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How to Create an Engaging README for Your Data Science Project on Githubby@davisdavid
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7,363 reads

How to Create an Engaging README for Your Data Science Project on Github

by Davis DavidJune 8th, 2022
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The README file is the very first item that developers examine when they access your Data Science project on GitHub. Without this file, it will be impossible for other developers, data scientists or your teammates to understand and use your project (package, API, software, library, application, e.t.c) Readme.so is a simple online drag and drop editor that can help you quickly create the README. The tool was developed by Katherine Peterson and it’s also free for anyone to use and create the readme file.

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The README file is the very first item that developers examine when they access your Data Science project hosted on GitHub. Every developer should begin their exploration of your Data Science project by reading the README file. This will tell them everything they need to know, including how to install and use your project, how to contribute (if they have suggestions for improvement), and everything else.

If you release your Data Science project on GitHub, it is essential to add a README file to the project. Without this file, it will be impossible for other developers, data scientists or your teammates to understand and use your project (package, API, software, library, application, e.t.c).

In this article, you will learn:

  • What is the README file?
  • Why is it important to include a README file in your Data Science project?
  • How to create one for your Data Science project with readme.so

What is a README file?

A README file is a simple file that introduces your project to the users or other developers. It contains the information necessary to understand what the project is about. It also guides the readers on how to get started with your project.

You can write a README file in any text format, but the most common one on Github is using markdown (e.g.README.md). You are not limited to writing your README file in markdown format; you can also write it in a plain text file (e.g. README.txt) or document (e.g. README.doc).

Example of README files from different Data Science projects on Github.

You need to create a README file and write all the important information before sharing your project with your coworkers or before making it available to the public (e.g., an open-source project).

Note: It is recommended that you place your README file in the root directory of your Data Science project. This will make it much simpler for someone who is unfamiliar with your project to access and read the file.

Why Is Important to Include a README File in Your Project?

You could be asking yourself why it is necessary to spend time writing a README file for the data science project you are working on. The following are some of the most compelling arguments that should persuade you that doing so is obligatory:

  1. It has the ability to provide answers to questions that your users will most likely have, such as the installation process.
  2. It helps your data science project stand out from other projects available on GitHub (especially when your project is open-source).
  3. It helps other developers interested in contributing to your data science project know where to start.
  4. Reopening a Data Science project years later and finding a README file is a great way to refresh your memory on what the project was about. Let’s say you started a project in 2017 and want to keep it updated with new functionality in 2022.How to Create README File With readme.so

How to Create README File With readme.so

Readme.so is a simple online drag and drop editor that can help you quickly create the README file for your data science project in a short period of time with its easy interface. The tool was developed by Katherine Peterson and it’s also completely free for anyone to use and create the readme file.

Readme.so supports many languages, including English, Indonesia, French, Swahili, Spanish, Italiano, Filipino and many others. Readme.so has a lot of sections that you can easily include in the readme file such as:-

  • Title and Description
  • API reference
  • Authors
  • Acknowledgments
  • Contributing
  • Demo
  • License
  • Logo

You can also re-arrange the sections you have selected the way you want by clicking the dots on the left of the section and drag to the position that you want.

The following steps will help you to create a README file on readme.so.

1. Start a New README

You can create a new readme in the readme.so by clicking the start button and it will open the online editor page.

The editor page has three panels that can help you to create the readme file.

(a) Sections panel

This is a panel located on the left side of the editor page which contains a list of various sections that you can select and modify the content the way you want. Each section has a specific objective. For example, the Authors section will show details of various authors involved in the project.

(b) Editor Panel

This panel is located in the middle of the editor page. It will show the content of the sections you have selected for your readme file. This is the only place where you can edit/modify the content based on your data science project.

( c) Preview panel

This panel is located on the right side of the editor page. It will show how the content you have modified on the editor page in a markdown format.

2. Select a Section

To select a section is very simple, you have to click the section you want to use in your readme file and it will automatically be added to the list of all sections you have selected.

The image above shows that I have selected the Title and Description section and Installation section.

3. Edit the Content

After selecting the section(s), you can edit its contents on the editor panel (located in the middle of the editor page).

For example, you can add the Title and Description as follow:

Title: Swahili Tweet Sentiment Analysis App

Description: A simple app to analyze the sentiment of Swahili tweets.

Another section I have selected is Installation, you can modify its content based on your Data Science project. For example

Description: Install my project’s required python packages with pip

code block:

cd my-project
pip install requirements.txt

4. Re-Arrange the Sections

Readme.so allows you to re-arrange the sections by clicking on the dotted lines to the left of the section, and then you can drag the section up or down to the position you want.

Here’s how the sections looked before they were moved around.

Here’s how the sections look after they’ve been moved around.

5. Download the Final README File

After you have finished creating your README file, you will be able to download it by clicking the download button located in the upper right corner of the screen.

You can proceed to add the README file that you downloaded to your Github project.

Conclusion

A good README file should be:

  • Regularly updated with new information if you have made changes in your project. For example, realizing a new version.
  • Self-explanatory means that the person reading your readme file doesn’t need to look up anything else to understand it.

This article taught you why a readme file is important for your data science project. Also, you’ve learned how to use readme.so, an online editor, to make a README file quickly and in a short amount of time.

If you learned something new or enjoyed reading this article, please share it so that others can see it. Until then, see you in the next post!

You can also find me on Twitter @Davis_McDavid.