What Do You Do When There Is No Documentation? post

July 3rd, 2007

One of the most common complaints currently leveled at the CakePHP project is that "there is no documentation for version 1.2". What people really mean is that there is no one central place where people who want to use the latest version can find documentation. There are examples in the bakery and in threads on the mailing list. Really gutsy developers can look at the API for version 1.2 or dive into the source themselves.

Now, a decision was made that there would be no manual released for 1.2 until 1.2 is declared stable (or maybe the API's won't change). Luckily you can look at an alpha version of the documentation as well. I suspect that not too many people know that you can find this information and simply assume that there is none available.

So, what *do* you do when there is little or no documentation? I'm running into this because I'm trying to use a brand-new component for authorization and access control called (oddly enough) Auth. It's very useful...but there is no documentation existing for it. I have access to a soon-to-be-published article about it (thanks Nate!) but it's not giving me enough to go on. I'm left to call in other favours and get access to the source code of some other apps to see how they are using the Auth component, but some of those examples aren't working for me. *sigh*.

So, I ask you, lazyweb style, how do YOU deal with a lack of documentation for a programming component that you want to use?