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Documenting EE Installs

The other day I came across this older thread in the EE forums about maintenance packages for clients (EE updates, etc) and how different companies and freelancers approach this problem. That, it turns out, wasn’t the most interesting part of the thread for me. Instead, it was this paragraph from Kurt Deutscher about how he documents the add-ons and configurations for client sites so it’s easy to know what’s installed.

We store a little .txt file called aaUpdateNotes.txt in every hosting account where we work with an EE site. We list all of that site’s add-ons and who last updated the site and sometimes what version of an add-on was used (not typically though). Before we run an update on a site, we open this file and keep it open during the update incase we find something that needs to be added to, or removed from, the file for the next update. With well over 100 EE installs we maintain, that little .txt file keeps us sane when doing updates.

At a glance, Kurt knows all of the add-ons installed and perhaps any potential issues that may arise during an upgrade. It also makes it easy for people new to the site to get up to speed on the configuration. Nice idea.

Erik Reagan chimed in with a link to an add-on they’re working on called Dev Docs that allows you to have documentation within the site Control Panel. From the add-on description:

Dev Docs was born from a desire to have project-specific, developer-based documentation available within a site’s Control Panel.

At Focus Lab we have a file in each project’s repository root that is meant only for developers. This file is in Textile formatting and is meant to be the primary source of information to get “up to speed” on the project.

Erik wrote a great article for EE Insider on creating documentation for ExpressionEngine that should help you get started doing documentation for your projects.

Time to get documenting!

Posted on Feb 03, 2012 by Ryan Irelan

Filed Under: Development Tools

Erik Reagan12:12 on 02.03.2012

For those reading along, the thread Ryan linked is in the Pro Net forum which is only visible to Pro Net members. Just an FYI.

Ryan Irelan12:16 on 02.03.2012

Ah, thanks Erik!

Sorry, everyone. I didn’t realize that when posting.