This week, the second week after I left my full-time job, I’m going to devote some good, focused time to hacking on documentation.js. This is the ‘kickoff post’, so here’s some context for why, what, and how.
I started documentation.js because I needed a great tool for generating documentation for Mapbox GL JS, Simple Statistics, and Turf. documentation.js is inspired by, and uses the comment syntax from, JSDoc, a really great project by Michael Matthews, currently maintained by Jeff Williams at Google. JSDoc was, and is great, but there were some things I wanted to improve on:
Here’s what I’m planning on working on this week:
More thoughts. The irony that spending my free time on a project that will benefit some companies is not lost on me. In the larger context too, some of the top developers of the most vital software out there have few ties to any BigCorp. It’s kind of a curse of generality - companies that ‘leverage’ open source to ‘focus’ on delivering sandwiches or an internet of things API for your chair tend to avoid investing in open source projects, much less maintaining them. Documentation.js is kind of “that thing everyone needs and nobody wants to build themselves but they’ll use it once you’re done” - not specific enough to any startup that they would justify the time it takes to build it, but as a shared resource for many startups, far more valuable than the hours would cost.
There might be ways past that, which I’ll leave as an exercise for the reader. For my personal motivation and context the feeling of a real need and a real opportunity to create something great is enough: it will be privilege to learn and build it. It’ll be a lot of fun.
I’m feeling really focused and optimistic right now: along with my Mapbox repositories, I’m also unsubscribed from all of Turf, osmlab, and openstreetmap organizations, so my notifications are sparser than ever. Plus, using unfollow-everyone, and app I created on Glitch, I unfollowed nearly everyone, and it feels good. I’m really proud of the work I’ve done on other projects, but other maintainers will take the reins and I’ll happily move a bit further from burnout and closer to focus.
I’ll keep posting back with notes and journal-style updates, as well as hopefully finishing up a few queued-up old blog posts and getting those live.