The last few days (and probably going forward for the relatively immediate future), I’ve been working on reading through the requirements lists for Firefox 3 and Gecko 1.9, following something of a spiral-outward approach. I start with the rough feature lists, then look at the associated bugs, blog posts, and so forth, then eventually will be looking at the code itself.
This is the longest and most “unproductive feeling” stage of documentation. Learning enough that you think you know what to document and how to do it. It takes a good bit of time if you want to produce quality documentation (which of course I do).
What typically happens — and this has been the case for essentially every documentation project I’ve ever participated in — is that I have a long gap where I produce little to no documentation, then, suddenly, a large quantity of material starts to flow out rapid-fire.
There are actually a couple of good reasons why that’s how I work.
First is the research and planning I already mentioned.
Second is the simple fact that I’ve learned that it’s usually not a great idea to write documentation until the subject matter has stabilized at least somewhat. Many of the things that will need documentation for Firefox 3 and Gecko 1.9 aren’t done yet. Gecko 1.9 documentation will likely start arriving in the next few weeks, since it’s alpha and reaching a fairly steady state.