One of the biggest challenges in looking over the Amazon Web Services catalog of available products is understanding what everything is, and how it all works. Both individual guides and inter-service guides are spread around the internet. This makes searching out the right guides a challenge in many cases, until the open-guides came along!
Open Guide for Amazon Web Services
Thanks a collective community effort, the Open Guide to Amazon Web Services has been published to GitHub with a continuously growing set of guides and links on everything AWS. There is a lot of very well organized text in the guide, as well as a very nicely put together table of Basics, Tips, and Gotcha sections for every service within the AWS platform.
As a long-time fan of the AWS documentation that is provided by Amazon directly, I’ve been especially pleased to see this sort of “how we really use it” guide that takes the high-level content provided by AWS and brings it down to earth for the admin/dev users.
The AWS Documentation site should still be a bookmark site for continuous reference, but those docs tend to be very directed guides on the specific projects, and don’t have as much of the real “how to” type of approach. Having the gotcha items and other nifty tips is a real good help for those getting started with AWS. It’s even helpful for folks who have been using it for a while because there is a good chance that you may not have hit the gotcha items just yet. The Open Guide will hopefully save you some pain.
Contributing to the Open Guide
Consuming good documentation is one thing, but being able to contribute your own learnings back to the docs is even better! This is where things get interesting as we see more and more guides landing on public spaces with the ability to add your own content directly.
Just follow the contributing guide for the Open Guide to AWS and you are off to the races for adding your own tips and gotchas to help others save some time and effort. It’s my guess that more companies may see this type of guide and use it as a way to collaborate among their own customers and community to build out documentation.
Why do Community Guides Matter?
Community-driven content means that your products and platforms are being actively used and contributed to. This is a healthy way to measure the usage of the platforms as a vendor or project owner. Not only that, but it’s also a good way to build out some free help guides. One of the difficulties with product management is that the way you believe your product is being consumed and how it is actually being consumed can be different.
The Open Guide GitHub organization only has the Amazon Web Services guide so far, but hopefully other vendors may see some love on that site. If you have a product or platform, it’s a great way to help share the valuable information with your community. These are different than traditional product documentation. As I mentioned, the AWS guides are great, but this open guide allows you to look at some more use-case specific content and learn from the little tips and tricks that our peers have discovered for us.