[Bf-committers] SoC suggestion: MediaWiki manual
chocolade at extrapuur.nl
Sat Apr 29 11:34:57 CEST 2006
I have been involved a lot with the implementation of the so called
"BlenderWiki" in the early stages. Although I have not been able to
work much on it lately, I have been watching the changes and doing
basic bureaucratic tasks and cleaning up... I have been thinking a lot
about some problems surrounding the use of MediaWiki as a system to
keep the manual up to date.
Here's a list of the most serious problems:
* Page navigation is done in a bit of a primitive way, the
implementation is very week, and it's not very flexible.
* Internationalisation (i18n) is going very fast, and there's no
sensible way to see which pages are out of date. This is probably the
most difficult thing to overcome.
* A system that allows to create dynamic hotkey templates, for example
CTRLSKEY becomes an image of a "CTRL" and an "S" key.
* Offline output formats. Several small projects and scripts are being
used to create PDF
(http://mediawiki.blender.org/index.php/Meta/Wiki_to_PDF) and CHM
(http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=64961), but it could
be miles better when integrated well. Perhaps a wiki interpreter
inside a blender help system?
So my suggestion is to create a mediawiki add-on (or fork) that turns
the current system into a better and more specific Manual tool. This
would use the same syntax and everything we have now, but basically
add some things to the interface - maybe even have two different
interfaces, "editmode" and "objectmode".
* All the navigation (flipping pages) should come from the mediawiki
engine. This could be rule-based (when a page is in the index/table of
contents, it gets a navigation bar on the top), or tag based, which
basically works the other way around: when you add a navigation tag,
it appears in the TOC.
* Somehow, the international versions of the manual should be linked >
that way, when the English page is updated, you could have an
automatically generated message that states the English version of
that specific page is more up to date when you are browsing another
language (e.g. "This page contains newer information (3%) in the
English manual"). Clicking on the percentage would then show the diff
(for editors). This is just an example of how it could work of
course... Also, every page would have an auto generated link to the
foreign version, something that would require a lot of editorial work
in the current system.
* The hotkey template is trivial, but it looks much nicer :o)
* People beg for a downloadable version of the manual, but more
importantly, the system could be made in such a way that the output
would be very useful for a printable version of the manual (which
would be a bit of a nightmare to do currently).
Of course, this is on the edge of being a Blender specific SoC, but it
is on the edge of being a MediaWiki SoC too... I had a look at the
rules & faqs, but I didn't find anything that says you can't do
programming on a supporting tool. Also, if you look at the ideas for
the Creative Commons, it's a bit like this aswell
I don't have the time or the knowledge (MediaWiki is PHP btw) to do
this, but I really see a need for this. Perhaps Chris (or Ton) can
comment? We could still suggest this as a project for the MediaWiki
foundation but encourage people from the Blender community to work on
this > because I can see how a mentor from the MW would be able to
help better than one from the BF...
Ewout / Inktvlek
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