Intro to post
So this is my first post to the Haiku boards (everybody groan: another outsider looking in :->). I don’t know how well the forum will deal with a lenghty(ish) post, so apologies for that. I’ve been working on getting familiar with the way everything works around here so I can start contributing to the project, and thought I’d lay down some musings (as a newcomer) on how things are presented before I get too familiar with everything.
I’m going to try and organise everything in a reasonable way, but forgive me if I ramble or take too long in setting up points (I’m sure Kurtis can cut me off with his magical admin tools if I go on for too long).
Intro to ideas
So: obviously the website is the center of how this project is presented to the world (whether we like it or not), as it is currently the most visible contact people outside the project have with it. As a consequence, it is important that it is both user-friendly and informative
There is no doubt that the website team has done a good job making the website both look good and feel distinctive. I like the look 'n feel of everything, and the menus are nice and easy to navigate.
The only thing I feel a little unsure of at times is where things fit. F’rinstance, the SVN browser is under Contribute. But surely it’s more of a Development thing? Those are probably small things to do with the way my mind is organised though.
Informative-ness (noun that adjective)
This is, I suppose, the driving reason for posting here (“finally” thinks everyone): it can actually be quite hard to find what you want or need to know. For instance, as has been pointed out before by yumsis in http://haiku-os.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=63 a new user would often like to find a basic how-to: how-to set a system up, how-to keep yourself up-to-date with releases etc etc. Sikosis replied that all the information that was wanted was available from a variety of places, which was (and is) true. But you try finding those quickly as a new-user.
All the new-user resource page contains are links on how to build the Networking Kit, Media Kit (beta) and work with IRC. And the first two documents are old and out of date. By contrast, Kurtis’ GetHaiku wiki pages http://haiku-os.org/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page contain pretty much up-to-date information on how to get and build a system, but is only linked to in that previous forum post.
For another example, look at the team listings: on the old open-beos.sourceforge.net site, the Team listings had links to any fora the groups used for communication. Whilst some of these still appear to be in use, they aren’t linked to from the new team pages (maybe this is a purposeful design as everyone should be using the central list - not that I can remember if this was linked to anywhere either).
I guess what I’m saying is the documentation, while it is designed into the site, isn’t managed very well. Most of those pages seem sparse, and you have do to a fair bit of hunting to get anywhere.
Thoughts on improvement
I’d say a fair bit of this is probably down to the apparent lack of a central documentation team. I think about the guy who has done some work translating the two New User files from English to German posting on the Doc Forum looking for who/where to send it all http://haiku-os.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=442. The web team seem to have been lumbered with this section of work as well which is mighty good of them, but possibly a bit much of a workload (getting all the documents together’d be one thing, but what about maintaining them? Look at how quickly the project is progressing: the apps team checking in updates like crazy, the nascent OpenGL kit…) to add to all the other good work they’re doing.
How to improve this? I don’t know. Ressurection of the docs team (if there is a working Docs team that I don’t know about my apologies to you - but I guess part of your work’d be to promote yourselves ;->), gathering of links (haikunews, blogs, the wiki etc etc) to do with Haiku, interfacing with the Web team, managing translations and designing new documents. I’d volunteer to take on work like that but obviously I’m new and unproven, and also there is the small matter of my shiney newness meaning I’m not up to date with current events.
So…I there you go. Anyone else’s thoughts would be nice. I love BeOS, and I’m loving Haiku and all the work that is going on. There’s a strong community spirit here, and I guess all I’d like to do is make it easier to grow that community (I know the focus is R1 to have something to show, but the process of getting there would be helped with more people, and is in and of itself of interest to others).
Somewhat related: we could have some debates hosted here (more acurately comparitive articles). I’ve seen posts in different places saying how they think Haiku is both nice in a way and a complete waste of time “ancient OS” “pointless without commercial/community support” “look at OS X/Windows/Linux and tell me there’s room for more” and it’d be nice to have a few Outsider vs Insider articles.
Uhm…yes, I’ve meandered for long enough. Hope this is of interest to some people and that we can get a discussion going (if only refuting all my ‘points’. That’d make me equally happy). Now, I’m off to see if I can’t wrestle myself some familiarity with the app/interface code.
Edit: NB, on reflection after posting, I’m sure I’ve wandered too far from the point of the Website team to make this a completely relevent posting. However, I still think this might be the most useful place for this to go for now. Apologies if it would have been best posted elsewhere.