The Art of the README

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Just recently I was reminded about an obvious and vital but all too often neglected aspect of good quality software: Creating and maintaining a README file to both onboard new developers and to get users started with your software easily.

While certainly essential in the context of open source software maintaining a high quality README is also relevant regarding proprietary / company-internal software that’s limited to only a select circle of developers and users: It enables both your customers and internal users to swiftly become productive with your software. Perhaps even more importantly, providing proper READMEs will allow new developers to get started quickly without having to resort to implicit knowledge.

These articles both outline how to write great READMEs and underline what the motivation to do so is in the first place:

Then there’s this curated list of README-related resources.

Furthermore, here are a few templates for getting started with your README file:

Finally, Standard Readme is a generator that allows you to create standard README files according to a style guide.

About the author: Bjoern
Independent IT consultant, entrepreneur


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