Friday, April 07, 2006

Python Tutorial Wiki

Fredrik Lundh put the Python tutorial in a Wiki. One week later it he's seen 175 edits. It's probably the most important Python documentation project going. There haven't been 175 edits to the tutorial in the last five years.

For years, I maintained that Python's documentation tools were just fine. People suggested all sorts of new tools and gimmicks, and I thought that they didn't improve on what we already had. Sure, Latex is hard to format and the tools are a little cumbersome, but writing documentation is hard, so surely the tools aren't the issue. (See stop energy and space-program architecture discussions.)

I'm happy to see I was completely wrong. Removing barriers to entry is critical for this kind of collaboration. Every barrier turns away a few people until you're left with a few people who are committed but too busy to do anything. The Alternative Python Reference has exactly the right goals

2 comments:

Jay Parlar said...

I've been responsible for a lot of those edits (usename 'Baseline'). I've always just thought there was something very nice about wikis, especially for pages that people aren't really using *yet*.

It's nice to be able to make changes here and there to the tutorial, and know that there's some time for commentary and re-edits on them before they hit the "mainstream" (ie. python.org).

Hopefully we'll keep getting more people helping out (as there are some sections that need massive rewrites), and maybe build something that python.org can use.

Oh, and full props to Fredrik for getting this going. If it had been anyone else, probably no one would have followed, but having one of the *bots behind the project helps get it noticed.

Connelly said...

Looks like it's no longer a wiki that "anyone can edit" on the EFFbot site.