2015 Winter Docs Hackfest

I’m here in lovely Cambridge for the winter GNOME docs hackfest. This time, the docs team is sharing a room with the Developer Experience (DX) hackfest, which provides us with a great opportunity to reach out to GNOME developers for expert’s advice.

Yesterday, Christian Hergert presented a new GNOME IDE in development, called Builder:

Builder comes with a feature-rich text editor that can also be useful for documentation writers who often author documents in XML.

Cosimo Cecchi showed us some of the downstream changes the Endless team made to gnome-user-docs and gnome-getting-started-docs. For me, personally, the most interesting part was their feedback on the GNOME docs style and content. Endless seem to target their product to a slightly different customer, still, they appear to have data on their users that the upstream project lacks. The GNOME help suite, written by different authors and in different style over the course of many years, is actually targeted at multiple audiences, spanning from quite inexperienced desktop end-users to skilled users who need to troubleshoot VMs in GNOME Boxes.

Shaun McCance showcased some of the cool features of Ducktype, a new lightweight syntax for Mallard. Although still a work in progress, this new syntax brings to the world of Mallard docs the flexibility of formats such as AsciiDoc or Markdown, which are now gaining strong popularity in both the developer and technical communication communities.

The docs team focused on squashing the bugs filed against GNOME Help and application help, and on content improvements in different areas of the desktop documentation stack. Jim Campbell worked on changing the structure and layout of Files help. He also worked with Jana Svarova on VPN docs for the GNOME sysadmin guide. Jana went through the docs feedback ML archives, responding to user comments and filing new bugs. Kat worked on application help with Jim and fixed a couple of bugs in gnome-user-docs. I worked on triaging docs bugs, and then on reviewing and updating some parts of GNOME Help and the sysadmin guide.

I would like to thank Collabora for providing the venue and catering, Kat and Philip Withnall for running the hackfests, and the GNOME Foundation for sponsoring me.

It’s been great to see old and new faces from the community, now off to Brussels for FOSDEM, then back to Brno for DevConf!

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L10n & Docs at GUADEC 2014

At this year’s GUADEC, there will be a number of sessions relevant to people interested in GNOME localization and documentation:

  • On Monday, Kat will give an update from the docs team called Documentation: state of the union. Her talk will detail what has happened in the documentation realm since GUADEC 2013, so be sure to attend.
  • Team Reports on Saturday will include localization and documentation.
  • There will be a screenshot automation BoF on July 30th. Vadim Rutkovsky from Red Hat’s Desktop QE has some sweet surprise for you, translators!
  • Finally, on July 30th and 3Ist, Daiki Ueno and Alexandre Franke are planning to organize an i18n hackfest to work on translation tools, spellcheckers, dictionaries, input methods, and related fields.

I’ll be arriving tomorrow evening with Christian Schaller and other desktop people from Red Hat Czech and leaving on the 31st – hope to see you all in Strasbourg!

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Open Help Conference 2014

This is a belated post on the Open Help Conference in Cincinnati, OH that I had the chance (thanks for sponsoring me, Red Hat!) to attend this year. It took place from June 14-15 at a nice venue provided by Garfield Suites Hotel. The Conference was followed by the GNOME Docs Sprint from June 16-18.

The Open Help Conference is much smaller in attendance than some of the large industry conferences for technical writers out there. This actually allows the attendees to actively participate in many talks and discussions, similarly to what you can usually experience at unconferences. It was the Conference’s primary focus on docs communities that made attending each of the sessions very relevant to those of us who work on open source documentation.

Along with people representing other open source companies and communities (this included Eric Shepherd from Mozilla or Michael Downey from OpenMRS), there were also two fellow Red Hatters attending (Rich Bowen and David King). We had quite a few people from GNOME Docs, too. The Conference was organized by Shaun McCance who did a fantastic job running the whole event as he found time not only to take care of the venue and catering, but also of the social events on both conference days that took place in his lovely hometown of Cincinnati. Thanks again, Shaun!

