Take a bunch of developers, any kind you like. Throw those engineers into a new software project at the deep end. Do they sink or swim?
This is the question that Swimm founders were asking themselves based on their experiences running Israel Tech Challenge, a coding bootcamp inspired by the training program used by the Israeli Defence Forces’ 8200 Intelligence Unit.
They realised that invariably, the answer to this question comes down to how well team knowledge is transcribed and shared, ready for ‘Swimmers’ (Swimm coders, get it?) to access exactly when it is needed.
The Swimm platform itself documents and shares information about any codebase to streamlines development processes from code creation to developer onboarding and inter-team collaboration.
Swimm says that understanding other people’s code remains one of the key challenges for any software organisation. Knowledge and processes aren’t documented… and the code itself is constantly changing.
The (perhaps sad) reality is that for many organisations the internal code documentation coverage is poor and it’s mostly outdated, leading to productivity taking a hit and missed opportunities for code reuse.
“Legacy documentation that is separate from the code base begins to drift away from the source code the moment it is created, quickly becoming obsolete,” Omer Rosenbaum, CTO and co-founder of Swimm explained. “There is also no good way for a developer to know if there is existing team knowledge that is pertinent to the code they are looking at.”
Swimm claims to solves these problems via documentation that automatically stays in sync even as the code evolves. It achieves this with a unique auto-sync algorithm and by keeping the documentation inside the code base.
But pizza and Pepsi guzzling developers baulk at the idea of adding simple comments to their code, never mind full-blown documentation. Not to mention that transcribing the ins and outs of how to use some piece of software – along with the decisions that were made when implementing it – is usually an afterthought. Recording the supplemental team knowledge after the fact means context switching… and as nerd supremo Elon Musk recently pointed out: “Fear is not the mind-killer, context switching is the mind-killer”.
Therefore, Swimm streamlines everything into the CI/CD process, so that developers create and sync supplemental content related to the code as part of their normal workflow, without it being a burden or nuisance.
“As remote development upended usual collaboration and work routines, teams started looking for tools that can help them move fast in new code areas,” Gilad Navot, CPO and founder of Swimm said. “More than ever, teams need a tool that helps them create, sync and find code-coupled content.”
In the era of Continuous Everything, Swimm is essentially putting forward a new paradigm for building team knowledge: Continuous Documentation.
This means treating documentation as code and updating it in lockstep with the codebase. An additional benefit to this approach is that the code documentation is placed in version-controlled repositories, with all of the associated perks and has strong cohesion with the code.