how to create a guide.

What you’ll build

You’ll build a a guide in ASCIIdoc with the appropriate metadata, images, code imports, and a minimum of informational sections. You will build it and push it to a Github repository in the couchbase-guides organization:

https://github.com/couchbase-guides

In this demonstration, I’ll be using a JavaScript "hello world" page as a hypothetical guie.

What you’ll need

  • 15-30 minutes to complete this guide.

  • AsciidocFX

  • Images or some way to take screenshots.

How to complete this guide

This guide assumes you are able to use Git.

Build Setup

Create a new folder and initialize a git repository there. Copy the starter\README.adoc.template file from this repository to that folder. At this point, you may want to consider a .gitignore file, depending on the code/IDE that you’ll be using. In this example, I do not need one.

Copy the LICENSE files into the repo as well. LICENSE.code.text covers the code in guide. LICENSE.writing.txt covers the writing in the README.adoc file.

Open the README.adoc.template in AsciidocFX. You should see a basic skeleton of a document in AsciiDoc format, and a preview pane.

Code

In this section, you can start showing code examples and providing commentary. You may want to break up this section with some sub headings. Examples: === subheading or ==== further subheading.

Meta Data

Start your document with some meta data.

:imagesdir: images
:couchbase_version: current
:toc:
:project_id: gs-intro-to-js
:icons: font
:source-highlighter: prettify
:tags: javascript,ecmasscript,js

The :imagesdir: meta data indicates which folder you are going to put images in. Even if you don’t plan to use images right away, it’s still a good idea to add this in case you change your mind.

Since these guides are Couchbase focused, it’s good to indicate the Couchbase version with :couchbase_version:.

:toc: indicates that a Table of Contents should be generated using the headings.

:tags: should be useful information about the content of your guide.

There are three main sections that you’ll need: Build, Code, Run. You should also have a "What you’ll need" and "What you’ll build" sections before Build just to give an introduction. Use == to denote each section. For instance: == What you’ll need or == Code.

Embedding code

If you want to embed literal code, use the ` back tick. For instance, this is inside of single back ticks. To add multiple lines, use triple back ticks. For instance:

this
is
inside of
triple back ticks

Another way to embed code is to use ASCIIdoc to include it. Here’s an example of a file being included:

[source,javascript]
----
 include::starter_complete/helloworld.js[]
----

That will embed the entire text of helloworld.js in the document dynamically, like so:

link:starter_complete/starter_complete/helloworld.js[]

If you can do this, it’s preferable to embedding the source code. This way, as you make changes, the AsciiDoc will be updated automatically.

Adding images

Including screenshots is very helpful in creating guides, especially the "Run" portion.

The AsciiDoc syntax for images is:

image::tree.jpg[put alt text here Alt text]

Earlier, we defined :imagesdir: meta data to "images", so that will look for tree.png in the images subfolder. It will render like this:

put alt text here Alt text

Make sure to add links to at least developer.couchbase.com. The link syntax looks like:

link:/https://github.com/couchbaselabs/Linq2Couchbase[Linq2Couchbase]

Which renders like: Linq2Couchbase

Run

The "Run" area is a good place to show screenshots of the completed project in action.

We’re going to use this section to highlight some tips to use when writing guides:

  • Use second person. This means "you" and "we", not "I" or "he".

  • Put class names, filenames, command line examples, etc inside of single ticks, like so

  • Stick to the Setup-Build-Run format

  • Create a starter folder and a starter_complete folder. In starter, put an incomplete barebones project that the learner will use to copy/paste from the guide into. In starter_complete, put the completed product.

    • The learner will have something to fall back on in case they don’t something right or miss something subtle.

    • You will have completed code files to reference in your document.

Summary

In this section, you can say something like "Congratulations! You’ve just created X." It’s also a final opportunity to sum up and recommend other guides or links.

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