Specify versions in technical blogging

2020-06-28 2 min read

    I’ve been getting back into coding by hacking around on some side projects and am definitely rusty. Lately it’s been learning the modern Django stack and discovering it’s multiple major versions ahead of the last time I used it. But thanks to the wonders of the modern internet there’s a ton of content online that explains how to do certain tasks. Stack Overflow is one but there are also a ton of individual bloggers and tutorials that make it easier than ever to answer questions.

    What’s rare is for these posts to specify the versions of the software they’re describing. If I’m writing a post about a problem I’m running into I’m likely running the latest version of the library and it’s implied that my post is about that. Unfortunately, if someone discovers that post months or years later it may be entirely out of date and the suggestion being limited to the author’s version. My workaround to this has been to either look for any links to actual repository code or to look at the date the article was written in order to determine whether it may still be relevant.

    It’s surely a first world problem but especially for technical writing including the version information will be a huge help to the audience. Especially if that information ends up becoming somehow searching or filterable. Imagine if every time you tried searching Google or Stack Overflow for technical help you were able to limit them to the versions you’re using. In many cases it would be too limiting but even knowing the version the author used would be incredibly helpful.