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?
I wanted to weigh in on this topic, as the Grasshopper Primer that Rajaa Issa and I wrote is, as some have pointed out, quite outdated. I sometimes cringe with how outdated some parts are, but I'm hopeful that at least other new users get some use out of it. To be quite honest, I've started writing the 'Third Edition' of the Primer several different times... Going so far as to write roughly 75-100 pages each time (a complete re-write from the current version)... but every time I make some decent headway into an edition, the software changes quite a bit, and then I have to go back and change everything again. This isn't to say anything negative about change (it's why we're all here, as we're part of the evolution of this amazing tool)... it's just that perhaps a book format isn't always the best solution when things change so dramatically from month to month. Which is why I'm 100% behind the idea of a community driven online edition (ala wiki). I would be happy to share the 75 pages or so of the current version of the primer (totally new graphic layout and quite a few examples). It was up to date around GH version 0.8.0004 (roughly) so it's relatively new. But, has there been any feedback on how to get this wiki off the ground? It seemed logical that a select few of participants were going to do the work of setting up the infrastructure, but was this ever accomplished? Is there even a link, for the start of a wiki (I clicked on the link above, but it just takes me to a blank page that says Grasshopper Documentation... with nothing under it). Anyway, I'm not sure how much time I'll be able to contribute, give my time commitments, but I'd be happy to share all of the stuff I've started for the next edition of the Primer and hopefully add more stuff in the future.
Great to have your thoughts on this. Indeed there has been some communication with Scott about this. Currently the system is by login. I have a login by virtue of writing to Scott. We would need a few more people to set up the structure. Angél Linareshas also joined the effort. If anyone else is interested in contributing to the wiki structure development, please make yourself heard!
The work you have done on the primers would be an excellent boost to the current development of the wiki. There are a lot of things you guys set up in those documents which will surely influence how things get explained. Let us know how we can make use of the existing 'third edition' content, and we will take it from there.
I've attached the current work-in-progress of the third edition of the Grasshopper Primer to give you an idea of where I am right now with the re-write. I actually have quite a bit of more information regarding data trees (in another re-write) that hasn't made it into this version... but as I said... as soon as I make some headway, things begin changing (the nature of the beast) and it's hard to go back and keep revising and re-working everything (this is I think the 4th iteration of this edition). I have all of these files as In Design file (CS5) as well as the source files for the examples included thus far for this version.
When, I wrote the Primer I wanted to use it as a guide just like I do when I teach... so, I don't have a master list of all components inside Grasshopper (with explanations of what each of them do). Instead, I try to break down the concepts. The Primer was setup so that each chapter was roughly associated with a different component palette category (starting with the Interface, Mathematics, Lists, Data Trees, Curves, Surface, Meshes, Scripting, etc.) Those don't necessarily correspond directly to the component tabs, but they're more conceptual frameworks going from easiest to more difficult. Anyway, hopefully this will be useful for someone (and perhaps those who keep saying the old Primer is irrelevant :)
"Translating" primer into wiki form could be a good first step; You are right saying that the structure of the primer is quite different from wiki, but examples, "theorical" text and other stuff could be linked without problem to the wiki structure (we were talking about that in this thread)
This week I could get some free time to build the wiki tree but could be nice have some rough ideas about it to make it a real community work. Could be usefull share here some "freemind" maps to see what people have in mind? Then conceptual maps could be translate into the wiki. The third step could be create de parallel structure to link all theorical data and exercises from Andy Primer update.
I have been playing a little bit with the wiki page and other point is that translating pages is really easy and fast.
I know this topic is very old - and help within GH has gotten (a bit) better, but am still wondering if you ever got round to updating your excellent primer any further? I have some new users who are itching to learn the software, and I remember how useful your primer was in the past.