Help System Discussions

Specification for our dream (DITA) documentation tool

In February LeeHunter posted his wish list of features for "an awesome technical communication CMS". I've copied his list and processed the comments in the discussion and some of my own, and added our current status implementing these features and ideas of how any missing features could be implemented in the near future.

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A DITA documentation distribution for Drupal


A couple of weeks ago we launched Modulecraft an awareness & fund-raising project that aims to rally Drupal professionals around a shared effort to create the ultimate toolset for Drupal business. The first fundraising round has as goal the development of a documentation distribution for Drupal that uses a similar approach as the localization server and that enables a distributed/federated documentation architecture for the Drupal project. As a Drupal user you'll be able to get a set of documentation from the docs server imported into your own site. You will than be able to edit it and build subsets of the documentation for your own projects. You'll also be able to submit topics that were edited or created by you on your own infrastructure and add them as suggestions to the Drupal documentation server.

The following is a first proposal for the specification of the Documentation system we want to build as part of the modulecraft project. It is by no means complete, and it strongly needs your feedback. This is our first encounter with DITA and our ideas should really be proof checked by technical writers that have extensive experience using DITA. It also contains some proposes a somewhat exotic usage of RDFa, feedback is also very much needed here. In the coming days I'll be adding new sections to the specification here. This is a wiki so be bold! You can add comments either here or at the original posts on the Pronovix blog. I'll be incorporating feedback into this wiki.

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redndahead's picture

Use About or Introduction

As I was adding help pages I noticed that the ones that had already been added were titled About Modulename. I was titling mine Introduction. So 2 questions:

  1. What's better About or Introduction?
  2. I had removed the module name from the title because it will automatically be within the module group. Should we keep the module name or should it go?
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redndahead's picture

Style Guidelines for Help System

We should start to create a style guideline for the help system. This would help to make the help files consistent in look and feel. I have started a wiki page here

Hopefully we can discuss how each part should look here and lay it out on the wiki.

Edit: Wiki page removed look at the other pages posted below.

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Gurpartap Singh's picture

Interested in contributing to core documentation?

Drupal 7 will (hopefully) see the introduction of a new and completely overhauled help system (read: starting from scratch).
However, this mean that all documentation must be re-written.

This is not a job for one person! We need everyone to pitch in and help (no pun intended). If everyone can write two (2) pages, then we'll be very well off.

The kind people at the Help System group on have assembled a workflow for you to take part in. Here's how to write a help page for a module:

  1. Log in here. If you don't already have an account, you can log in with as your usename and your password as your password
  2. Navigate your browser here to start your new wiki page.
  3. Choose "Drupal Documentation Task" for the "Group categories" vocabulary; and
  4. Choose the name of the module for which you are writing documentation for the "Help topic module" vocabulary.
  5. Fill in the title and the body to those that you wish to appear on your help page
  6. Be sure to adhere to the guidelines

If everyone can do two (2) of these, we'll have all the help pages in core done in a matter of days. And guess who it starts with? You!

If you would like to edit an existing page, simply go to the Help System group, find the page along the left, click on it, and click the edit tab.

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Gurpartap Singh's picture

Help and support "welcome page" mockup

Awaiting suggestions before I set my own standards

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Looking for speakers to present a 'Help Drupal Help' session @Szeged Drupalcon

The Help GSOC project and the general effort to improve Drupal's Help system are an important part of improving the Drupal user experience.

I'm looking for people who could help produce a session on 'Help' in Drupal. This is a rough sketch for how a session proposal might look:

Help Drupal Help

Improving the Drupal UX through better copywriting and smarter Help features.


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geve's picture

Guided Tours for First timers

glad to start of the discussion here. :)

Recently there has been a lot of talk about usability problems. I think the solution to this also lies in a better help system.

Drupal is not a trivial piece of software, that we can make a interface and expect the users to understand everything about it. So lets face the problem.

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