So, the hackfest is over but I hope you are interested in the results. You should already have read some rumours on Planet GNOME.

Planing phase

Before we actually started to write documentation or improve our tools we clearly needed to define our goals and our target audience. The target audience broke down to various types of developers:

  • Students/Hobbyist
  • Freelancers
  • Companies (products and in-house development)
  • Web developers
  • Teachers

All of those have different motivation and goals but we concluded that we can still fit most of these with the same documentation. Teachers were a really interesting side-discussion as it would be great if GNOME development would be tought in schools and universities but we didn’t know how to dive deeper into that topic.

The other difficult thing was to define which are the components of the GNOME Development Platform. This belongs a bit to the GNOME OS discussion and was clearly something we couldn’t solve in that room but we ended up mostly copying from the release-team proposal here, making some additions.

Central starting point for GNOME Development Platform

Daniel pointed out that here and there people asked him where they can find information about getting started on the GNOME Platform and he couldn’t really point them somewhere.

In the discussion we looked into various development sites (Apple, Django, Microsoft, etc.) to see how they solve that problem. We concluded that such a page is about 50% marketing and 50% information. It has to serve mainly two purposes:

  • Attract people to GNOME development
  • Convince managers that GNOME is the way to go

As there is no better place than we put it there. What you see there is no mock-up but an actual screenshot of the site on Fréderics local webserver. The site itself is mostly finished in a joint work between Phil (html mockup), me (Javascript for carousel and search), Andreas (awesome design) and Fréderic (ugly technical details…). It depends on some other stuff in the redesign process and some final polishing to really go online and it the information targets GNOME 3 only. It is available in the web-devel-2 module.


  • Fun to follow while teaching limited subsets of the platform
  • Show various interesting and useful technologies (no “Hello World”)
  • Complete them in your (extended) lunch-break

We wrote five different tutorials at the hackfest and tested them with our GTK+ newbies. In the end, all those tutorials should be available in the five major programming languages (C, C++, Python, Vala, Javascript). If you have other interesting ideas to show off in about 100 lines of code or want to convert one example to your programming language, please contact the documentation team.

As we didn’t want to annoy people with build system issues we decided to use anjuta for the tutorials. Once Shaun adds expandable notes to mallard we might extend the tutorials with some notes how to do the same on the command-line. The tutorials live in the gnome-devel-docs module. Please note that they haven’t been fully reviewed, yet.

There is also draft documentation for installting the required packages to start GNOME development. Please complete this for your favourite distribution as there are only stubs except for Fedora by now.

Problems we couldn’t solve (yet?)

Best pratices: We really also need some more in-deep guides for application development. That should cover basic things (like 5 things every GNOME developer should know) to more in-deep things (explaining the GObject-framework, desktop integration, etc.)

Deployment: This is a non-trivial thing on Linux/etc. as there is no AppStore and also no ecosystem like Windows where you just ship installers. We don’t have an ultimate solution here so what we though about was writing an Anjuta plugin interacting with the OpenSuSE build service to build packages for the popular distributions, while auto-generated debian/ or .spec-files at least for the case where the package contains a single application. Some people pointed out that having a build service instance on GNOME infrastructure for the applications moduleset would be great.

Up-to-date versions of tools: Neither Fedora nor Ubuntu ship the current version of Anjuta which really needs to be fixed. The Fedora guys seem to take the bug report serious though and Phil promised to talk to the Ubuntu people so this will hopefully be solved soon. OpenSuSE is the shiny example to do the right thing here by shipping 2.32.1.

Glade: It’s completly broken for the moment and this is really a show-stopper for 3.0. I hope we will be able to fix that but that really needs people with a lot of knowledge on gtk+. Hopefully Tristan will be able to donate some time on this and others will help him.

Other stuff that happend

  • Frederic put a lot of work into
  • Phil converted the HIG draft to mallard
  • Andre (who actually just happend to be around…) started to convert the evolution docs to mallard
  • Konstantin just happend to ring on Sunday morning because he read about the hackfest on Planet Ubuntu and was instantly recruited by the documentation team. It’s nice to see random interesting people showing up!

I hope everybody had four fun and productive days in Berlin and that things will continue to improve. Thanks again to Openismus and especially Kat for the fantastic hosting and the GNOME Foundation for making this happen. Thanks to everybody who attended. Just remember that people don’t mind having 22-hour flights just to attend a four day hackfest – that’s amazing commitment!

2 Responses to “Development Documentation and Tools Hackfest – wrap up”

  1. korbe Says:

    Good job. :D

    Is it planned to have a Video section with developers conferences (videos, slides and exemple of source code) in streaming and download and/or live video from conferences at GUADEC and/or FOSDEM ?

  2. Philip Chimento Says:

    This all sounds like very exciting work! What you said about deployment made me realize that you might be able to use some of the work I have done on this problem for my application, Inform 7. I have set up my and so that building a Fedora or Ubuntu package is just a matter of unpacking the source tarball on a Fedora or Ubuntu system, doing ./configure –enable-rpm or –enable-deb, and then make rpm or make deb.

    If this sounds useful, I’d be happy to contribute – perhaps I can adapt it to the form of an Anjuta plugin or a project skeleton.

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