Google Summer of Code Doc Camp Sprint October, 2011
The Doc Camp was held at the Google HQ in Mountain View, California ; it consisted of 2 major components - an unconference and 3-5 short form Book Sprints to produce 'Quick Start' guides for specific GSoC projects. The unconference explored topics proposed by the participants. Many topics on free documentation of free software were proposed for discussion during the event. Each Quick Start Sprint brought together 5-8 individuals to produce a book on a specific GSoC project. The Quick Start books were launched at the opening party for the GSoC Mentors summit immediately following the event.
Four free software projects (KDE, OpenStreetMap, OpenMRS, and Sahana Eden) had each sent three to five contributors to write books about the projects this week. The KDE team consisted of four members , namely Karan , Rohan , Valorie and yours truly. A book in a week was an amazing achievement, whether for a free software projects or a publisher. In fact, the first day and last day of the sprint were unconferences, so there were only three days for actual writing.
The books are never really finished at the end of the sprint, even though they go up for viewing and for sale immediately. This doesn't detract from the value of the material produced. It just means they need to be followed up by either successive sprints or updating and adding at regular intervals. Books that come from sprints are also quite short. I think a typical length is 125 pages, growing over time as follow-up sprints are held. The length also depends of course on the number of people working on the sprint which was four in our case. So we got in to the process of creating a mix of fresh writing and copying material from the official KDE docs. The latter required some editing and polish to blend in with the book. Our team's focus on developer documentation spared us the open-ended discussions over scope that the other teams had to undergo. But at key points during the writing, we still were forced to examine passages that appeared too hurried and unsubstantiated. At each point we had to determine what the hidden topics were, and then whether to remove all references to them or to expand them into new chapters of their own .
The KDE book is fairly standard developer documentation, albeit a beginner's guide with lots of practical advice about working in the KDE environment with the community. Our book, Beginning KDE Development, was created with the GSoC students in mind, to help them get up and running KDE trunk, if necessary, as quickly as possible. Along with the technical helps, we've also discussed the KDE community, where to get help, and how to communicate -- all in one short book. I hope you will visit http://flossmanuals.net/kde-guide/, create an account, and help us make it better!
You can also order a printed copy from www.lulu.com (http://www.lulu.com/shop/kde-authors/beginning-kde-development/paperback/product-18849700.html)
Karan Pratap Singh email: email@example.com irc-nick: kpsfoo
Rohan Garg email: firstname.lastname@example.org irc-nick: shadeslayer
Valorie Zimmerman email: email@example.com irc-nick: valorie
Supreet Pal Singh email: firstname.lastname@example.org irc-nick: supreet