You can check #openhelp and Michael Downey’s excellent notes to learn more about the different talks and sessions held at OH.

Open Help Conference 2014 Hackfest

The Open Help Conference 2014 Hackfest followed an unwritten tradition in the GNOME Documentation Project of having two GNOME docs hackfests or sprints annually. Unlike the sprint held earlier this year in Norwich, UK where the team worked mostly on updating the user help for the upcoming GNOME 3.12 release, the Cincinnati hackfest focused on finishing the GNOME System Administration Guide. We managed to completely rework the overall structure of the guide and redesigned the index page for the guide, following the earlier design mockups prepared for GNOME Help by Allan Day.

The restructured System Administration Guide now features the following main groups of topics:

  • User Settings (Lockdown, Pre-seed user defaults, Pre-seed email/calendar/groupware, Appearance, Setup)
  • Login Settings (Appearance, Session, Management)
  • Network (NetworkManager, etc.)
  • Software (Apps, Extensions, Management)
  • Troubleshooting / diagnosis

More details can be found on the Guide planning page.

Other things that caught my attention during the conference:

Duck Pages

Shaun’s plans for the future include an additional input format for Mallard-based documentation – so called Duck pages. A Duck page is essentially a plain text format based on Mallard XML that doesn’t use the often distracting XML syntax. Duck pages should make it easy to author single-sourced topic-based documentation with a Markdown or AsciiDoc-like syntax. Unlike Markdown and others, Duck pages aim to not only allow for quick creation of rich-formatted docs, but also to contain data necessary to integrate the document with the rest of your Mallard-based documents.

Blip

Shaun also presented another tool that he has been working on: Blip. It is a web application to monitor documentation projects that use SCM repositories. Some examples include:

Blip lets you not only browse through individual modules in your documentation project, but it also mines data to present information about contributors, their commit or mailing list activity, and much more.

  • An example of a project profile with complete data on branches, commits, authors, included documents, and more: Gnome User Documentation
  • An example of of a user profile with personal stats: Shaun McCance

GNOME Docs Hackfest 2014, Norwich, Day 2

Today is the second day of the GNOME Documentation Hackfest 2014. A group of community documentation writers is here in rainy Norwich, UK to work on getting GNOME’s help updated for the upcoming 3.12 release.

Today I am going through the bugs filed against the system-admin-guide in gnome-user-docs, and putting together a list of topics that are not yet updated or covered in that guide. Andre already updated or closed many of the bugs (thanks, mate!), so the bug pile for the guide now looks slightly better.

There is also some not-yet-upstreamed system administration material written for GNOME 3.8 and RHEL7 Beta that we published as a part of RHEL7 Beta product documentation. Since the 3.8 upstream release, there have not been many major changes in terms of what we want to have covered in the GNOME system admin guide, so I will be syncing our downstream docs with the upstream guide and updating the docs as needed. The goal is to release a reasonably complete system administration guide for GNOME 3.12, mostly following the outline detailed on the original planning page.

The hackfest wiki page highlights some of the other areas that we plan to work on this week.

I would like to thank Kat & Dave for organizing the hackfest and letting us stay at theirs for the week. Thank you so much! I would also like to thank the University of East Anglia for providing the venue, and the GNOME Foundation for sponsoring me to be here.

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Translation BoF at GUADEC: Pictures

Gil, Andre and Rūdolfs already blogged about Monday’s Translation BoF / meeting at GUADEC 2012. We had quite a few items on our agenda list to discuss as you can see from the output of our brainstorming session on this wiki page put together by Gil.

Around ten people attended the meeting, with a (not so) surprisingly strong presence of Galician translators. All in all, this was an excellent opportunity to meet other GNOME translators in person after we have been working together on the same translation project for several years.

Enough said, let’s have a look at some pictures now.

Pictures taken by Florian – thanks!

