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Emmanuel Ugwu for Hackmamba

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How to add a documentation feedback button in Docusaurus

​​As a technical writer or product owner, you might want to know or measure the impact of documentation quality, as this affects countless products, even those with well-detailed product documentation.

So how do we know whether our documentations are good? The first response people usually give is that documentation quality is measured through user feedback.

Collecting user feedback on documentation can be a great way to learn about user perspectives and improve a product or service. It helps to know how a product performs and where to improve.
This article demonstrates how to use Appwrite’s out-of-box functionalities to collect and store data through feedback.

The complete source code of this project is on GitHub. Fork it to get started quickly.

Prerequisite

To comfortably follow along in this article, it would be helpful to have the following:

  • Docker Desktop installed on your computer; run the docker -v command to verify that we have Docker Desktop installed. If not, install it from the Get Docker documentation.
  • A basic understanding of JavaScript and Docusaurus.
  • An Appwrite instance; check out this article on how to set up an instance. Appwrite also supports one-click install on DigitalOcean or Gitpod.
  • Node and its package manager, npm. Run the command node -v && npm -v to verify that you have them installed, or install them from here.

Getting Started

Project setup and installation

Run the following command in the terminal to create a new Docusaurus site:

    npx create-docusaurus@latest <project-name> classic
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Then, navigate into the project directory cd <project-name> and run npm run start to start a development server at https://localhost:3000/ in our browser.

NOTE: <project-name> above stands for the name of your app. Call it whatever name you want.

Setting up an Appwrite project

Appwrite is a development platform that provides a powerful API and management console for building backend servers for web and mobile applications.

To use Appwrite in our Docusaurus application, install the Appwrite client-side SDK (Software Development Kit) for web applications.

    npm install appwrite
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Then, we’ll set up a new Appwrite project by starting an Appwrite instance and navigating to the specified hostname and port http://localhost:80.

NOTE: To set up an Appwrite instance, follow the steps in the article located in Prerequisites.

Next, we need to log into our account or create an account if we don’t have one.

Appwrite console

On Appwrite’s console, click the Create Project button, input docusaurus-feedback as the project name, and click Create.

Creaing a new project

The project dashboard will appear on the console. Next, click on the Settings tab and copy the Project ID and API Endpoint. We’ll use this to set up our Docusaurus application.

Click on the Settings tab
API endpoint

Creating a collection and attribute

On the left side of the Appwrite Console dashboard, click on the Database tab. Click on the Add Database button to create a new database. Creating a new database will lead us to the Collection page.

Database Tab
Collection Page

Next, we’ll create a collection in our database tab by clicking the Add Collection button. After creating a Collection, go to the Permissions section on the Settings page. We want to assign a Read Access and Write Access with a role: all value. We can customize these roles later to specify who has access to read or write to our database.

Permission section

On the right side of the Settings page, copy the Collection ID; we’ll need to perform operations on the collection’s documents.

Next, go to the Attributes tab to create the properties we want a document to have.

Attribute Tab

Let’s create a string attribute of message with a size of 256 bits.

Generated Attribute

Building a component with Docusaurus

This article section uses Docusaurus to build a modal that provides and ships user feedback to Appwrite.

What is Docusaurus?

Docusaurus is a static-site generator that leverages the full potential of React to create an interactive single-page application with quick client-side navigation. It also provides out-of-the-box documentation features to build any website (personal website, product, blog, marketing landing pages, etc.).

Let’s create a new folder called FormPage in the src\components folder in our app. We will create an index.js file in this folder with the code snippet below.

