Guide

Getting Started: Docassemble Developers

Guide

Getting Started: Docassemble Developers

Docassemble is a free open-source expert system. Use Documate's no-code builder to create Docassemble interviews without needing to deploy it yourself or learn code

Docassemble For Developers And Non-Developers: Getting Started

Docassemble is a platform for creating mobile-friendly web applications --- called “interviews” --- that ask one question at a time in order to reach an “end point” --- the creation of a document, an agreement, a presentation, or something similar.  One of the proven ways to increase productivity while avoiding the cost of new hires is document automation.  Through automation, documents and workflows can be handled at great cost savings.  This article briefly summarizes the automation advantages to be gained by the interaction of the Docassemble platform, which requires coding / developer knowledge and some technical computer skills, and the Documate platform, which does not require any coding or developer experience.

What Is Docassemble?

Docassemble is a free, open-source expert system built by Jonathan Pyle for building guided interviews, which are the foundation of document automation, document assembly, and work-flow productivity.  

Based on Python, YAML, and Markdown, Docassemble is primarily used at this time by lawyers and legal professionals to create interviews in order to generate public facing documents.  However, it can also be used by anyone who desires to automate template-based documents or process-oriented work.  It is highly customizable through code, CSS, Javascript, and HTML.  While you can run Docassemble on your desktop or laptop, its utility is most effective when set up in a cloud hosting service such as AWS.

In sum, Docassemble requires some programming and coding skills, and some technical knowledge, because it also requires configuring a web server to set up the platform on a service such as AWS.

How does Documate help you build Docassemble interviews without learning AWS or Python?

Documate, which is a no-code document automation platform that uses the Docassemble platform on the backend, is the easiest way for non-developers and non-coders to learn how to create Docassemble interviews and, in turn, automate documents and workflows.  Among other things, Documate helps with this by formatting your Word (.docx) documents with two no-code “syntaxes” known as Jinja and Mako.  Once Documate does this, you can quickly and easily customize and automate your legal documents and workflows.  Another feature of Documate is that it allows you to automate both document creation and document assembly with a customized level of personal oversight.

In addition, Documate sets up your AWS instance and subdomain for you, and allows you to either use Documate’s no-code editor or, if you prefer, modify the YAML and Python code directly in the interface yourself.  More on this below.

Finally, Documate also provides 7-day a week customer support to help you get up and running.

Get Started on Documate

How Can Documate Help?

First, Documate helps make it easy to create Docassemble interviews, and create automated documents and workflows, without needing to use any code.  Second, Documate handles the technical aspects of setting up your instance and subdomain in AWS.  Documate’s no-code document automation platform and its absence of technical requirements for set up is appealing to many lawyers and professionals.

How Can Documate Help With Getting Docassemble Up And Running?

Because Docassemble is a web application, one of the hardest parts of getting started with Docassemble for most lawyers and professionals relates to the technical details of setting up your own server as part of correctly deploying Docassemble on the internet.

For these reasons, the easiest way to set up Docassemble is to use a Docassemble-based third-party service that works with Docassemble’s interview development and coding tools.

This is one of the ways that Documate automates the process.  Specifically, Documate will automatically spin up an AWS server for you, so that you don't need to learn the technical details of setting up a Docker instance or hosting.

Documate deploys a dedicated instance and database for you on AWS with the click of a button (it takes about 10 minutes for your server to be set up for you).

Get Started on Documate

A Word About Coding And Formatting

As part of its backend use of Docassemble, Documate has no-code resources for non-developers who don’t want to touch a line of code. For example, our interview builder allows you to generate dynamic questionnaires without code, and our Word (.docx) add-in allows you to set up and choose complex logic functions, calculations, and loops --- all without any code.

Meanwhile, if you do choose to build your Docassemble interviews using code, instead of using Documate’s no-code add-in, Documate still has plenty of resources for developers and coders to help you create interviews and to automate.  For example, Documate will guide you through setting up variables in Jinja format in your documents.

Coding Resources For Docassemble Developers

Jinja Guide Part I: Simple variables and conditional phrases

Jinja Guide Part II: Conditional paragraphs

Jinja Guide Part III: Performing calculations

Jinja Guide Part IV: Numerical calculations

Jinja Guide Part V: Formatting words

Other References Resources

Website

Documentation

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