WriteTheDocs Prague 2019

Over the course of the last few days I was, once again, in Prague for WriteTheDocs Prague. Sadly, I had missed the event last year but this time I absolutely wanted to go again and blocked the time as early as possible in my calendar. It was well worth the effort!

Compared to the last time I went (in 2017), the audience has grown considerably. Gone are the days when the doors to the main conference hall could be closed, seperating the foyer from the seating area. Now, the seats reach into the foyer and so the food buffets had to be moved into the room that was previously reserved for hallway-track hacking and smaller gatherings.

Also new was a job fair on the second conference day with various companies looking for writers. Sadly, some of the sponsors opted to leave their table empty (I’m looking at you, Mozilla) but the others appeared to have been well-staffed and well-frequented by the audience!

Side events

All in all, the event seems to have become even better while I was gone, with even more stuff to do than what the conference and un-conference alone had to offer. I also, for the first time, managed to go on the boat-ride on the Vltava! And what a great event that was! While there was no official tour guide and attendees were asked to simply ask those who had already been on the tour before, I got so many beautiful pictures out of it, I’m still working through them.

Limnigraf na Výtoni

On Monday evening there was also once again the big conference party. This time it took place at eRko Gastro Pub, a really nice bar + restaurant near Náměstí Míru. The event was supposed to only include some light snacks but the staff there outdid themselves with delicious fingerfood (tartare, chicken fingers, pate, …) and vegetarian curry with rice! The food was so great that we regretted going for dinner before the event!

Tons and tons of amazing food served at eRko

eRko definitely made it onto our list of places we would have to come back to in the next years…

Talks

OK, enough about the “infrastructure” and on to the core of the event: the talks!

Once again the mix was excellent! If you’re looking for experience reports from API documentation over to docs-as-code to localization handling, you could find it here. The talks should be up on YouTube in the near future, so even if you missed the conference and the live-streams, you can still watch them via the WriteTheDocs channel.

Out of 15 talks, my personal highlights were (in no particular order) …

  • “Found in Translation: Lessons from a Year of Open Source Localization” by Zachary Sarah Corleissen which was all about the learnings of the CNCF and the Kubernetes project after having managed to organize localization offers for multiple language communities.
  • “The UK government meets docs as code” by Jen Lambourne was basically a choose-your-own-adventure-style story about how a part of the UK government worked on improving their documentation tooling over the years and what key-decisions they had to make (and sometimes make all over again).
  • “How to write the perfect error message” by James Scott collecting some dos and donts of error messages, and how important it is to treat them seriously and get them right.

Sadly, I didn’t manage to get downstairs for the unconference but I hope to find some write-ups about the sessions!

So, that’s that: Another WTD, another great event! I want to thank all the organizers and volunteers for some great days in Prague and am really looking forward to seeing all of you again next year. There is still some hope that I will even be able to make it to Portland next year

Do you want to give me feedback about this article? Please send it to comments@zerokspot.com.