Advantages of adoc Studio over IDEs and SSGs

Integrated development environments and static site generators are commonly used to create technical documents. We believe there is an easier way.

Why the Right Toolset Matters

Every occupation has its go-to tools for getting the job done efficiently. Handymen rely on hammers, wrenches, and screwdrivers to fix and build, while marketers often use analytics software to e.g. track advertising performance. Similarly, technical writers spend a significant portion of their time with their chosen editors, where they craft, edit, and refine documentation.

The flexibility to choose their tools can greatly enhance a technical writer's productivity and satisfaction. When writers have the liberty to select tools that suit their workflow, they can work more efficiently and produce higher-quality documentation. A well-chosen toolchain can streamline the entire writing process, from research and writing to editing and publishing. It ensures that writers can focus on delivering clear, concise, and useful documentation without being bogged down by inefficient or cumbersome software. In contrast, a poorly chosen set of tools can complicate these tasks, leading to frustration and wasted time.

While Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) like Visual Studio Code and Static Site Generators (SSGs) have traditionally been the go-to solutions for creating technical documents, they often come with complexities that can hinder rather than help. This is where adoc Studio, our specialized writing environment built for AsciiDoc on Mac and iPad, steps in to offer a streamlined, integrated solution.

Let's look at the advantages and disadvantages of using IDEs and SSGs and how to make the most out of your documents with adoc Studio.

Advantages of Using IDEs with SSGs

Sarah - a Technical Writer with Coding Background

Imagine Sarah, a technical writer with a background in software development. Before transitioning to technical writing, she spent several years as a software developer, which gave her a solid grounding in coding and project management. When Sarah stepped into her new role, she sought a toolset that could leverage her coding skills while enhancing her efficiency in creating technical documents.

Sarah chose to use an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) in conjunction with a Static Site Generator (SSG) for several reasons. Her familiarity with code allowed her to seamlessly adapt to the IDE, which was integral to managing the large codebases at her company. Moreover, using an SSG enabled her to integrate documentation directly into the development workflows through Continuous Integration Tools. Whenever there was a new commit, the SSG would automatically create a new version of the export.

For Sarah, this combination of tools made perfect sense. The IDE provided her with a robust, familiar environment where she could edit, test, and validate her documentation as if it were code. The SSG allowed her to publish this documentation in a structured, web-friendly format, ensuring it was easily accessible to both the development team and external users. This setup not only utilized her strengths but also ensured that her transition from coding to writing was smooth and productive.

Here are the main advantages of using IDEs with Static Site Generators from Sarah’s perspective:

  • Familiarity and Ease of Use: Utilizes her existing coding skills, making the transition smoother and more efficient.

  • Integration into Development Workflows: Allows documentation to be part of the software development process, ensuring consistency and timeliness.

  • Version Control and Collaboration: Facilitates easy updates and team collaboration, keeping documents accurate and up-to-date.

  • Customization and Extensibility: Provides the ability to customize the environment and extend functionality through plugins and scripts.

  • Direct Publishing: Enables the generation of structured, web-friendly documentation that is easy to access and navigate.

For Sarah, and many others with a similar background, using an IDE combined with an SSG is not just about writing—it’s about integrating their technical expertise into their current role effectively and efficiently.

Disadvantages of Using IDEs with SSGs

Eric - A Technical Writer with Journalism Background

Not everyone has the same background as Sarah. How would someone without this background experience such a toolset? For this, let's imagine Eric: Unlike many of his colleagues who transitioned from software development, Eric comes from a background in journalism. His strengths lie in clear communication and structured writing, but he lacks familiarity with coding environments. When tasked to use an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) alongside a Static Site Generator (SSG) at her new job, Eric faced several challenges.

The IDE, brimming with features meant for coding rather than straightforward writing, was overwhelming for him. Its complex interface, designed with developers in mind, made routine document editing tasks confusing and cumbersome for her. The plethora of options and settings, while potentially useful for coding, simply added layers of complexity to her primary task: writing clear and effective documentation.

Furthermore, the SSG component, essential for publishing documentation as part of the software development process, presented its own set of challenges. With no coding experience, Eric struggled to understand the technical aspects of generating static sites. The SSG lacked a user-friendly graphical interface, making it difficult for her to see the impact of her edits in real time. Additionally, adjusting document formats or styles often required a working knowledge of web development practices, necessitating frequent assistance from the IT department or her developer colleagues.

For Eric, and others like him, the disadvantages of using an IDE combined with an SSG include:

  • Complexity Over Utility: The sophisticated nature of IDEs can make simple writing tasks overly complicated.

  • Lack of Intuitive Use: IDEs and SSGs typically do not offer the intuitive, user-friendly experience that non-technical writers need.

  • Steep Learning Curve: Both tools often require a good understanding of coding principles, which can be a significant barrier for those without a technical background.

  • Dependency on Technical Support: Without coding skills, routine tasks such as formatting or publishing may require ongoing support from technical staff.

  • Fragmented Workflow: Managing content across different platforms and formats can disrupt Eric's writing flow, leading to decreased productivity and increased frustration.

For Eric, the combination of an IDE and an SSG seemed like he was navigating a world built for a different skill set, often at the cost of her own efficiency and comfort in her role. This highlights the importance of choosing the right tools that align with the user’s skills and job requirements to ensure productivity and job satisfaction.

The adoc Studio Advantage

adoc Studio is tailored specifically for technical authors. Unlike general IDEs, our platform is designed from the ground up to support AsciiDoc, an easy-to-use syntax for writing structured documents. Here’s why adoc Studio stands out:

  • All-in-One Functionality: adoc Studio integrates organizing, writing, proofreading, and exporting into a single application. This eliminates the need to juggle multiple tools or navigate complex software just to produce a document.

  • Seamless Format Conversion: Export your documents to various formats like HTML and PDF directly within the app, using ready-to-use stylesheets. This means no more wrestling with separate styling tools for different output formats.

  • Instant Preview: Our real-time preview feature lets you see how your document will look upon export, reducing the guesswork and the need for external converters.

  • Out-of-the-Box Compatibility: For those who still need to work with Static Site Generators, adoc Studio supports them natively. Write in AsciiDoc, and integrate seamlessly with any SSG that supports it, enhancing your existing workflows without extra steps.

  • User-Friendly Interface: Designed with the user in mind, adoc Studio offers a clean, straightforward interface that lets writers focus on content without distractions.


For technical writers, especially those new to coding or those prioritizing efficiency and simplicity, adoc Studio offers a compelling alternative to traditional IDEs and Static Site Generators. Choose adoc Studio and experience the difference in your documentation workflow—simpler, faster, and more efficient.

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