Archive for August, 2009|Monthly archive page

Writing good documentation

In Timeline on August 31, 2009 at 9:54 AM

One subject that interests me is how to write good documentation. Trying to explain to someone else what is perfectly clear in your mind is a challenging task. In The Timeline Project I get to practice writing many types of documentation such as comments in source code, user manual, instructions for volunteers how to participate, and replies to emails on the mailing list.

I am interested in improving my ability to write good documentation and I think one prerequisite is good writing skills. Therefore I was browsing the web for podcasts about writing and I found a website called I’d Rather Be Writing. In addition to some interesting podcasts I found this informing article: Documentation Usability: A Few Things I’ve Learned from Watching Users. The author has some really interesting suggestions how to improve documentation for applications. In particular he claims that the user manual might not be the best type of documentation for a user. I definitely have to read more on his website. Maybe I can implement some of the ideas in Timeline.


Increasing exposure

In Timeline on August 30, 2009 at 1:44 PM

A few days ago I decided to try SourceForge’s Help Wanted feature. It allows projects to “advertise open positions to potential volunteers.” I wrote that we needed help translating our application and returned to what I was doing not expecting the advertisement to have any big effect. I was therefore surprised to be contacted by three people the next day, all showing interest in translating. Thanks SourceForge for this feature.

This was the first time I actively tried to involve others in the project. After the 0.4.0 release I will also register the project on freshmeat to increase the chance that people find out about it. I believe we are now ready for more exposure.

The Timeline Project

In Timeline on August 28, 2009 at 1:49 PM

In October 2008 I started the free software project The Timeline Project (homepage). I did not know what it would be like; I was not even convinced that the end result would be useful. I was sure of only one thing: I would learn a lot and have fun programming along the way.

In posts in this category I will record thoughts on running and developing this small free software project.