GNOME team at the Open Help sprints

The GNOME documentation team will be at the Open Help in Cininnati, OH, USA on the 14th to 18th June. If you are interested in contributing to GNOME documentation, drop by the conference to meet the team! The team will be working on the system administrator guide during the sprint days.

The GNOME Documentation Team is having a meeting tomorrow, June 24th at 19:00 UTC in the #docs IRC channel on irc.gnome.org.

We will be discussing which topics should be added to the new desktop help for GNOME 3.0 over the next few weeks.

If you’ve ever wanted to get involved in writing documentation, now is a great time to come learn and help out.  With the shift to topic based help, you can learn to write small articles on a specific topic using Mallard, the new XML schema for GNOME help which is very easy to learn.

See you there!

Milo and I will be running an all-day documentation workshop during the GUADEC pre-conference on Tuesday, July 27th. This is an exciting opportunity for you to work on our documentation, take part in collaborative planning, and learn best practices from experienced documentation writers. This is an unstructured workshop with lots of one-on-one guidance. You do not have to attend all day. Come when you like and leave when you’re done.

The workshop addresses both user and developer documentation. We will have a list of topics for both. Choose a topic that interests you to plan, write, and review. Or bring in your own application or library to document. We will help you plan effective content, write clearly and concisely, and review what you’ve written to make sure it meets your audience’s needs.

Documentation is important to the success of a free software project. I hope you’ll join us and learn how you can provide better documentation.

We’ve had quite a bit of activity on new Mallard-based documentation this release cycle.  I want to thank the heroes who’ve made this happen.  I would now like people to review others’ help documents.  We all make mistakes, and the best way to find and fix those mistakes is to get more eyeballs.

According to my tools, we have the following Mallard help files ready for 2.30:

  • Empathy Instant Messenger (empathy)
  • GNOME Tetravex (gnome-games)
  • GCalctool Help (gcalctool)
  • Time Tracking Help (hamster-applet)

Please look for spelling and grammar mistakes, awkward style, and hard-to-read sentences and instructions. Send your reviews to gnome-doc-list@gnome.org as text or git diffs.  If you have any questions, email the list or stop by the #docs channel on irc.gnome.org.

The first Desktop Help Summit will be held this March in Chicago, IL USA on March 20th and 21st, organized by Shaun McCance.  The Desktop Summit is an informal gathering of people who work on desktop and application help from both upstream projects and downstream distributions:

  • GNOME
  • KDE
  • XFCE
  • Ubuntu
  • Fedora
  • Sun
  • … and even more are invited!

If you are interested in sharing your experiences in writing desktop help or learning more about application help visit the Desktop Help Summit wiki page or contact Shaun for more information.

The Desktop Help Summit will be held in Chicago, IL on Saturday and Sunday, March 20th and 21st, with space graciously provided by the Institute of Design.

The Gnome documentation team will hold a team meeting this Sunday the 10th at 18:00 UTC. We will discuss Mallard page templates, the accessibility documentation, and plans for projectmallard.org, plus anything else that people want to discuss.  Feel free to add to the agenda on the wiki.

Please plan to attend, whether you’re an experienced documentation person or not.  The documentation team is a great way to get involved with Gnome, and we have a lot of exciting things happening right now.

The Meeting Minutes and the IRC log from our meeting this past Sunday have been posted.

We discussed which documents are being worked on for the 2.30 cycle, incorporating accessibility documentation in to user documentation, and planning GNOME Games documentation updates.

The GNOME Games planning is interesting in that with Mallard and our vision of topic based support is how user help should be built into games.  We brainstormed the following topics that should be in each games’ help file:

  • Gameplay (Introduction)
  • Basic Gameplay and winning scenario
  • Strategy
  • Multiple pages if necessary
  • Multiplayer
  • Tips and Tricks

Note the topics: “Strategy”, “Basic Gameplay”, “Multiplayer” and “Tips and Tricks”.  This is what topic based help is all about!  Rather than writing help focused on how to start a game and the basic controls, we aim to provide users with the winning conditions for the games and the strategies behind them.

Our next meeting will be November 29th.  See you there!

The GNOME Documentation Team will be having a meeting this Sunday, November 8th at 18:00 UTC in #docs on GIMPNet IRC.

This meeting is a working session focused on GNOME 2.30 planning, including a discussion of what documents are a priority for the 2.30 cycle and what topics are the focus of a new and re-written GNOME User Guide.  (Don’t call it a user guide!)

More information is available on the Docs team wiki.

See you there!

The meeting minutes from the Docs team meeting on October 4th have been published.

Our next meeting is Sunday, October 18th at 17:00 UTC.  We are proposing to meet bi-weekly to work on GNOME 3.0 documentation, including the user guide, accessibility guide and porting other GNOME apps to Mallard.

In other news, ProjectMallard.org is now live and over time will become a repository for information on using the Mallard language.  Mallard is more than just a XML language for GNOME, it is our hope that other projects, desktop environments and more use Mallard.

The GNOME Documentation Project has 2 upcoming meetings this week:

  • Thursday, August 27th 13:00 UTC:  Community Meeting.  Community Meetings are open question and answer sessions where members of the Doc Team will be present to answer any question you might have.  Want to learn how to get involved?  What is Mallard?  What is the Doc Team doing for the upcoming GNOME 2.28 release?  Now is the time to come find out!
  • Sunday, August 30th 17:00 UTC:  Team Meeting.  The last Sunday of each month the Doc Team has a more formal team meeting to discuss current projects, goals, and future planning.  The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the status of the new Empathy help and decide on which tasks we should prioritize for the upcoming Gnome 2.28 release.

Meetings are held in the #docs channel on GIMPNet IRC.  See you there!