Documentation is a crucial aspect of software development that involves creating, organizing, and managing detailed technical information for code applications and tools. However, software documentation is not limited to traditional coding environments; no code/low code platforms require comprehensive documentation.
What is Documentation?
Documentation is a collection of written materials that describe, explain, and guide users on effectively using, maintaining, and understanding a software application or codebase. It allows users to manage and utilize their no-code applications effectively with information about their functionalities and capabilities.
No-code documentation is a reference for the same written processes but for maintaining your no-code platform and implementing updates or modifications. With well-structured and detailed documentation, organizations can reduce downtime, minimize the risk of errors, and ensure that their no-code solutions remain efficient and sustainable over time.
Whether working with code-based platforms or low-code/no-code (LCNC), proper technical writing practices enhance productivity while reducing errors throughout your application development's lifecycle. Consider using your team's technical writers for a more straightforward implementation.
When will I use No-Code Documentation?
No-code documentation may seem paradoxical as LCNC tools make facilitating a web or mobile app easier. Still, it remains a critical part of the recovery process. Technical documentation relieves mistakes and helps your team avoid confusion when creating more complex applications or catering to a broader market. However, unlike code documentation, you don't need developer-level expertise to do it efficiently.
Though documenting no-code work can be daunting without a standardized format or centralized repository for tracking customizations across multiple platforms, you may opt for minimum viable documentation to make iterations easier. This approach focuses on providing essential information without getting bogged down in extensive details, saving users time while offering a basic understanding of the mobile or web app.
How do I implement Minimum Viable Documentation (MVD)?
Minimum viable documentation, not to be confused with a minimum viable product, typically includes several critical components to achieve this efficiency level.
MVD requires a clear and concise description of the LCNC platform's purpose and gives users context on what they can expect. It also outlines core workflows, and functionalities, ensuring that key features are adequately covered while guiding how to navigate them effectively. And if your no-code solution relies on multiple integrations and dependencies across various platforms or devices -you’ll need an overview of such connections within your MVD.
Lastly, your MVD should list all defining roles in your no-code tool, and their responsibilities, so that accountability amongst all team members can be ensured in case of errors or misuse. The typical way of assigning accountability in your MVD will come through ownership of and criticaticality of these elements.
Owner of Elements
Assigning roles and responsibilities to the application's users helps clarify each team member's function within the no-code application, ensuring tasks are efficiently distributed and executed. With well-defined roles, users can focus on their specific areas of expertise and avoid confusion or redundancy. Examples of functions that can be assigned within a no-code application project include:
- Project Manager: This role will oversee the entire project, ensures that tasks are completed on time, and coordinates communication among team members.
- Workflow Architect: This role will design, implement, and automate workflow within the no-code application, ensuring that processes remain devoid of repetitive tasks
- Documentation Specialist: The documentation specialist will be responsible for document management or creating, maintaining, and updating the no-code application's documentation, ensuring it remains accurate and accessible for all team members.
Establishing a clear division of duties facilitates teamwork and ensures the project's success. [For more information, read our blog on Roles in a No-Code Operation]
Criticality of Elements
Specifying critical elements in a no-code application project involves identifying the key components and dependencies essential for the application's successful operation and performance. Recognizing these elements helps team members prioritize their efforts and focus on maintaining the most important aspects of the application. Here are some examples of critical factors:
- Core workflows: The primary processes and actions that drive the application's functionality. These workflows should be regularly reviewed and optimized to ensure smooth operation and prevent bottlenecks.
- User authentication and access control: The mechanisms govern who can access the application and their permissions. Maintaining robust authentication and access control is essential for protecting sensitive data and preventing unauthorized access.
- Performance metrics and KPIs: The indicators that measure the application's effectiveness and success. Identifying and tracking these metrics helps ensure the application meets its intended goals and allows for data-driven decision-making.
Specifying these critical elements ensures your no-code infrastructure’s stability and functionality over time. [For more information, read our blog on Assigning Criticality of Elements]
How to structure your Minimum Viable Documentation:
Developing comprehensive MVD is a significant undertaking that requires a thoughtful and thorough approach. When creating minimum viable documentation, several critical components ensure its effectiveness.
