Getting Started


CodeTrail helps engineering teams effortlessly capture and update their knowledge, ensuring that everyone is always on the same page. We do this by bringing documentation closer to the codebase, making it easy to write and update documentation as you work.


Use Cases

CodeTrail helps engineering teams communicate more effectively by making it easy to write and update internal documentation. Here are some of the ways you can use CodeTrail:

  • Onboard new hires with personalized onboarding Stories
  • Document your codebase with inline documentation
  • Discuss and document design decisions with one-off Stories
  • Get feedback on your code with code review Stories

All of these use cases benefit from proximity to the codebase, which is why CodeTrail is built to be integrated into your development workflow from day one.

Setting up CodeTrail

Creating an Account

To get started with CodeTrail, you'll need to create an account. You can do this by visiting codetrail.iologo. Enter your email address and click Continue or use GitHub to sign in.

Creating or joining a Workspace

Once you have created your account, you will be redirected to the dashboardlogo. If you have been invited to a workspace, click the link in the email you received. Otherwise, you can create a new workspace by clicking Create Workspace.

Installing CodeTrail on your machine

To compose CodeTrail Stories, you need to download the CodeTrail Desktop App. You can download it for Mac, Windows, or Linux herelogo.

To display Annotations next to your code, you need to install the CodeTrail IDE Extension for your IDE. For VS Code, you can download the extension here. For IntelliJ-based IDEs, you can download the extension herelogo.

Composing and Playing Stories

Once CodeTrail Desktop is running and connected to your IDE (you can check this by clicking the CodeTrail icon in your system tray or menu bar, then clicking Connected IDEs).

Composing your first Story

To compose a Story in your IDE, navigate to a location in your codebase you want to document. Select the code you want to document, then right-click and select CodeTrail: Annotate... or press Ctrl+Shift+A (or Cmd+Shift+A on Mac) for VS Code. This will open the Annotate window.

After you have added some content to your Annotation, you can click Add and continue to add more Annotations to your Story, or Complete Story to finalize and publish your Story.

You can add multiple Annotations from multiple repositories to a single Story. Each Annotation will remember the repository, branch, and commit hash it was created from, so you can always go back and see the code as it was when the Annotation was created.

Once you're ready to publish your Story, click Complete Story. CodeTrail will open the Story in your browser, where you can review it before publishing it to your Workspace. To publish your Story, click Publish, enter a title and confirm. Your Story will now be visible to everyone in your Workspace.

You can copy a permanent link to your Story by clicking Copy Link. This can be added to your knowledgebase, pull request, issue tracker, Slack, or anywhere else you want to share your Story.

Playing a Story

To play a story, open the Story link in your browser, then click Open in Desktop. If this is the first time you have played a Story for this repository, you will need to locate the repository on your machine. If you have not cloned the repository yet, follow the instructions to clone it. Once you have done this, CodeTrail will open the Story in your IDE of choice.


We use industry-standard encryption (AES-256 for data at rest, TLS 1.3 for data in transit) to ensure that your data is safe and secure (including Stories & Annotations). Additionally, row-level security ensures that only workspace-specific data is accessible to workspace members. We never share your data with third parties.

If you require additional security, you can host CodeTrail on your own infrastructure. Let us knowlogo if you are interested in this option.

Additional Resources