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Getting Started structure

From: Richard Ishida <ishida@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2005 10:54:03 +0100
To: "GEO" <public-i18n-geo@w3.org>
Message-Id: <20050812095404.585DE4F0DF@homer.w3.org>

Yesterday we discussed two possible approaches to this.  Today I thought of another, which I actually like a lot.

We agreed that we wouldn't try to describe internationalisation from general principles, but that we would try to describe what we currently have in the way of articles and how those hang together.

In all of these scenarios we envisaged that the reader would be guided to specific articles by the material, and that a set of tag links would probably be a useful way to do that.

Approach 1

We divide the Getting Started material up by gross categorisation into 
-	Developer
-	Designer
-	Other
Then discuss what kind of information is relevant to each.  For example, developers need to think about character encoding, language, etc.

Problems with this approach are that the top level categories are rather vague, and also they are limited in applicability.

Approach 2

Rather than divide the world by job type, we divide it more along the lines of activities.  I suggested a brainstormed set of these to get started, by working through the articles we currenlty have on hand, and looking at WAI's list of users http://www.w3.org/WAI/redesign/users.html#list . It included the following:

-	developing site architecture

-	writing CSS

-	designing page layout

-	troubleshooting problems

-	content authoring using wysiwyg tools

-	developing authoring tools

-	creating schemas

-	surfing the Web

-	programming Web applications/databases

-	managing Web projects

-	designing information architecture / usability

-	creating or tweaking html/xhtml code (ie. content authoring) - for articles dealing with charset or lang declaration this rolls together people who are using tools or not, and people who are developing scripts to generate code

-	authoring content (this is a tricky one, since for our current set of articles it really relates to creating or tweaking the html/xhtml code - even people who use wysiwyg tools

The last two are somewhat problematic in my mind, and may need teasing out more.  These categories are less vague, and more inclusive, but there is significant potential for duplication of writing and maintenance if we have descriptive passages under each heading.

Approach 3

Here is an alternative I've been thinking about a lot over the last 24 hours.

On the initial Getting Started page, describe the various ways you can get into the site (ie. the topic index, the techniques index, the resource types..., and include some general information like definitions of i18n and l10n.

Also point to or include some descriptive text that introduces the major areas we deal with on the site.  For this we could basically use the top level section headings at http://www.w3.org/International/resource-index.html .  The things to mention are typically those things with second level headings - eg. for Character sets, character encodings and escapes, we would talk about why it's important, then choosing an encoding, declaring it, managing with editing tools, what escapes are and that you should know how to use them, etc.  Each of these topics could be introduced by saying something like "Developers will need to ... " or "Content authors should..." etc to help suggest who needs to think of what.

The text should be brief, and very high level, and should mainly focus on topics we actually deal with (so it will need updating from time to time).

>From each of these sections we can point people to the topic index for more detailed information.  It is handy that the topic index is a little verbose in this respect. That helps bridge the gap for newcomers.

We could also add tags to this page, such as tags linked to the list in approach 2, but my worry there is that every time I publish a document I'd have to update all the tags in the Getting Started stuff too.  It's already a chore to publish stuff.

However...  As part of the initial Getting Started page, I think it would be good to list the types of activity we cater for, as listed in approach 2 above, and point people to versions of the topic index that were specific to a particular activity, eg. writing CSS.  

I think that could be achieved via some automatic processing.  I'm even considering generating the current topic index from a single source 'database', which is what I would update each time I publish a new document.  That would make it much easier to maintain all this stuff.

We could have done this using tags, but that wouldn't have provided the same structure, and I think structure is useful as an extension of the Getting Started pathway.

What do you think?


Richard Ishida

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Received on Friday, 12 August 2005 09:54:10 UTC

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