Mallard Vs. Wood Duck

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?

Well, it’s almost like comparing Mallard ducks with Wood ducks.

The Old Way

The Old Way

The Way of the Mallard

The Way of the Mallard

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!

4 commenti
  1. silwenae ha detto:

    Wow – looking good! I love the fact that the different help topics are displayed on one page. In my opinion, that helps the user experience so much when a user is trying to find help to do something.

    Nice work!


  2. I’ve hated that redundant contents list forever, so I was ecstatic when I learned Mallard was alive and kicking last week 🙂

    Thanks for the nice comparison pictures.

    (Impressively, I think it looks smarter than Apple’s Help system. Lots and lots of optional pictures in the docs would really give it that extra awesome, but for now I am super impressed).

    Oh, better use of fonts, too.

  3. Milo ha detto:

    never been able to use a Mac system, so don’t know how the help looks like. Can you provide me some screenshots? I have a “comparison” wiki page here:
    would like to put some of Mac help too.

    For the pictures in the docs: I tend to prefer no pictures at all, they are a nightmare for translators and it’s not usually easy to take them due to “downstream” customizations (the most used distros), problems with default theme/fonts…


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