Help Wanted: Build a new documentation portal for Ubuntu App Developers

Back in San Francisco, during UDS-Q, we had a discussion about the need for better online documentation for the various APIs that application developers use to write apps for Ubuntu.  The Ubuntu App Showdown and subsequent AppDevUploadProcess spec work has consumed most of my time since then, but I was able to start putting together a spec for such a site.  The App Showdown feedback we got from our developers survey highlighted the need, as lack of good Gtk documentation for Python was one of the most common problems people experienced, giving it a little more urgency.

Fortunately, Alberto Ruiz was at UDS, and told me about a project he had started for Gnome called Gnome Developer Network (GDN for short).  Alberto had already done quite a bit of work on the database models and GObject Instropection parsing needed to populate it.  The plan is to use GDN as the database and import process, and build a user-friendly web interface on top of that, linking in external resources like tutorials and AskUbuntu questions, as well as user submitted comments and code snippets.

Now that the spec is (mostly) done, we need to get together some developers who can implement it.  There will be a lot of front-end work (mostly HTML, CSS and Javascript), but also enough backend work (Python and Django) to keep anybody occupied.  I’ve created a Launchpad project for the site, and a team you can join if you’re interested in helping out.

The GDN code and some very basic template are already available. You can get the code from bzr with bzr branch lp:ubuntu-api-website and following the instructions in the DEVELOPMENT file.  I’ll also be running a live App Developer Q&A Session at 1700 UTC today (September 19th), and would be happy to help anybody get the code up and running during that time.

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5 Responses to Help Wanted: Build a new documentation portal for Ubuntu App Developers

  1. Dmitrijs Ledkovs says:

    The only pygi GTK+3 documentation / tutorials I know is:
    http://python-gtk-3-tutorial.readthedocs.org/en/latest/index.html

    I wish gi supported generating / accessing doc-strings.

  2. Joel Marquez says:

    Sure Am glad to help if ever, but I doubt my skills are enough. Anyway, nice post. I will definitely follow around the progress of this. Thanks!

  3. eric-yorba says:

    It’s not just the APIs that need to be in one spot, it’s also all the wrangling required to create a makefile, set up a Debian package, and create a PPA on Launchpad.

    Many of these steps have poor or incomplete documentation on various websites. It would be a huge boost for Ubuntu if the entire process was well documented.

    • Michael Hall says:

      I agree, but that kind of documentation can be put into developer.ubuntu.com, it doesn’t need the same kind of database structure as the API docs do.

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