What will you find in this article?
You’ve probably stumbled across many GitHub repositories, each with their own unique README page. Have you ever wondered what makes a good README? The kind that stands out, draws you in, and most importantly helps you understand the project?
In this article, we’ll show you how to create the perfect GitHub README page.
TL; Dr: You can just copy my README here
Papermark – Open source alternative to DocSend.
Before we begin, let me introduce you to Papermark. It’s an open source alternative to DocSend that helps you manage secure document sharing, including real-time analytics. It’s all open source!
I would be absolutely thrilled if you could give us a star! Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments section ❤️
Well now let’s get our hands dirty. We walk you through the key components of a complete README and how to build each section.
Set up your markup environment
First, you need to set up an environment to write your README. All GitHub READMEs are written in Markdown, a lightweight and easy syntax for styling your writing. If you’re not familiar with Markdown, don’t worry. Removing it is as easy as pie.
I usually write my README next to the project code, but you can also create a separate README file. It depends on you. Just make sure you have a README.md file in your project root directory.
I use Visual Studio Code as my code editor, and there’s a handy plugin called Markdown All in One that lets you preview your Markdown as you type. This is a great way to see what your README looks like on GitHub.
Starting with a bang: project title and description
Every README should start with a clear and compelling title followed by a brief description of the project. It’s the first thing people see when they enter your repository, so make sure it’s catchy and descriptive.
Here is an example:
# Papermark Papermark is an open-source document sharing alternative to DocSend with built-in analytics.
Very important “how to”: installation and use
This is the meat and potatoes of your README. You should guide your users on how to install and use your project. Be clear, precise and give examples if necessary.
Here is an example:
## Installation First, clone this repository: <!-- start:code block --> # Clone this repository git clone https://github.com/mfts/papermark.git cd papermark # Install dependencies npm install # Copy the example .env file cp .env.example .env # Initialize the database npx prisma generate npx prisma db push # Run the app npm run dev # Open http://localhost:3000 in your browser open http://localhost:3000 <!-- end:code block -->
Demo: Show, just tell
A picture is worth a thousand words and a GIF even more. Use screenshots or GIFs to show off your project’s features. This helps users understand what your project does.
Participation: encouraging cooperation
Open source is all about community. Don’t forget to include a section that encourages others to participate. Specify the contribution steps and link your project’s CONTRIBUTING.md file if it has one.
Here is a simple example:
## Contributing Papermark is an open-source project and we welcome contributions from the community. If you'd like to contribute, please fork the repository and make changes as you'd like. Pull requests are warmly welcome.
Score: Show badges and contributors
Badges are a great way to show your project stats. You can add badges for things like number of stars, forks, and contributors. You can also add badges for CI/CD, code coverage, and more. You can find all badges at shields.io.
<div align="center"> <a href="https://github.com/mfts/papermark/stargazers"><img alt="GitHub Repo stars" src="https://img.shields.io/github/stars/mfts/papermark"></a> <a href="https://twitter.com/mfts0"><img alt="Twitter Follow" src="https://img.shields.io/twitter/follow/mfts0"></a> <a href="https://github.com/mfts/papermark/blob/main/LICENSE"><img alt="License" src="https://img.shields.io/badge/license-AGPLv3-purple"></a> </div>
You can also add a list of contributors to your README. This is a great way to show your appreciation to the people who contributed to your project. Go to contrib.rocks to create a list of contributors to your project.
### Our Contributors ✨ <a href="https://github.com/mfts/papermark/graphs/contributors"> <img src="https://contrib.rocks/image?repo=mfts/papermark" /> </a>
You have it! Creating a great README is a combination of clear communication, good organization, and some pizzazz. It’s an art form in itself, and with a little practice, you’ll create READMEs that are not only informative, but also engaging.
I’m Mark, an open source enthusiast and proud maintainer of Papermark. Happy README crafting!
Help me out!
If this article was useful to you and you understood the README a little better, I would be very happy if you could give us a star! And don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments ❤️