The other day Chris Coyier tweeted something I wholeheartedly agree with:
Write the article you wish you found when you googled something.— Chris Coyier (@chriscoyier) October 30, 2017
This is great advice. However, I read, write and edit a lot of developer-focused content. In the course of this, I’ve seen a a frequent criticism of content along these lines which is that this topic has already been sufficiently covered - and usually not stated as diplomatically. These comments are along the lines of this one from a recent article I published (but didn’t write):
Oh boy, another one of these articles. No thanks.
I wanted to briefly discuss why I think that this criticism is, in almost all cases, misplaced.
1. Each Developer Brings Their Unique Problem Solving Skills
One of my favorite parts about being a developer is that every problem has nearly infinite possible solutions. Even within similar solutions there are often creative variations. That problem-solving and creativity is part of what drew me to the field.
Every author brings their own thought into the problem solving process and their own creativity into the solution. Even if the topic isn’t new to me, the reader, I may learn something from the particular developer’s approach.
2. Writing is About the Learning and the Sharing
I believe that the process of writing is as much a learning process as a sharing process. Even if a topic has been covered many times, it may be new to me. In the process of learning, I may want to think through and write out my thought processes. For me, this can be a very productive process, reinforcing what I learned and perhaps forcing me to think through in a more direct manner some of the choices I made in the development process. The sharing is, in part, just a side effect - if I found this useful, maybe someone else will.
3. Every Author has a Unique Perspective
One of the things you learn when you edit a lot of content is how unique each developer’s writing voice is. Some are funny while some just focus on the code with as little discussion as necessary. Some give insights into their thought processes while others stick to research.
Even if the code were identical, every individual adds their voice and perspective to the content. You never know what will end up resonating with someone else. Perhaps your unique take - so, don’t be afraid to add your voice to the conversation, even when someone tells you its been done before.