Five GUADEC Questions

1) Who are you and what do you do?

I am Shaun McCance, GNOME Documentation Team Fearless Leader, maintainer of Yelp, and creator of Mallard. I’ve dipped my toe into just about every piece of the GNOME stack, but at the end of the day, I’m always the guy calling out for better help.

2) How did you get into GNOME?

Way back in 2003, the previous Yelp maintainer sent an email asking for help with Yelp’s XSLT transformations. I’d been wanting to get involved for some time, and it was something I knew how to do, so I jumped at the opportunity. I took over Yelp shortly after that.

A few months later, John Fleck, the previous documentation team lead, decided to step down to pursue other things in life. (Click. Buy. Enjoy.) He nominated me to replace him, and I’ve been the go-to guy for documentation ever since.

3) Why are you coming to GUADEC?

To run the documentation workshop, of course! Seriously, GUADEC is an amazing event and a great chance to get face time with the names I see on IRC all day. I’ll be presenting during the main conference and during the Open Desktop Day in the pre-conference, as well as running the documentation workshop on Tuesday. Hopefully, GUADEC will be the extra push we need to get top-notch help in GNOME 3.

4) In 1 sentence, describe what your most favorite recent GNOME project has been. (Doesn’t have to be yours!)

Banshee rocks my world.

5) Will this be your first time visiting the Netherlands?


I am attending GUADEC

Yelp and the DOM

Xan just landed a patch to get the DOM node from a hit test result in WebKit. This allows Yelp to have meaningful link text for the “Read Later” feature I blogged about earlier. But it also opens the door to all sorts of nice features.

One of the nice things about working with source formats like Mallard and DocBook is that the HTML that gets fed to WebKit is very predictable. In fact, it’s completely under my control. So now, if you use a Mallard code block, Yelp can offer some extra goodness when you right-click:

And if the author was good enough to put the code block inside a listing element (as I have in this example), Yelp will even suggest a filename:

Little features like this make Yelp really pleasant for reading system documentation and programming guides.

Read It Later With Yelp

A common use for tabs in web browsers is to set something aside to read it later. This is sometimes handy in help as well, but tabs are a very heavyweight thing for a help viewer. Instead, I created a “Read Later” list. You can right-click a link and select “Read Link Later”:

The “Read Later” list appears at the bottom of your window, showing you everything you’ve been wanting to read:

The list will have proper link text soon, just as soon as WebKitGTK+ gives me a DOM node for a hit test result. (Hint, hint, lovely WebKit peeps.)

This feels really natural to me. Just like bookmarks and quick search and everything else in Yelp 3, the “Read Later” list is per-document. So you won’t see that Gnumeric function reference you’ve been wanting to look over when you’re trying to figure out how to get Banshee to recognize your portable media player. And one of the really nice benefits over tabs is that you can close Yelp and come back to it later, and your list will still be there.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States
This work by Shaun McCance is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States.