Do you mean like a standard library reference Peter? I have notes for something like a Nutshell series book.
What I'm thinking of is a short explanation of each value! type.
Something like this:
A char! value represents a Unicode code point. It is a number in the range hexadecimal 00 to hexadecimal 10FFFFF.
The literal value of a char! value is of the form #"a" or #"^(0032)".
I would call that a "reference", and could be an appendix in the core user manual.
Listing all the datatypes should be part of 1).
Yes. Working on some of that now.
By the way, a preliminary work would also be to define a lexicon for the basic concepts, like talking about "variables" or not, "assigning a value to a word" vs "giving a meaning to a word in a context". We need to define a common vocabulary so that the docs look consistent regardless of who is writing.
Yes. That will be very important.
I am also wondering if a single entry point for (1) is the best option. We know from Rebol that the learning curve has at least two steps (Carl's lake analogy) the surface and the depth. The surface is very quick and simple to learn, but might be misleading or even confusing for users with a CS background. So, there's a second "advanced" step in the learning process where you usually get the "eureka" moments, once you get things like code/data duality or the nature of definitional and dynamic binding.
I'm sure we'll want special docs for advanced users who would otherwise not find the information sprinkled in the standard user guide.
So for (1), you suggest we aim at the "surface" only?
I think (1) can, and should mention these things, but doesn't need them as complete chapters. They could be advanced chapters or appendices. But could stand alone as well.
Wasn't there once the community effort, to bring some kind of better docs to Rebol? I remember we defined structure or something like that ...
Peter: that "value" explantion is precisely one part of what I'd put into a language reference ("(4)").
Listing of all the datatypes should of course also be a part of the user's guide ("(1)"), but on a different level. User guide is exemplary, a quick overview. The language reference should be comprehensive.
In general, I like Rebol's user guide quite a bit. What I don't like about it -- and I don't think the "user's guide" really is the place to put it -- is that it is very skimpy on almost all topics touched. It doesn't discuss the deeper technical details, the corner cases, etc.
A quick-start guide will be good, and should be material we can extract from the official/user's guide. Or should at least be easier to write once we've done that.
Andreas: Yes. The definition of values should be in the language reference.
Perhaps I can summarise and make a short proposal:
1. We want to have good quality documentation ready for the launch of Red 1.0. (By good quality, I mean that, first and foremost , the content is accurate. Second come style and presentation.)
2. We see the need for: a. user manual b. dictionary of words c. tutorials d. language reference e. quick start guide 3. I believe that the early adopters of Red 1.0 will be either people currently using Rebol or experienced developers. The inexperienced will follow some time later.
So my proposal is to focus on the following three documents that experienced Rebollers/Developers would look for: i) Language Reference ii) Dictionay of Words iii) Quick Start Guide.
Actually, I would like to have the docs (at least (1)) for the first "public alpha", so around end of March (as soon as we have good enough GUI and I/O). We'll start doing promotion/buzzing, so we need it before 1.0.