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Fabreath
Fabreath

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Documize

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As I wrote in my previous post, I am evaluating some tools for writing documentation. First of all i tried Documize, here a share my opinion.

How does it work?

Documize defines itself like "Team-driven content authoring & automation for secure internal and external documentation".
It's written in Go and Ember JS and it's an open-source project, you can find the source code on Github repository.
You can choose between the Team or Enterprise Edition, and for the Enterprise you can choose the Cloud hosting plan or the Server Installed one (self hosting).

In Documize the "document" consists of a group of "sections" and each section can contain a type of content typed or it can embed content from external tools. You can edit and rearrange every single section, which is indexed, and you can easily get a "summary" automatically. So you can easy write a rich text (using WYSIWYG tool) or embed a code snippet or put a diagram for technical documents. Every changes is traced, so you can roll back any time.

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What I like

Clean Output

Once you've finished to write your content, you have a clean and very pretty output, organized and easy to manage.

Automatic Word Import

This is my favorite one. We have tons of doc files in any folder of our servers or other search-less locations and we spend a lot of time searching for the wanted file. And sometimes we cannot find what we want. This is a big lack in our company. For this reason this tool is so appreciated! You can easy import doc files and Documize works for you re-structuring the text in paragraphs magically. You only need to adjust something for improving the final result. Step by step the "porting" process from our docs to Documize become very easy.

Attachments

Uploading files as attachments, become very useful, especially in the porting process to Documize (see previous point), because you can easy check the original document any time and perform a better control.

Subdomain

If you're interested in publishing public documents, this feature become very useful, because you can easy share a link with your company (account) name. You can simply have your own landing page with all your public documents (cloud plan).

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Public Spaces

If you are interested in sharing documents (such as, tutorials, technical documents, etc.) with your customers, you can set up public spaces where to place your documents, for easy sharing. In public spaces it is not necessary to set up user groups, or let your customers register to any kind of service.

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RichText (WYSIWYG)

Documize has a very powerful and complete "Rich Text Box", where you can put also tables, code snippets, insert and edit images and videos. The tables are also very customizable, so it is very simple to create what you want.

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Diagrams

For me this is a big plus. You can easy draw diagrams using "PlantUML" or "Draw.io" tools. Especially draw.io (now diagrams.net) for me is the best online diagram tool, with very rich utilities. If you work in a tech company it's a "must have" to draw flow charts, system flows and all kinds of diagrams you need. This tool is very well integrated, so it makes you feel comfortable creating diagrams.

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Revisions & Versions

You can have the revision list and the activity list of every document, with the possibility to restore each version at the wanted revision.
Also you can set a document version (different from content revision) which let you write a brand new document. This could be interesting if you're writing documentation about a product which have some new features or updates.

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Self-hosting

Sometimes a cloud solution may not be the right choice, especially if a company relies heavily on the security of its data. Documize has a self-hosted version that can be installed on your server, behind your firewalls and your security rules. However, the self-hosted plan is very expensive. Also you can have an hybrid hosting solution.

Enterprise Free plan

The enterprise edition is completely free for up to 10 users, so private or small business accounts can manage their documentation for free.

Links

You can publish and create a link for each section. So if you need to share only a part of a specific content, you can easily do it by getting and sharing the link.

Comments

In every document, you can leave comment and you can choose if applying it to the entire content or to a single section.

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Integrations

Trello, Jira, AirTable, Papertrail, Gemini, IFrame. You can have the best integration modules and, if you are a developer, API services to customize your Documize experience. Maybe in the future the list will be extended.

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Reports

Finally you can have an overlook of your documentation, with simple reports. They're not so cool, but they're useful.

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What I dislike

Only 2 grouping level

Yes. You only have 2 levels to group documents: spaces and documents. It's not a big deal, because you also have tags and categories to set on each document, but if you have a large and structured company, an extra grouping "folder" would be appreciated.

No "real" themes

Themes in Documize concern only the customization of the color of the toolbar, they are not real themes to be applied to your documents to show them in a different style. A "dark mode" would also be appreciated, especially if you write a lot.

Export only in pdf or html

Sometimes it is necessary to have more possibilities to export and share the documentation, also using different channels, such as the possibility of publishing documents also on other platforms.

Slow internal links

Internal links are slow. You can get a link for each section, but it's not easy to manage. Also I don't like the interface, I think it's not clear, I took a lot to understand where they were.

No auto save

This is the worst for my experience, especially when you're writing long contents. For example, you can go in "edit mode" for each section of your document, without the need to close/save the current "working section". So sometimes, if you unfortunately forget to save all opened sections you can easy lose your job. You just need to browse the previous page and lose your content. The best practice is to edit only one section of content at a time, but sometimes you still risk losing data.

Settings Interface not clean

Sometimes you are looking for an option to set, a tag or a category or any other type of setting, you feel confused because you don't know where to go. The interface should be improved, so that you have the things you need close at hand.

Not automated self-hosted installation

Okay, this isn't a big lack, most people use the cloud version for sure, it's easy. But if you want to test the self-hosted version, you have to follow the guide step by step and be expert enough to install the required services.

No app for writing offline

If you're using the cloud service you must to be connected. An app for writing offline with a sync service could be useful for a lot of users.

My vote:

8/10

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