#1 2009-02-15 12:26

narayan
Senior Member
Registered: 2009-02-08
Posts: 470

ReNamer: Making of new manual

Hi Denis/all!

Thanks for making a powerful application like ReNamer available to the community!

A beautiful gesture like that deserves a good turn in return. I would like to volunteer for expanding the User Manual for it, so that the users can exploit its capabilities to the full.

ReNamer already has two excellent documents that cover all the basics. We also have many new tips at the forum. So just compiling everything in one place would add a lot of value for the users.

We have many choices:

1. Extend the existing manual and guide (the current authors may like to lead that, and I could help them)
2. Combine both documents and make a single document.
3. Make the advanced manual separately; so only advanced users would need it.
4. Start a Drupal website (http://drupal.org/) that allows collaborative writing.

These are just some options that came to my mind, but there could be many more options; and combinations of the ideas listed above. The pros and cons of these options have to be discussed before we set the course of action.

I have written help for two great software, in two radically different formats:
1. A 375-page pdf manual for xplorer2 (a dual-pane explorer-replacement)-
2. A drupal-based help for Visual CD (a disk-cataloger) - .

A look at them may give a better idea of the possibilities ahead:
http://www.zabkat.com/alldown.htm (check out the User Manual)
http://help.boozet.org/ (Follow the Visual CD link- Work in progress!)

Although I would not have that kind of time now, we can do a wonderful job if a few people can join in. 

Your thoughts are welcome!

Last edited by narayan (2009-02-15 12:29)

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#2 2009-02-17 16:56

admsupport
Member
From: Osaka, Japan
Registered: 2008-09-15
Posts: 13

Re: ReNamer: Making of new manual

Hi Narayan,

Nice to see you again! I have no much time so far to attend on the x2 forums.
What a generous offer you are making here.
I really hope you can catch up with Denis and make a Renamer manual of a similar quality of the X2 manual, which is a great support tool.
I am glad X2 users are coming on den4b. These 2 software are different but complementary, and I believe users on both boards share the same spirit smile

And for what it worse, and if I may make a personal judgment: I attest of the competence of Narayan. I had the feeling along the lines of the xplorer2 manual (pdf) the author was accurate and dedicated to his work. He provided easy to understand and well coordinated examples and study cases along the chapters, as good illustrations. It is rare to find such work, in the form of a complete manual freely available, to support a shareware.

Last edited by admsupport (2009-02-17 17:06)

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#3 2009-02-18 15:54

den4b
Administrator
From: den4b.com
Registered: 2006-04-06
Posts: 3,399

Re: ReNamer: Making of new manual

I'm glad that you have volunteered to help! smile

Extract from the current User Manual wrote:

This collection of help documents is yet to be expanded. More help could be found on forums and in the "downloads" section. Unfortunately, I do not have enough free time to create, expand and maintain this document, so if you wish to contribute by creating new or/and expending already existing sections – you are more than welcomed to do so. Any contributions will be greatly appreciated!

The current user manual has been written by me. But there is an alternative user manual, or so called Beginner's Guide v1.3, which is written by Lance Smith and is available from the "downloads" section.

I guess there are 2 ways for us to do this:

  • 1) Create another alternative manual. Its content and format are entirely upto your imagination. It will be put in the "downloads" section and probably not going to be included in the main distribution of ReNamer;

  • 2) Expand the current user manual. This will require direct discussions with me regarding particular sections that you are going to extend/create, format, content, etc. Once modifications are ready, I will integrate them into the current user manual. I will be holding the master copy.

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#4 2009-02-18 16:33

narayan
Senior Member
Registered: 2009-02-08
Posts: 470

Re: ReNamer: Making of new manual

HI!

I think the second option would defeat the main purpose (of freeing you of the burden of writing the manual, so that you can concentrate on the design).

So the first option is a little better. But having done the Drupal help, I really fell in love with it. It allows multiple people to register themselves as help authors, and add their own stuff (text, images). The result can be spectacular indeed.

But if that does not work out (e.g. website constraints, bandwidth cost), then we can go for the first option. I will keep sending the original material to you, though (I use OpenOffice, which produces the pdf file).

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#5 2009-02-20 13:10

den4b
Administrator
From: den4b.com
Registered: 2006-04-06
Posts: 3,399

Re: ReNamer: Making of new manual

I have considered adding some sort of a wiki, for people to be able to write their own collaborative manual. But all such systems require a lot of maintenance and administration, and I simply can't afford this at the moment. I looked at Drupal - it looks like a lot more than just a wiki, in fact, it is an entire content management system. Drupal is defiantly too much for me and this site.

I'd rather go with any of the 2 options highlighted by me. It also might be a good idea to try second option, to see if it can work. I don't think that it will require a lot of my time if we do small sections at a time.

What do you think?

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#6 2009-02-20 16:26

narayan
Senior Member
Registered: 2009-02-08
Posts: 470

Re: ReNamer: Making of new manual

IDEA! Let us use Drupal as a one-time collaborative WYSIWYG editor, but NOT for hosting online help. The help will remain just as it is today- An offline pdf manual.

The idea is that all authors will create the content (including copy and paste from BOTH the existing pdf's), and then I will convert that into a openoffice book, which is convertible into pdf.

Drupal can export all web-pages directly into openoffice-compatible format for editing further. Or it can directly export into a pdf format.

Then we can even close down Drupal (or just take it offline) and forget about it! We will reopen the dormant Drupal site whenever we want to launch the next MAJOR version of the manual. Minor changes can be done in the openoffice manual itself, and converted to pdf.

There is yet another major MAJOR advantage of this approach:
I will have to write many script-related pages, with which I am not familiar.
So I will fumble there. You/others will have to proofread and help out.
On the other hand, authors of Pascalscripts can do a much better job directly.

So let's think outside the box! wink

Last edited by narayan (2009-02-20 16:32)

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#7 2009-02-24 14:02

den4b
Administrator
From: den4b.com
Registered: 2006-04-06
Posts: 3,399

Re: ReNamer: Making of new manual

I'm afraid I cannot go the Drupal way, even though I think it sounds great! I don't believe I will have time for its maintenance. Looking after 1 developer of a user manual is not quite as looking after a number of developers and a collaborative tool.

That is why I would prefer if you could take the current user manual as a guide line for the format, etc. And expand it a small bit at a time.

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#8 2009-02-24 14:18

narayan
Senior Member
Registered: 2009-02-08
Posts: 470

Re: ReNamer: Making of new manual

no sweat. Can I have the originals for both those documents, to start with?

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#9 2009-02-28 12:54

den4b
Administrator
From: den4b.com
Registered: 2006-04-06
Posts: 3,399

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#10 2009-02-28 14:51

narayan
Senior Member
Registered: 2009-02-08
Posts: 470

Re: ReNamer: Making of new manual

Right! Thanks...

Can I have the beginner's guide material also (if that other author does not mind).
Idea is to merge them to make a single manual.
I am thinking of a cookbook section also (with script contributed by the users at this forum).

Last edited by narayan (2009-02-28 14:55)

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