jueves, diciembre 19, 2013

Documentation is a Living System with Asciidoctor

In Agile methodology is very important to iterate over and over again walking small steps so all team (which I also include the customers), can receive quick feedback of how the project is going on. 

Aligned with this requirement, is where Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery has sense. Every new commit, implies among a lot of other stages compile, execute unit/integration tests, execute code quality or execute acceptance tests. All these kind of tests generate some kind of documentation (usually an HTML file) as a report. To improve the visibility of the project to all team members, it is a good practice to publish these reports to a webserver so all members can access to it and inspect the result of that compilation and the progress of the project.

But with the advent of lightweight markup languages like Markdown or AsciiDoc, the documentation of the projects is (or should be) treated as source code too, so it should be delivered as any other part of the system like for example test reports, so that every member of the team should see exactly the progress of the documentation at the time of packaging. 

In this post we are going to see how to acquire this we are going to use Asciidoctor-Maven-Plugin and Maven-Assembly-Plugin, to create a war file containing your documentation which at the end could be uploaded to a server using for example Cargo-Maven-Plugin or in your Jenkins pipeline.

The first thing to do is create a project with source code, test code and of course documentation. 

Because it is a good idea to treat documentation as code (it would require another post to talk about it), we can put documentation inside src/main/resources, and create a document for each module inside the package of the module. So for example if in src/main/java/com/mycompany/users we have all code developed about user management, you will put documentation about user management in src/main/resources/com/mycompany/users, or if you prefer src/main/docs/com/mycompany/users, but as you can see the documentation should be very close to developer, in fact in same project workspace. 

You can see a full example in https://github.com/lordofthejars/foobank.

And now it is time to render documentation each time the build is done and package it into a war file.

To render the documentation we are going to use Asciidoctor-Maven-Plugin and Assembly-Maven-Plugin.

Let's see how to configure Asciidoctor-Maven-Plugin:

The plugin renders all AsciiDoc files that are at src/main/resources folder and its subfolders. They are rendered in HMTL format, and by default are rendered at target/generated-docs.

Now the we have all our documentation files rendered as HTML, it is time to package them inside a WAR file so we can deploy them into a web server using Assembly-Maven-Plugin.

The name of the output file is foobank because we are using finalBuild tag, and finally Assembly plugin requires a file called assembly.xml to configure which files are included in package and the output directory.

Note that we are adding a suffix to the output file by using id tag, so the final name will be foobank-doc.war. And finally we setup that all files inside target/generated-docs will be packaged.

And now you can deploy this WAR file in your documentation server, so every team on your project will be able to read the latest content generated at the same time of compiling, packaging or deploying your application. Your documentation is treated as code.

You can see a full example in https://github.com/lordofthejars/foobank.

We keep learning,

Desolation comes upon the sky, Now I see fire, Inside the mountain, I see fire (I See Fire - Ed Sheeran)
Music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzD12qo1knM

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