There are many kind of docs, what I want to provide first is the "reference documentation", which provides an exhaustive description of all the language features (in a user-friendly way, not in a formal way) and explains "how it works". Basically the REBOL/Core manual (but exhaustive) + "how it works", so with some chapters on memory management, execution model, in depth modules/contexts/binding model,...
sqlab, I didn't say invisible, just a lot less visible. You should realize that outdated documentation is essentially "noise" which makes learning what's current more difficult. Of course there should always be a way to get to an old API reference. On an authoritative source, this should be done in a very subtle way so as to minimize information overload - maybe with a clear, but small link at the bottom of the current version docs. Non-authoritative sources can, of course, maintain all the old information and present it in any way they choose.
When it comes to advice on best approaches, optimizations, etc., it's very important to promote the "current" recommended way of doing things so that new code being written based on these docs don't lead to the incorporation of work-arounds for problems that have long since been worked out.
If a command in RED and Rebol share the same name, but behave diferently, these differences should be clearly shown or explained
I think I should chime in here because I am one of those people who are not naturally inclined toward the programming arts. I see that many of you realize that the docs have to reach a vast audience from novice to expert. That will involve using different methods of presentaton and detail. How would you envision the database to look like. If we could create something pretty complete then I think all the desired above could be accomplished. For what it's worth I use the following: The rebol dictionary - to look up words and usage I can't remember, try to decipher some functionality I need, hopefully find examples. The View docs - to find out how things works and to remember how certain words work Everything I can find on Parse - This is one subject that is all over the place. Nick's tutorial and Reboltutorial - To learn about topical items that one can do in rebol such as sound and animation. Altme - Asking all of you, especially Henrik, if I can do something and how or when something doesn't work. Rebol.org - To find scripts that do things I need to do Google - OK, this is generic and possibly obvious but when I am trying to figure something out, it's "Rebol ..." The above items are my most used resources and not exclusive. Note, for me the R3 docs were harder to navigate, especially a few years ago when I was looking at the GUI stuff. To me at least they seemed all over the place.
So, if one were to analyze that usage, it may help to develop something that can accomplish those different needs.
Yes Ladislav, I have and that's a good one. I guess parse requires some more parsing. Parse is one of the hardest parts of rebol for me so when I say it's all over the place it's that different people write different things about how to use it. I mean, it seems like someone could write an entire book on it for guys like me. One place I continue to go to is Brett's http://www.codeconscious.com/rebol/parse-tutorial.html but when it comes to dialects That all said, perhaps this leads us to documentation that is very tutorially-oriented. Thank you for your response, Ladisalv.
Doc, for implementation details, you and a few others who know will have to provide the basic information. If there is cleanup and wordsmithing to be done, as long as others can edit it easily, I would leave that to someone else. Write the best doc you can, of course, but don't worry if it's not perfect. Your time should be spent doing things nobody else can do as well, using what you know, and what you know is planned.
For friendly user reference, do you have a style of docs you want to mimic, or an idea of how you want the doc data managed? e.g., do you want to use a wiki, so that infrastructure is all there?
I think a wiki like Wikibooks could be a good start, but I would like to use makedoc format. I know that the R3 wiki has been adapted to accept makedoc format as input, how could we do the same for Wikibooks? Is it possible to export all wikibook content to a parse-able format? I don't want to be trapped in a given tool, I want to be free to retarget docs to whatever format/tool we find appropriate in the future.
If wikibooks is not the best tool for the job, we might want to install a copy of R3 wiki on another server.
The only issue I have with wikis is that we need someone in charge there, reviewing every single change and filtering them when needed. Without someone fulfilling that role, it will quickly become a big mess.
About wikis, I would probably prefer that the document structure is fixed, and then each page can be a wiki. We had problems early on with the R3 GUI documentation that someone changed it.
I'm with Doc and Henrik. Wikis are great for letting people contribute, but they never have the same feel, IMO, as a polished document. A main reason for that is the primary way wikis work: many voices. I think we need a wiki, or something that makes it just as easy to contribute, but we also need a more formal structure and control for some things, as Henrik says.
Henrik did some great work on a MediaWiki interface for R3 DocBase. I don't remember the details of how it worked, but I still have it here, so we could look at that as a starting point.
I don't know if MediaWiki has per-user page control, but I think wikidot does.
The work I did was related to publishing to mediawiki directly from REBOL. This way, some mediawiki pages could be auto-generated.
Someone also wrote a makedoc GUI, didn't they? Are there tools like that for managing a doc base? I also agree with some earlier comments about some commercial sites having very good docs. How do they do it?
Gabriele wrote a MakeDoc GUI a long time ago.
Looks like Gigaspaces uses a wiki, and Confluence is in their footer.
Ah yes, thanks Henrik.
To amend my earlier statements, a wiki as a platform is not the problem. The problem is putting up a wiki and expecting great documentation to appear, without someone to set up a structure, design, and maintain it. You need a leader.