And big thanks to the GUADEC 2012 organizers who really did an excellent job! They surely set high standards for the GUADECs to follow. So, see you in Brno or Stuttgart next year! ;-)

 

Brno Doc Sprint Update

If you are contributing to GNOME documentation, probably you already read about the Brno Doc Sprint (and the Developer Conference) that takes place in Brno, February 17-21, 2012, at the Faculty of Informatics at Masaryk University (from February 17-18) and at the Red Hat Czech Office (from February 19-21).

For those of you attending this documentation event, the organizers have special arrangements with one of the hotels near both doc sprint venues to provide the attendees a discounted rate. See the Developer Conference wiki page for more details.

To be able to receive the discounted rate, please confirm your attendance by January 9, 2012 on the doc sprint wiki page.

Please also remember to fill in your arrival and depart dates, and, since the special rate is for double-bed rooms, your roommate.

See you all in Brno!

The Developer Conference 2012 poster

Czech community events

Just a follow-up to my previous post on the GNOME 3 Launch Party in Prague and two notes with regard to my past and future talks on FLOSS community localization.

Registration opened for the GNOME 3 Launch Party in Prague

Jiří set up a simple registration form and we ask all attendants to register. This is in particular so organizers will have some idea as to how many people can be expected for the first part of our party with talks, and also for booking the pub afterwards.

The registration form is in Czech (almost), nonetheless, but it shouldn’t be hard to submit it even if you don’t understand the language: fill in your given name and surname in the text box, then remember to tick the checkboxes below, the first one is for the first part of the party, and the second for the social event. (Yes, the Submit button and the “Required” label don’t seem to be localizable in the Google Docs interface.)

LinuxAlt 2010

I gave a talk on localization at the LinuxAlt 2010 community conference which was held in Brno, at the Brno University of Technology, Faculty of Information Technology, on November 6-7, 2010. Similarly to the one at the conference in Zilina last summer, this talk was mainly about the i18n/l10n basics, translation community building within the smaller and bigger projects alike, about usual translation workflows and tools, be it on the desktop or in the cloud, translation outsourcing, crowdsourcing and other buzzwords everybody loves.

Slides and audio record are available (in Czech). There is no recorded stream for download yet.

Open Source Conference / LinuxExpo 2011

The biggest FLOSS event in the Czech Republic, at least as per attendance, will be held on April 19, 2011 in Prague, at the U Hájků Congress Center. My talk on localization has been accepted recently, but the conference schedule is not available yet.

So if you will be around Prague either on April 9 or April 19, don’t hesitate to catch me. I always appreciate a chance to meet up and talk to people who are passionate about FLOSS communities, localization and documentation. I swear I’m rather chit-chatty when it comes to these things!

GNOME 3 Launch Party in Prague

In January, Jiří Eischmann started organizing the GNOME 3 Launch Party in the Czech Republic, with the obvious goal to celebrate the major release of GNOME 3, to promote and talk about the next generation of the GNOME Desktop in front of the Czech audience interested in FLOSS and technology generally.

A rather informal event in its form, organized by the Czech Translation Team, will be hosted on Saturday, April 9, 2011, at the Student Facilities in Strahov (Strahov Dormitory Campus), Block 7, Prague (Areál kolejí Strahov, blok 7, Praha 6). See Google Maps.

We will start at 15:00 with the following talks:

  • Tomáš Bžatek & Tomeu Vizoso: GNOME 3 from users’ and developers’ perspective
  • Vojtěch Trefný: Unity as an alternative way
  • André Klapper: Release and bug management in GNOME (in English)
  • Petr Kovář: Czech localization

Visitors will be offered fresh Live USB Images running GNOME 3 based on Fedora. After the conference part (around 19:00), there will be a social event/informal meeting in a near pub.

There may be some further news from organizers regarding this event, so follow the appropriate Czech GNOME 3 Launch Party page, or this blog.

Come to visit us and join the GNOME 3 fun in Prague!

GNOME 3 Poster