Google Season of Docs: Creating Wagtail Developer Onboarding Tutorials

We are excited to announce our participation in the 2023 Google Season of Docs program!

This year, after a successful experience working with technical writers as part of Outreachy, we’ve decided to take part in Google Season of Docs. We’re aiming to create more comprehensive onboarding tutorials for developers, and get better at how we engage with technical writers in our community.

What is Google Season of Docs

Google Season of Docs (or GSoD) is an annual program organized by Google to support open source projects improving their documentation, and to give professional technical writers an opportunity to gain experience in open source. The program pairs writers with organizations to collaborate on specific documentation projects. It fosters a culture of knowledge sharing and appreciation for the essential role of documentation in software development.

This year, Google selected 13 organisations to support.

Why we’re taking part

There are several reasons we decided to participate in GSoD this year:

  1. Improve our “getting started” documentation: We recognize that comprehensive, well-written documentation is crucial for the adoption and growth of any software project. Improving the “first thirty minutes of Wagtail” has been part of our vision for Wagtail in 2023 – focusing on the next few steps in developers’ onboarding feels natural.
  2. Learn from experienced technical writers: Collaboration with skilled technical writers brings fresh perspectives and insights that help us enhance our documentation processes and overall project communication. We got to see this happening for guide.wagtail.org during Outreachy, and are hoping to do the same for developer docs.
  3. Build relationships with the community: We hope GSoD will be a good opportunity to see how our new Developer Relations team operates. Building developer tutorials will be a good opportunity to reach out to our community for feedback.

Our project

Here is what we expect the project to consist of at this point:

  • Audit the existing Wagtail Get Started tutorial and create a friction log to ensure it is accessible and usable for newcomers.
  • Use the friction log to update our primary tutorial and ensure it provides a strong basis for additional learning in the onboarding tutorial series.
  • Review the Wagtail Bakery, an existing demo project used for teaching and testing, to determine which Wagtail features should be covered in the tutorials.
  • Use the audit results to create a series of written tutorials for our documentation that teach newcomers how to build their own deployable Wagtail website using the newest version of Wagtail.
  • Work with our community organisers to adapt the tutorials for open source beginners, which will support programs and workshops like Outreachy, GSoC, and Coders of Colour.
  • Incorporate feedback from tutorial testers and the wider community.
  • Work with the Wagtail core team to update our documentation and determine a process for maintaining the written tutorials going forward.
  • Collaborate with our Developer Relations team to identify the best opportunities to share the tutorial with our community at upcoming events.

Next steps

We’re accepting applications from technical writers until April 15th (reach out in the Wagtail Slack workspace in the #gsod channel if you would welcome more time). We then hope to select a writer to work with by May 1st, and plan the next 6 months of work with them.

For more information, read through our Google Season of Docs wiki page.