I had a problem. I wanted public documentation with open collaboration, but I couldn't afford most of the products out there. As a startup we need to keep lean, and adding a paid documentation/knowledge base service is an expense I don't want to have to try to recover.

So we're moving all of our product documentation into public Github repositories, as it's the cheapest option with it being free 😉

The first repository is here, for our Signata MFA product: https://github.com/cl-tim/signata-mfa-docs

Why Github?

As much as I find it frustrating to write documentation in markdown (writing is easy, dealing with screenshots is clunky), the benefits of having a publicly accessible repository for documentation far outweighs my frustration.

I want to make sure documentation isn't sitting behind paywalls or needing a sign up. In fact, forcing people to sign up to read it has created a ton of accounts in our system that don't actually get used, which is an inconvenience for both parties.

The best part of putting it into Github is now there's the ability to collaborate - if you find a problem, or ambiguous statement, or you want something added, you can now directly interact with the content to submit pull requests or open issues.

We've also put a link to the documentation onto the Signata MFA website in a few places, which you'll also notice has undergone some rebranding:

It's actually quite expensive to run an online knowledgebase in most instances. Read the Docs would've been the ideal choice, but it's only free for open source projects, and at this stage we don't yet have plans to open source our products. I could've spun up a self-hosted service like Dokuwiki, but that would be an additional $10/month of operating costs, as well as the administrative overhead for keeping it up to date.

An alternative we thought about was to use publicly accessible Google Docs, but they lose the ability to be indexed by search engines for people to actually find these guides. There's not much use to public documentation if it's not actually discoverable by the public.

Signata MFA Presentation

I've also thrown a presentation that we put together about Signata MFA into the repository as well. You can find it here - it'll give you a quick overview of the product, it's capabilities, it's pricing, and how to get in contact with us.

Have you looked at Signata MFA? You can check it out by clicking here. You can try it for free for a month, no credit card required.