    // Formpage\index.js
    export default function Form() {
      const [formData, setFormData] = useState({ name: "", message: "" });

      const handleChange = (e) => {
        e.preventDefault();
        setFormData({ ...formData, [e.target.name]: e.target.value });
      };
       return (
        <div className={styles.features}>
          <div className={styles.feed}>
            <h1>Was this documentation helpful?</h1>
            <button>give a feedback</button>
          </div>
            <form>
              <div className={styles.App}>
                <div className={styles.label}>
                  <label>Name</label>
                  <input type="text" name="name" value={formData.name} 
                    onChange={handleChange}/>
                </div>
                <div className={styles.label}>
                  <label>Review</label>
                  <textarea className={styles.textarea} type="text" name="message"
                    placeholder="type here" value={formData.message}
                    onChange={handleChange} />
                  <button>send feedback</button>
                </div>
              </div>
            </form>
        </div>
    )}
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The code snippet above does the following:

  • Creates a form needed for collecting feedback from users.
  • Sets a useState variable, formData, for storing the user feedback.
  • Creates a function, handleChange, to assign values from our input elements to the formData variable.

Next, we’ll import the Formpage\index.js file in our pages\index.js file, as shown below.

    export default function Home() {
    const {siteConfig} = useDocusaurusContext();
      return (
        <Layout
          title={`Hello from ${siteConfig.title}`}
          description="Description will go into a meta tag in <head />">
          <HomepageHeader />
          <main>
            <HomepageFeatures />
    +        <Form />
          </main>
        </Layout>
      );
    }
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Our demo application will look like this after applying the necessary configurations:

My Site

Next, we’ll want the form to appear only when a user wants to give a feedback. We’ll use a useState variable and conditional rendering to achieve this functionality, where the useState variable, isOpen, is assigned to a button to display or hide our form.

    // Formpage\index.js
    const React = require("react");
    const { useState } = React;

    export default function Form() {
    const [formData, setFormData] = useState({ name: "", message: "" });
    const [isOpen, setIsOpen] = useState(false);  

      const handleChange = (e) => {
      ...
      };
      const toggle = (e) => {
        e.preventDefault();
        setIsOpen(!isOpen);
      };
    return(
        <div className={styles.features}>
          <div className={styles.feed}>
            <h1>Was this documentation helpful?</h1>
            <button onClick={toggle}>give a feedback</button>
          </div>
    {isOpen ? ( 
            <form>
              ...
            </form>) : ( "" )
    }
        </div>
      )}
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Our application should look like this after hiding the form:

Our application after hiding the form

Integrating Appwrite

Using Appwrite Database SDK, we’ll integrate Appwrite into our form, where we’ll make a request to create a document in the format of a database with a value called message as the user feedback. Appwrite will create a new document with new user feedback every time the form is submitted.

    // Formpage\index.js
    import { Client, Databases } from "appwrite";

    export default function Form() {
    const [formData, setFormData] = useState({ name: "", message: "" });
    const client = new Client();
    const databases = new Databases(client);

    client
        .setEndpoint('https://OUR-HOSTNAME_OR_IP/v1') // Your API Endpoint
        .setProject('OUR-PROJECT-ID') // Your project ID
    ;

    const updateData = () => {
    const promise = databases.createDocument('OUR-DATABASE_ID', 'OUR-COLLECTION_ID', 'OUR-DOCUMENT_ID', {message: `${formData.name} - ${formData.message}`});

    promise.then(function (response) {
        console.log(response); // Success
    }, function (error) {
        console.log(error); // Failure
    });
    return(
    ...
    )
    }
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NOTE: Get your API Endpoint , Project ID , [DATABASE_ID] ,
[COLLECTION_ID] , [DOCUMENT_ID] from Appwrite’s console.

Next, we need to push the user’s feedback to Appwrite and reset our input elements whenever our form is submitted. To do this, we’ll create a function called handleSubmit to reset our form, then update our Appwrite database with our new user feedback.

      const handleSubmit = (e) => {
        e.preventDefault();
        setFormData({ name: "", message: "" });
        updateData();
      };
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After applying the configurations, our demo application will look like this:

Final application

Conclusion

This article discussed how to use Appwrite’s storage functionality and, more importantly, how to integrate Appwrite into web applications built with Docusaurus.

Resources

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