Treating our Content as Code

What DevOps and CI/CD can teach us about content publishing.

Posted by Holger Reinhardt    on August 22, 2017 in Dev tagged with Content, Concepts, CTO

In my blog post about Taking back control of your content - Developer style I write about my motivation and my initial attempts in treating Docs Like Code. And I pose the question what would happen if we treated not just docs, but content in general as code.

My life as a developer changed when I first started using git. And my view of working collaboratively changed even more when I started using git together with github and Pull Requests.

Yet there was always the disconnect between me writing code in a very collaborative yet highly controlled manner and me publishing content like blog articles as Developer Evangelist at Layer7. And I never quite could put those things together until I listened to a talk Pull requests, not just for code anymore at OSCON 2015. This talk really started to make me think about the similarties between content and code.

Given my background from the API space, there were a lot of puzzle pieces I had collected over the years. Concepts like Create Once Publish Everywhere from and Content-as-a-Service from the folks at

And then there were early signals that others in the community had similar thoughs: Paul Hammant’s post’s on Github as a CMS to end all CMS’s and Why all CMS Technologies suck, published in 2013 and 2014 respectively. And then there was the afore mentioned talk by Tim Krajcar at OSCON 2015, and more recently Docs-as-Code by WriteTheDocs and Docs Like Code by Ann Gentle. You might want to check out Anne’s recent published book called Docs Like Code and read Anne’s thoughts on Why to use Github as CMS. just wrote an article on How GitHub Employees Use GitHub For Projects Beyond Coding:

... managing not only code but any collaborative projects, such as legal documents or HR policies. “We’re going to treat legal issues like bugs in the code...”

If you put those pieces together a pretty consistent picture starts emerging. It is one were we ought to treat our valuable content as code, with the same rigeour and disciplin and tooling. Anne summarized it beautifully

Write, Review, Test, Merge, Build, Deploy, Repeat. 
Let's Treat Docs Like Code.

When you want to write more content, create accurate technical docs, iterate with collaborators, test drafts, merge, build, and deploy docs.

Like today we have DevOps and CI/CD for our code, I strongly feel that ContentOps and CI/CD are just around the corner for our content. And given that we as Haufe.Group have our roots in publishing, this is an exciting propostion to think about.