I’ve just released Yelp 2.27.1, Now With More Ducks. This coincides with gnome-doc-utils 0.17.1, Also Now With More Ducks.  This marks the first release with Mallard support built in.  And this marks the end of the boring part of the release announcement.

This is a huge shift in how we approach, plan, write, and generally work with documentation.  The entire community needs to be aware of what’s happening and how it affects them.  Fellow hackers, please skip to the bottom for information on how this affects you.

Mallard is a new[1] documentation format that is geared towards topic-oriented help.  While you could, in theory, just convert all of your DocBook documentation to Mallard, what you would end up with is a document that is the worst of both worlds.  Writing topic-based help requires a new way of thinking about how we present information to our readers.

Mallard is uniquely designed from the ground up to support downstream modification and plugin-based help systems with little to no patching.  The dynamic organization structure of Mallard was designed with our help in mind, addressing the challenges we face as an upstream provider.

If you’re interested in writing, editing, reviewing, or otherwise contributing to our documentation, please get in touch with our team.  You can email use at  gnome-doc-list@gnome.org or join us in the #docs channel on irc.gnome.org.  Also, check out our brand new project blog:  http://blogs.gnome.org/docs/

We will be holding regular community meetings.  Stay tuned for more details.

If you are a maintainer or active developer, know that we are coming for your documentation.  It might not be today, but it’s on our radar.  If you or someone on your team handles your documentation independently of our team, we still want to be in contact to help them produce better help.  Writing is not a one-person task.

We hope that developers will be cooperative with our team as we try to provide them with better help files to make their software better for their users.

We also hope that more people from the greater community, including our downstream  communities, will get involved with our team.  We are doing some truly exciting things right now, and we’d love to share the excitement.