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Which is the best why to go when there are no documentation?

For example how do you learn business rules?

I have done the following steps:

  1. Since we are using a ORM tool I have printed a copy of database schema where I can see relations between objects.
  2. I have made a list of short names/table names that I will get explained.

The project is client/server enterprise application using MVVM pattern.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Quick note: If you are using an ORM, maybe printing the object model will be better.

When I have to read a project without documentation or comment, I do it myself. I assume you can't talk to the former developers.

As I browse the source code and try to understand, I comment the code and update a general architecture document.

Sometimes I'm wrong, so I have to go back and so on. But at the end, commenting and writing general doc is just like taking notes, so it's painless and very useful.

Doing it with one colleague is much more productive.

That particular task can be very painful if you convince yourself it will be painful, which most of us will instinctively do. The idea is to imagine yourself as an explorer rather than the boss servant. The more it's hard to find the secrets, the more fun it is.

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+1 For "The idea is to imagine yourself as an explorer rather than the boss servant." Good points! There is a property that many employers seek, that is, the new employ is self-propelled. It’s also appreciative for many colleagues that you don’t bombard them with questions. When it comes to such projects it’s hard to not ask questions. I guess the explorer and writer is a better approach here. –  Amir Rezaei Jan 13 '11 at 7:47
    
At work, we created an internal wiki for documentation. We never realized we needed it that badly until we finally had it. Imagine all collective knowledge about what little people knew about how the program worked giving a fairly accurate picture of what it does. Not suggesting for you to make your own wiki, but some system should be adopted. –  Neil Jan 13 '11 at 9:32

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