A well-crafted ReadMe
A ReadMe in no-code documentation can take many forms, depending on the application and its intended audience. However, there are some common elements that most ReadMe documents should include. These include:
- Introduction: That provides a brief overview of what the application does and why it's useful.
- Features: List the main features of the application and provide a brief description of each one.
- Usage: Provide examples of how the application can be used in real-world scenarios, including tips or tricks for getting the most out of it.
- Support: Include information on how users can get help or support if they encounter issues using the application.
A ReadMe makes it easier for users to start your application and ensure future iterations maintain clarity and usability. In terms of formatting, a ReadMe can be presented as a simple text document, or it can be more visually appealing with images, logos, or other graphical elements. Remember to keep your ReadMe concise and easy for your end user to read, avoiding overly technical language or jargon.
A List of Dependencies and Application Dependency Mapping
Application Dependency Mapping (ADM) identifies and documents the dependencies between different components of a no-code application. ADM aims to create a clear picture of how other application elements are connected and how they interact. This information is essential for maintaining and troubleshooting the application and planning future updates or modifications.
When creating an ADM, it's important to document all the dependencies between the various components of the application. This includes dependencies between data sources, integrations with third-party services, workflows, and other elements critical to the application's functionality. It would help if you also documented any dependencies between different versions of the application and any dependencies between parts.
You can make your ADM a more visual interface through flowcharts or dependency diagrams. These visual aids will be a powerful internal tool to help your team, and stakeholders understand the relationships between different application components, making anticipating the potential impacts of changes or updates easier.
Version History or Change log (Versioning)
A version history or changelog in no-code documentation typically consists of a table or list of all the versions or updates made to the application over time. Each entry should include a version number or name, a brief description of the changes made, the date of the update, and the person or team responsible for the changes.
For example, a version history or changelog might include entries like "Version 1.0 - Initial Release" describing the basic features included in the first release. Subsequent entries might consist of things like "Version 1.1 - Bug Fixes" with a list of the specific issues that were addressed and how they were resolved or "Version 1.2 - New Features" with a description of the new functionality that was added to the application.
With versioning, you'll give users a clear understanding of how the application has evolved and how it's being maintained. This is especially important for larger, more complex applications with many different versions or updates.
This all sounds… difficult. Can No-Code Documentation be Automated?
No-code documentation might initially seem daunting, but the good news is that it can be automated. Automation can significantly streamline the documentation process, reducing manual work and ensuring your documentation is up-to-date and organized. Using specialized tools and templates, you can automatically capture essential information for low code platforms, generate and update documentation based on changes, [and create visual representations of your workflows and dependencies]. This saves time and helps maintain documentation accuracy, allowing users to focus on building and enhancing their no-code applications.
Our Free Notion Template
To help you get started with no-code documentation, we've created a free Notion No-Code Documentation Template. This template provides a structured and customizable framework, allowing you to add and organize essential information about your no-code application easily.
No-code documentation Guide for Bubble.io:
Creating comprehensive no-code documentation for Bubble.io applications ensures smooth development and effective collaboration among team members. Start by outlining the application's purpose, core functionalities, and user interface components. Detail the workflows, data types, and API integrations, covering any dependencies between elements.
Be sure to include information on roles and responsibilities, version history, and a ReadMe to help users get started quickly. Read our No-code documentation Guide for Bubble.
No-code documentation Guide for Make:
When documenting Make no-code applications, providing a clear and structured overview of the application's purpose, features, and components is essential. Begin by describing the app's core functionalities and user interface layout, explaining how different elements work together to deliver the desired user experience. Document the key integrations, data sources, and external services connected to your Make application. Be sure to include information on user roles and responsibilities and any access controls in place. Also, maintain a version history or change log to track updates and changes made to the application over time. [Read our No-code documentation Guide for Make]
Use ncScale to Automate your no-code Documentation:
You can use ncScale to automate no-code documentation and categorize your no-code elements based on criticality, function, or other criteria, to promote seamless project execution. With ncScale's Readme and repository features, all documentation is consolidated in a single location, enhancing accessibility and comprehension. And our automated dependency monitoring system accurately identifies dependencies, enabling you to assess the impact of individual elements on your infrastructure before implementing modifications, all with a simple click of a button.