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user feedback re: crappy gnustep website layout

From: Alex Perez
Subject: user feedback re: crappy gnustep website layout
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 2004 17:18:29 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 0.8 (X11/20040913)

we really need to fix this, but first we must come to some consensus. Currently I think Uli's point is important, and I agree with his assertion that we've got things broken down ridiculously too far. Is this is what happens when OO programmers try to design a website? ;-)

Alex Perez
--- Begin Message --- Subject: Re: *Any* way to getting GNUstep on a G4 ??? Date: Fri, 29 Oct 2004 02:05:59 +0200 User-agent: MT-NewsWatcher/3.4 (PPC Mac OS X)
In article <address@hidden>,
 Quentin Mathé <address@hidden> wrote:

> Well, I'm glad you bring this issue back on the table, because I have 
> said in the past that in my opinion it was very difficult to find the 
> installation doc without knowing where it isŠ iirc Adam didn't really 
> agree with me on this topic (no offence intended Adam :-) and nobody 
> was really motivated to work on this stuff so the things are really 
> slowly evolving (but the Documentation page have been updated by Adrian 
> I think and is now clearer in my opinion). Anyway, if I remember 
> following our last discussion on this subject, a link to the 
> Readme.Darwin on the Platforms web page was added by Adam I think.

Don't get me wrong, it's a good start. I just never thought of looking 
in "Platforms" for installation instructions. And though there are 
various links to the docs under "Getting Started" they're named 
completely wrong. A link named "GNUstep installation" actually leads to 
a page called "Platform compatibility" which starts with a huge list of 
the various platforms, and a long table of contents. The first two times 
I got there I immediately turned around, thinking I was wrong.

 IMHO, I'd just generate one long document from these pages that starts 
with the "Introduction" and lets users browse through it. Or maybe a 
multi-page document with "prev" and "next" buttons, because that's how 
most people go through it: sequentially.

 Also, the "I want documentation for" section is pretty impenetrable to 
me. What am I, if I want to develop for GNUstep, but I want to install 
the user stuff to check it out as well? Does "developers" mean people 
who have already installed GNUstep? Or is it more detailed and advanced 
documentation that only programmers understand? And what are "Pogrammers 
who need library references?"

 Sometimes a web site needs the equivalent of a friendly, blinking red 
button almost yelling "push me!", if you get my drift :-)

 That most of the text in "Getting Started" is made up of bullet lists 
is a good start, but since the links are in a very plain color, and the 
text is double-spaced without extra space between text and bullet lists, 
it all becomes a little hard to tell apart. The page could use some more 
clear divisions.

> To talk about this stuff more specifically, I think to have the 
> Readme.Darwin called Readme.MacOSX would be a first step (even if it is 
> a little step backward from the technical terminology point of view), 
> because very few people are installing GNUstep on Darwin strictly 
> speaking, most of people which can be interested by a such Readme want 
> to use GNUstep on Mac OS X. The Darwin users which are probably 
> technical experts can be redirected to the Readme.MacOSX by keeping the 
> Readme.Darwin with one line saying you shoud look in the Mac OS X one.
> Well we could probably do the reverse have the Readme.MacOSX which is 
> redirecting you to the Readme.Darwin, but I think it is a bit less nice 
> from a marketing point of view.

 Well, I personally think the distinction makes sense (as you can also 
install parts of GNUstep on MacOS X on top of Cocoa, which is what the 
MacOS X entry is about right now), and a "see also Darwin" link is fine. 
Especially since most programmers on OSX are probably aware that Darwin 
is the Unix underneath OS X. But I could see an argument being made for 
your idea as well.

> Otherwise the installation documentation of the -make package should 
> may be move to the core directory in a folder called Installation or 
> something like that. Š otherwise be linked at this level.

 I won't comment on that as I don't understand it :-)

> Now to come to the core problem, I want to say I totally agree with 
> Uli, we should have an Install entry on the home page. In 
> this Install specific page, we should have installation instructions 
> which aren't system specific and on the side a list of the platforms 
> specific Readme, to be more user friendly the Readme should be 
> translated to html and coupled with the css.
> Finally we should probably rename the Readme files to something like 
> InstallationNotes or similar.

What about merging all this stuff? It should be possible to maybe agree 
on some standardized format for platform-specific installation 
instructions that can then be integrated into the docs. People could 
select "Installation instructions for Stargate Linux" or whatever, and 
they'd get the HowTo with platform-specific info inserted in certain 
places. This could be achieved using PHP or Server-Side includes to make 
it easy to edit the platform-specific files without having to have 
several copies of the how-to.

I mean, the main differences between platforms is which compiler to use, 
which packages to get, whether to use ffi or ffcall, ... all things that 
can probably accounted for in the HowTo, and then it would try grabbing 
a platform-specific file to insert a paragraph or two into the text 
detailing what's necessary for the current platform.

The machine-specific stuff is already pretty clearly structured, so one 
could probably just parse those files for starters.

> >    Getting started
> >       - Why use GNUstep (fka Introduction, Mission)
> >       - Getting GNUstep (fka Downloads)
> >       - Installing GNUstep (fka Platforms, Readme, Howto)
> >       - Learning GNUstep (fka Getting Started)
> >
> >    Using GNUstep
> >       - Applications
> >       - User docs
> >       - user FAQ
> >
> >    Developing for GNUstep
> >       - Developer docs
> >       - developer FAQ
> You solution is probably not perfect but it is surely better than what 
> we have currently, even if I'm adapted to the current organisation.

 It's mainly my first attempt. I'm sure someone who has actually 
succeeded in building GNUstep on one of their computers, or someone who 
knows what's available where on the web site would be able to come up 
with a better structure in this style.

> Good luckŠ Just to repeat one more time : it is very easy to have 
> GNUstep on Mac OS X working. :-)

Well, I'll hold my judgement on that opinion once GCC has finished 
building. It's been doing that for five hours now...

-- Uli

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