People actively engaged in software development know that the engineering process is not solely about coding. It involves a lot of brainstorming, planning, research, and the need to put comments in code.
Such comments help to keep track of the software development progress. They also allow teams to quickly onboard new members without wasting months clarifying what to do with the source code. Besides, when engineers leave notes on their code, it’s easier to do refactoring and implement updates.
Despite the apparent benefits of comment tags, there is one problem you are likely to face. These notes aren’t available in a printable format, which means you won’t be able to retrieve them. Each time you need to check the coding logic, the absence of convenient PDF notes will become an obstacle.
The good news is that you can easily convert HTML code notes with HTML rendering software. Such tools generate neat PDFs from HTML documents enabling you to print them out, share, or view them on your laptop.
Want to learn more about HTML rendering for your project? Find out how it works and the main benefits of HTML rendering below.
What are Code Notes and What is a Paper Trail?
Code notes are sections in HTML where developers leave comments not displayed on web pages. They allow software engineers to cooperate on the project and understand the logic behind specific decisions and changes. Here’s how you can comment HTML code:
Code notes example
<!--This text won't be shown in the browser-->
<p>This part of the code will be rendered in the browser.</p>
Without HTML notes, developers would need to explain their coding steps in writing. Although comments in a notebook can help someone who writes code, they are difficult to share with a team.
Printed documents may also be inconvenient. When developers don’t have HTML rendering tools, they need to create separate documents with notes duplicating HTML code comments. Even though such documents provide a paper trail for tracking the engineering progress, they are super time-consuming.
What is a paper trail? Paper trail is written documents that show what a specific person did or how something has happened.
Therefore, it’s better to substitute a paper trail with paperless alternatives such as PDF documents automatically generated from HTML. The PDF format gives more freedom of choice. You can view comments on your desktop, convert them to any other convenient format, or print them out.
How to Make Code Notes More Convenient with HTML Rendering
Before diving into using HTML rendering during the software development lifecycle, let’s clarify what HTML rendering means.
HTML rendering is the process of converting HTML to another visual format with a rendering engine. HTML files are usually converted to PDF as this is the most multi-functional and widely used format for reporting and electronic communications. PDFs always keep the same structure, allow you to leave notes, edit files, and manage access.
In the context of coding, HTML rendering is about converting comments in HTML code to PDF. By integrating an HTML to PDF converter, engineering teams can automatically generate PDF documentation. To implement HTML conversion, they need to connect an HTML to PDF renderer like Inkit through an API. After a quick integration, it will help generate PDFs based on code notes.
PDF documents are much more convenient than HTML files since they enable developers to view comments in a printable format without an unnecessary paper trail.
4 Reasons Why Developers Need HTML Code Commenting and PDF Rendering for Their Notes
Are you still unsure whether to adopt PDF rendering for HTML elements? Here are some convincing arguments in favor of leaving code notes and converting them to PDF.
#1. Reason to render and comment HTML code: Keep notes about code updates.
Imagine that a developer went on vacation without leaving comments about the latest changes. Something went wrong, the software stopped working, and nobody knows how to fix the problem. The company wasted a lot of time and money to troubleshoot.
Well, detailed notes could have helped to avoid that.
Therefore, each time software engineers make significant code changes, they must record this. Notes enable their team and other stakeholders to track what’s happening and return to the software’s previous version if necessary.
Besides, conversion of the created HTML comments to PDF automates record-keeping and cuts time spent on paperwork. It’s also easier for managers to monitor developers’ work and control the progress of the project. They can retrieve code notes and view them in a clear and well-structured format.
#2. Reason to render and comment HTML code: Simplify code refactoring.
When you optimize the software’s performance, design, or structure, record these changes, too. Like code update comments, refactoring code notes help software developers compare the product’s previous and current versions. Besides, code notes indicate the future changes and describe the functionality of the designed solution.
By automatically converting the refactoring code notes from HTML to PDF, you free the engineering team from manual note-making necessary to create readable documentation.
#3. Reason to render and comment HTML code: Speed up onboarding.
When a new software developer joins a team, onboarding requires a lot of time. The person has to review the existing code, understand how it runs, and what they must do to implement the necessary functionality. If the notes on the source code are missing, this process will take ages.
HTML notes left by developers who have already worked on the project enable newcomers to make sense of the written code quickly. When these HTML comments are converted to PDF, the onboarding is even more comfortable and fast. The new team member can access a PDF document with clarifications and get down to work much sooner.
#4. Reason to render and comment HTML code: Communicate with customers.
Even though customers don’t read code in most cases, they may ask you to share documentation. Notes are essential if the customers using your code also have a team of developers. Comments converted to PDF will help you communicate with the tech specialists on the other side and help your customers implement your product sooner.
PDF code notes are also handy to back up the work completed by your team. Comments related to changes and updates will help report the new features’ progress and overall customer communication.
Inkit for HTML into PDF Rendering
Inkit is a reach enablement platform uniting several products that can optimize the work of different teams. In particular, Inkit’s Render is effective for software developers.
This product easily integrates with third-party solutions through an API to automatically convert HTML code comments to PDF. It accesses HTML in real-time to generate printable documents. After that, Inkit securely stores PDFs allowing you to retrieve them when you need to share SDLC documentation.
The integration of Inkit won’t get your software development team too busy since it takes just a few lines of code. Besides, if you need any help with Render, you can contact Inkit’s support to get immediate assistance.