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Inch turns 10

TL;DR Inch turns 10 today. For those who don’t know, Inch is a documentation analysis tool for the Ruby language (with inch_ex being the Elixir variant).

Inch’s first version was published on January 28th 2014, ten years ago, today. Wow.

From the announcement post:

Inch analyses your code and inline-docs. In a way, it is a documenation measurement tool, although it does not measure coverage. Let’s see what that means:

I remember the two weeks before its initial release like it was yesterday: It was a nice winter Saturday. My then-girlfriend/now-wife told me that she had to drive home earlier than usual that weekend and I was secretly excited to work on this idea I had the same morning.

What if I could implement an analysis tool for inline code documentation which took into account that not everything had to be documented and made suggestions on where to start and what to document next?

When Julia left, I registered the gem inch and started coding through the night.

To this day, this is one of the great joys of my life: When you have an idea and are working on it, go to bed and the very first thought upon waking up is getting back to that keyboard. There are certainly things in my life now surpassing this sensation, but they are few and far in between.

The following evening, I had the first barely working prototyping of what would become an Open Source project that changed my life:

I was able to have dinner with Matz & Koichi, speak in front of 600 people at EuRuKo 2015, get a new job and the overall experience prepared myself for the a project that came soon after.

It is also the project that made me feel like a serious Open Source contributor for the first time. Huge props to the Ruby community for giving this project the benefit of the doubt. 💛

Looking back

I always like to say that “5 years spent on something” is special:

Yet, 5 years is a mark in time where it becomes pretty hard to deny ones commitment to a hobby, initiative or project.

With the 10 year mark I almost feel like it is more of a testament about the project than the person doing it.

And a tool to analyse documentation did not necessarily have the prospect of winning any popularity contests.

Two days before the initial release of Inch, I wrote a blog post titled “Why documentation is copywriting (for hackers)”.

There are a lot of small tidbits in that post that still ring true today.

For example that “testing and writing proper documentation share some characteristics” - not the least of which is sometimes neglecting it in favor of faster progress.

I am just now working on a little something and can’t bring myself to write the README.

It is almost like not wanting to grow up: As soon as I write a README and tutorial, my project actually has to stand on its own two feet and fulfil this social contract.

Getting old

Anyhow, looking at the actual announcement post for Inch, I can’t help but feel nostalgic.

The Mac Terminal screenshot from OS X looks like its from another era, like, a decade ago ^_^

I am super excited to see where the next 10 years of this journey will bring us. 👏

Let me close this post with Inch’s message to the developer world:

TL;DR Document your code; just not for the sake of documenting it.

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