algorithmic modeling for Rhino
I love the GH discussion forum for finding answers to in depth questions however, a traditional help document (F1) would be more effective at times, particularly for beginners. I also am well aware that the reason there is not a traditional help document for GH is largely an economic one. Since GH is currently free and continues to change (read: improve) it is difficult to expend the additional energy necessary to generate (and keep current) a help document. I must say I agree with the McNeel decision to put all their available capital energy into advancing the functionality of GH rather than spending it on creating a help system.
However, I have an idea that could benefit GH, its users, as well as its developer, in a major way. Is there a way for the users of GH to "give back" to GH by producing an open source help document. Surely there is some internet tool that would enable the users to easily draft and edit a help document. Something similar to wikipedia with edit-ability. The idea is for each GH user to pick a single component to research; i.e., create examples of, document syntax requirements, explain the components uses, and link to relevant discussion forum articles.
With as many users as there are, it seems like no one would have to do too much. If everyone did just a small portion, the help document would get done. Then over time it could be refined over time by the same community. I am not sure how to organize such an effort. Does anyone have any thoughts about the viability of a community written help document? Has it been done before? Are there any online tools particularly suited to producing a help document format that would facilitate the logistic of a project like this? Does anyone else see a need for a traditional help document?
Ok, this structure is fine for a 'Components Overview.' I could see each component explained ina way which is already like in the help file, but maybe with an example or examples of how to use it ala the Rhinoscript help doc.
There are other areas we need to cover...
Functionality / Usage /GUI
Data Structures / Data Topology
to name a few...
I think this is a greate idea.
And the composition by tabs and sub categories also sounds logic, but is it easy to change something in this more or less static structure, when in a new Grasshopper release also something is changing?
I was given login information for that page on the mcneel website, but I am not sure this is what we want. We are not asking for a few people to update this, we would like to have something that many could contribute to (of course, adding to the level of administration needed to organize it). I have replied with a similar message to see how we can work out an access system that makes sense for what we want to do.
That's clearly the first step into this. Perhaps we need some kind of mediawiki public page runing for everyone that have a Rhino license. School and Edu license are a problem here but I suppose that mcneel will be able to deal with.
I've try to get login into the page you post but I can't (I suppose that everyone needs an account approved by Mcneel). This is a hard work that needs a lot of people writting and creating information there.
Waiting news! ;)
I am sorry I have been quiet. It is not a sign of apathy, but only a sign of NOT having enough community web knowledge to organize such an effort. It seems it might be useful to define the needs and desires we (the community) would want for such a help system. As an old school architect, I feel compelled to first break down and define what the problem is prior to solving it.
You and Angel sound like you may have a concrete idea of how we might proceed. I offer the following description of the programmatic requirements of the organizational system in hopes it might help to define how to get going. These thoughts only suggest the beginning of a discussion to yield a pragmatically useful process for the implementation of the GH help document.
Important aspects of the online compilation mechanism are:
Allows a large community to contribute in a self actuating manner.
Well organized tree structure.
Examples, descriptions, and explanations
Links for file downloads/uploads
Both graphic and text representations.
Able to be Monitored by an administrator
GH Context responsiveness
Accessible directly from GH (F1)
Contain direct links to existing forum discussions and online tutorials
Low or No Cost web presents
Please be critically rigorous to cull or expand this list. I hope this is worthwhile compilation.
It should additionally be set up so that component help dialogue within grasshopper links to the community help/ elaboration on that specific component.
It would be a networked help/discussion tied into the interface.
We can try to also put in cross references to general topics/theory like list-matching from the specific components, specific help sections.
We should collectively make super simple example/demonstration tutorial grasshopper files with each help topic, so that people can see how each is supposed to work or can work, and the mechanics of the component in action.
I want it Luis. Could be nice to create another thread where people expose the proposals. At the beginning to many hands in the mix could be a mess.
I've seen that the software used at Mcneel is Dokuwiki (here is the syntax to use it: http://www.dokuwiki.org/syntax). If Mcneel have some base style-sheets could be nice base our build over it (perhaps the style sheet used at Rhino Labs because it mix download links, images, text explaning, etc). If there is no style-sheet then we have to start from scratch but is not problem.
Luis, what's the feedback you receive from Mcneel in this topic? Are they happy with the idea? are they going to support in some way this process?...only to understand wich our position before begining.
I agree, too many hands at first is not good. I seems the quicker we can get to the point where volunteers can understand what exactly is involved to contribute, the better. Thank you Angel for taking the lead to get us started. Angel, I stand ready to help you in what ever capacity you think I might.
By the way, have you or Luis taken a look at the work that Chris Wilkins has done toward a help document. It is accessible from the link Luis put up a week or two ago in this thread, but for some reason I don't see it any more.