So it has been talked about Mallard and (a little bit of) what it looks like under the hood, but how does it really look like to our eyes? What are the differences between the old and the new way?
The two approaches are different.
In the old way of thinking, we had a big-one-huge-file (OK, we could have split it up, but the end result would have always been a massive document) divided in chapter, sub-chapter and so on with (almost) one single fixed flow of the information. It felt more like a book.
With the new way, we have smallest chunks of information that we can group how we like, easy to move from on place to another, that address a small task users will be likely to do or have the need to do.
And this is also the hardest part for writers: finding all these tasks.
It’s not perfect, nothing is and will ever be, but it’s a great approach for solving the documentation problem in GNOME (and maybe others can build on it, extend it or do whatever they feel to do with it). It’s probably going to be hard to rewrite all the docs GNOME has from the old way to the Mallard way, but we can do that and it’s not necessary to do everything in a rush. We have fixed goals for the 3.0, and from that moment we will move on with new goals.
Obviously, if you would like to jump in the doc-writing task and help out speed up the process, we’ll be happy! 🙂
If somebody out there would like to find out more about GNOME docs writing, there is a Q&A session on IRC (#docs channel on GIMPnet) scheduled for Wednesday 24th at 7pm UTC for one hour (and more). We will be there, come with your questions!