The top priority in the Drupal documentation roadmap that was published earlier this summer was to reorganize the information architecture (IA) of the handbooks to make them easier to use and maintain. Becca Scollan volunteered to take the lead and she has been researching and building out a plan of attack. We are now at a good stage to start doing some work that the whole community can engage in. Instead of trying to tackle the whole thing, our first foray will be limited to the Theming Guide handbook only. We are going to begin looking at and tagging our existing content with an eye towards a new way of thinking about it. We have added some new vocabularies to just the pages in the theming handbook and we need folks to go through and assign terms. Instead of just random tagging, we need to keep some overall concepts in mind. There are guidelines that can be referred to, so that the terms we use will be most useful for the following steps in the process.
Web and Tech
Drupal 7 is coming and it has a ton of UI changes with the D7UX lovefest that has been going on, in addition to a some very different APIs. This time around it'd be extra nice if we had up-to-date documentation when our beloved Drupal 7 hits the streets. Few want to write it, but many sure bitch when it isn't there. ;-) Drupal 6 was a little, um, lacking out of the gate, and it took us quite a while to get even the basics filled out. We'd like to avoid a repeat of that situation. To that end we have started to organize ourselves to make sure to cover all aspects of Drupal 7 from end user to API. We had the first D7 docs meeting on July 10 and another on July 31. We'll have two more, during August, before code freeze and Drupalcon Paris in September. The plan is to start on work we can tackle now, while in thaw, and plan out what we need to do as soon as freeze hits. We'll have two doc sprint days in Paris and we'd like to take full advantage of them for Drupal 7 by having a game plan already set up.
I've been on the go so much that I haven't had the mental space to sit down and articulate a lot of the cool stuff that is going on. A few weeks ago I took part in a new open source conference, Writing Open Source (WOScon). The conference was born from conversations Emma Jane Hogbin and I had last fall, and she took the ideas and made it a reality in Owen Sound, Ontario. It was very small but packed with awesomeness, from people to ideas to food.
A few weeks ago I posted a draft Drupal documentation roadmap on Drupal.org. In that post I attached the full roadmap of goals, but focused on the first two we are tackling: a new information architecture (IA) and recognition/reward for documentation contributors. We had a meeting in IRC shortly after and we discussed a number of questions and ideas.
Too many times I have written a post, got it ready to go, set up my Twitter module to tell the world, and then right after I hit submit, I realize that I forgot to add the Twitter hashtags that will carry my tweet to glory. It occurred to me that maybe I should give myself a reminder by adding some hashtags to my Tweet by default, and the taxonomy terms I am using for the post are a pretty good bet for general usefulness. I whipped up a site-specific hack to do just that and thought others might be interested. It could probably be generalized so that it could be made a patch to Twitter module, but I'm not sure that is a great idea anyway and I don't have the time to even think it through, so have at.
Just one month from today I'm going to get three days of hanging out with brilliant folks from a number of open source projects to talk shop, brainstorm and generally have a great time. I'm heading to the Writing Open Source conference up in Canada from June 12-14. In the true spirit of open source, we're coming together to help each other out. The conference is about collaboration, learning, and getting stuff done. We all have a lot to gain and I hope that anyone who can get there, makes the effort.
I know that we have done the issue queue work as a challenge already, the very first one in January as a matter of fact. We got a lot accomplished in January, so let's do a spring cleanup. The reason I want to come back to the issue queue is two-fold. First, it still needs lots of love, as always, and second, I plan to finally post a beginning docs roadmap, and get some working groups kick-started around some of our big issues this month. We will be creating a lot of new issues in the docs issue queue, so I'd love for us to tidy up our work area before heading in to some ambitious new projects.
Doing documentation in open source is often hard, doing it well is even harder. All projects have to struggle with this in some way and, in true open source community spirit, why don't we get together and help each other? I'm excited to spread the word that the open source world is going to get its very own documentation conference. I've been in on a new conference/unconference/sprint being planned for this June up in the great province of Ontario, Canada, called Writing Open Source. The idea was born last fall between a few conversations that Emma Jane Hogbin had with myself and Belinda Lopez. Emma was all crazy-talking about a whole conference just focusing on documentation and I couldn't resist such an awesome idea. Then the talking turned into planning, we got a space (in a library, no less!), some totally awesomely delicious catering, a domain name and now registration is open!
The Drupal Association (DA) is getting ready to vote on new members next week. We are looking for more people to help carry the Drupal community forward. But what does it mean really? I know when I was accepted last year as a Permanent Member, I had a very fuzzy idea of what I was getting into and what was expected of me. For folks out there that are thinking of applying or wondering if you even want to, I thought I'd share my experience over the last year to try to give a little more insight into how it works and what we need.
This year is already shaping up to be busy and challenging in a lot of ways, but one the biggest challenges I'm chomping for is in the world of documentation. By "world of documentation," I don't just mean Drupal docs either; I'm talking about all Open Source docs. Here is a bit of a glimpse into my visions for 2009. Put yer doc goggles on, cuz I'm on a wild ride.