- Training Lessons Learned: Interactivity (Selena Marie Deckelmann) — again I see parallels between how the best school teachers work and the best trainers. I was working with a group of people with diverse IT backgrounds, and often, I asked individuals to try to explain in their own words various terms (like “transaction”). This helped engage the students in a way that simply stating definitions can’t. Observing their fellow students struggling with terminology helped them generate their own questions, and I saw the great results the next day – when students were able to define terms immediately, that took five minutes the day before to work through.
- Software Evolution Storylines — very pretty visualizations of code development, inspired by an xkcd comic.
- asmxml — XML parser written in assembly language. (via donaldsclark on Twitter)
- Poetic License — the BSD license, translated into verse. Do tractor workers who love tractors a lot translate tractor manuals into blank verse? Do the best minds of plumber kid around by translating the California State Code into haikus? Computer people are like other people who love what they do. Computer people just manipulate symbols, whether they’re keywords in Perl or metrical patterns in software licenses. It’s not weird, really. I promise.
Mixtures of grassroots content generation and unique expertise have existed, and more models will be found. Understanding the points of commonality between the systems will help us develop such models.
Joining the pilgrimage that all institutions are making toward wider data use, FLOSS Manuals is exposing more and more of the writing process.
As a relatively conventional book, the KDE manual was probably a little easier to write (but also probably less fun) than the more high-level approaches taken by some other teams that were trying to demonstrate to potential customers that their projects were worth adopting.
Four teams at Google launched into endeavors that will lead, less than 72 hours from now, to complete books on four open source projects.
Four free software projects have each sent three to five volunteers to write books about the projects this week. Along the way we'll all learn about the group writing process and the particular use of book sprints to make documentation for free software.
Training Tricks, Visualizing Code, ASM+XML=ASMXML, and Poetic License
In many areas of publishing, there are enormous resources of free
online material and innumerable forums where individuals can quickly
and conveniently post their own observations. Since we are no longer
gatekeepers, publishers have to focus on how we add quality.