Kuna is a web application that provides a live environment in which books can be created from Stack Exchange questions.

Step 1

Paste the URL for any question found on a Stack Exchange site (i.e. Stack Overflow) into the text box. Clicking the Add To Stage button will place the content in the content staging area.

Step 2

Drag and drop content from the content staging area or from the table of contents structure area into the book.

Content in the book can also be rearranged by dragging and dropping.

Double clicking on a chapter in the book's table of contents will rename it, and double clicking on Stack Exchange content will refresh it. Any content in the book can be deleted by selecting it and pressing the Delete key.

Step 3

The book is updated and rendered in real time as changes are made (open the app in 2 windows to see this for yourself). To view the book content separately, click the Open Book link.

Background Info

As a developer working on tools used by authors, and an author myself, I am more than aware of the limitations of technical documentation. So it doesn't surprise me that Developers May Be Getting 50% of Their Documentation From Stack Overflow.

So why not base technical documentation on Stack Overflow?

The internet, and sites like Stack Overflow, are a great resource when you know what you don't know. When you can articulate the problem you face in the form of a Google search, then there is a good chance you can find a solution.

By what happens when you don't know what you don't know? If you have no context or frame of reference in which to describe your lack of understanding, then you're kind of screwed. Because while the internet can answer specific questions, open ended "What do I need to know?" questions either quickly become bogged down with trolling, or are explicitly banned.

This is where formal documentation still has an edge. It collates and organises information in such a way as to provide the information you need to know without you needing to know that you need to know it.

Kuna provides a way to organise the information held in the Stack Exchange network within a book like structure, with realtime drag and drop editing. It's like Wikibooks, but based on an existing, vibrant and knowledgeable community, and building off content that is already showing up in your Googling.

Right now Kuna is a proof of concept, but I see potential far beyond collating a FAQ with chapters. I see Kuna providing supplemental documentation for those small projects that don't have the resources to maintain official documentation. Kuna could be used to introduce people to non-mainstream ideas like those in skeptics. Or maybe even to create Create Commons ShareAlike (the license all user generated content added to the Stack Exchange network is licensed under) textbooks for Math or English.

So take a look and add and reorganise some content in the test book. If you have any questions, or find Kuna useful, please leave a comment.

Kuna Screenshot

  • 3
    Suggestion: add the ability to export the books to common e-book formats for reading on-the-go. Apr 12, 2013 at 18:42


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