JetBrains is hoping to improve the way technical documentation is created with a new tool called Writerside.

Currently in an Early Access Program, Writerside is a platform for writing and collaborating on documentation, API references, tutorials, developer guides, and how-tos. It can be used as a plugin in the JetBrains IDE or as a standalone tool.

“With Writerside, we want to empower writers with the tools that developers have long been using. Unfortunately, documentation is still often overlooked, and technical writers don’t get the acknowledgement or the support they deserve”, said Anna Gasparyan, product lead for Writerside at JetBrains. “Our mission is to bridge the gap between developers and writers and make documentation a team sport. If tech writers use the same tools as developers, such as Git, automated check, and build pipelines, it not only ensures the quality of the final output, but it should also make it easier for the entire team to contribute to docs, review them, and track changes.”

It supports Markdown and XML, and comes with over 100 built-in tests. These include testing for broken links, missing resources, incorrect attribute values, non-unique IDs, and more. Developers can also configure it to check for their in-house spelling and style conventions. 

Writeside offers developers a live preview of what their documentation will look like to users. It also includes customization options for look, such as light or dark mode, contrast, soft or vivid skins, and defining accent colors. 

Another key feature to note is that it maintains a single source of truth for projects, enabling developers to reuse portions of content and edit them from just one place rather than having to update every instance when changes are made. 

It uses JetBrains’ spellchecker and grammar tool, which uses AI to make its corrections. Currently this tool supports over 25 languages, include English, German, Spanish, and Chinese.