WiseNotes: a Simple, Open-Source Technical Documentation Tool
WiseNotes is a technical documentation tool for IT with a clean, Notepad-like feel and cataloging hierarchy. The free, open-source program makes writing, editing and searching documentation a snap. It works best running on a central MySQL (WAMP) server which makes it accessible anywhere on the network, and enables easy backups and updates.
The brainchild of Kyle Wisdom, a SysAdmin in the Seattle-Tacoma area in Washington, WiseNotes came about out of necessity—a replacement for the haphazard technical documentation system at the local government office he kept up and running. “Save it as a Word doc and throw it in a folder—one big folder,” Wisdom says of the old system. “No table of contents or any organization.”
To solve this, he started learning C# with a Udemy.com course. Six months later, he had programmed WiseNotes 1.0, the Wiki implementation of the tool. “I wanted something that I can do everything from one program with ease,” he says. “In WiseNotes you do everything right there: add/delete notes, update notes, search notes, et cetera.”
He worked out a few kinks and added automation features for the program. A week prior to this writing, Wisdom made available WiseNotes 2.0 as a free, open source tool for IT professionals that prefer a simple, streamlined approach for noting and sorting technical documentation.
“Cleaner than OneNote” for technical documentation
Wisdom sees WiseNotes as an IT documentation alternative to office & accounting software like Evernote and OneNote®. The difference? “I made it and it’s not from Microsoft,” he says. “I don’t care for OneNote; I think [WiseNotes] is cleaner, simpler, and more organized.” He plans to keep streamlining the process, and wants to deliver a more customizable setup process for server installation in future versions.
Download WiseNotes at SourceForge
How far does Wisdom plan to take WiseNotes as a business venture? He views himself as a hobbyist programmer at this point, but likes it enough to entertain career ambitions programming tools for IT. “If it turned into a viable side business, or eventually a full blown income, then that would be cool,” he says. “If it stays in the open source world and I just live on donations/free time, then that’s okay too. We’ll see how it goes.”
A question for IT pros: what tools and practices do you recommend for writing and cataloging technical documentation?