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History of Handbook

How this possible?

The handbook started when Andrei Jiroh (@AndreiJirohHaliliDev2006) visits the GitLab Handbook and he was impressedby how large the GitLab Handbook is it.

So he decided to adopt most of it to ours, here.


Like GitLab, the Pins team's handbook is extensive and keeping it relevant is an important part of everyone's job. It is a vital part of who we are and how we communicate. We established these processes because we saw these benefits:

  • Reading is much faster than listening.
  • Reading is async, you don't have to interrupt someone or wait for them to become available.
  • Recruiting is easier if people can see what we stand for and how we operate.
  • Retention is better if people know what they are getting into before they join.
  • On-boarding is easier if you can find all relevant information spelled out.
  • Teamwork is easier if you can read how other parts of the company work.
  • Discussing changes is easier if you can read what the current process is.
  • Communicating change is easier if you can just point to the diff.
  • Everyone can contribute to it by proposing a change via a merge request.

One common concern newcomers to the handbook express is that the strict documentation makes the team more rigid. In fact, writing down our current process in the handbook has the effect of empowering contributors to propose change. As a result, this handbook is far from rigid. You only need to look at the handbook changelog (currently in Git commits) to see the evidence.

Counting the handbook pages

It's easy to see that the handbook is large, but have you ever wondered just how large? If it were printed in 12-point, single-spaced Arial it would be well over three thousand pages long and that's not even counting the images. That's a lot of good info!1

Historical Records

We are using WordCounter with the defaults like the Arial font, single spacing and in size 14.

Date2 Words Pages without pictures and embeds3
2020-03-24 6,422 ~14.3
2020-04-20 8,360 ~18.6

Computing the Handbook Pages

  • While the CI is running, the words_counter job will handle the work. You can also do this manually by doing find handbook-src -type f | xargs wc -w at the root directory of this repository on your machine.
  • Look for the total words count in the CI logs, then launch WordCounter and paste the count you copied from the console.
  • Submit and you'll see the results!

See Also

  1. As we update the things, we configured GitLab CI to count how many words our handbook have in real-time before Mkdocs kicks off the builder. 

  2. We update the historical records on a random schedule. 

  3. Words per page calucations are just estimates and are not 100% accurate so they have ~ in front of it.