[Numpy-discussion] ASP status, docs, and supporting development

Joe Harrington jh at oobleck.astro.cornell.edu
Tue Oct 11 07:34:46 EDT 2005

After SciPy '04, Perry, Janet, and a few others and I put together a
roadmap and framework, called ASP, for people to contribute to all the
parts of SciPy other than the software: docs, packaging, website, etc.
There was much interest expressed, and a few people even signed on the
electronic dotted line to be involved:


The roadmap is laid out in this thread, which is linked in the first
paragraph of the page above:


The first thing we did was to gather all the external projects using
SciPy that we could find, and make an index page.  The community found
them and Fernando Perez did the hard work (more than he bargained for)
of collating everything into the index page:


That is now a live wiki page, so if your project isn't on there,
please add it!

We were gearing up for effort #2, a web-site overhaul, early this
year, when Travis announced his intention to heal the rift between the
small- and large-array communities.  We held up our push on web
development, which was a few days from kickoff, so that it wouldn't
take volunteers from his more-crucial effort.

We all know the story of last year: Travis worked like crazy, called
for volunteers, got only a few, and finished the job anyway.  Now he's
publishing a book in hopes of supporting some of his work from the
revenues.  He's made it clear that he will not be offended by or
opposed to free docs, and may even contribute to them.  He's also
still Head Nummie and is leading the hard work of testing and bug
swatting.  Of course, we all want him to continue, and most of us
freely admit our getting more than we are giving, and our gratitude to
Travis, Todd, Robert, and the other core developers.

Meanwhile, we have the problem of needing some basic docs that are
free, and there seems to be quite a bit of interest in the community
for doing one or more free docs.  This seems to have more community
energy behind it now than a web overhaul, so let's do it.

The wiki and procedures are all set up to do some docs, and have been
for about a year now.  If you're interested in doing some docs, either
as the lead author of a doc, as a contributor, or as a reviewer,
please sign up on


The goal of the signups page is to make it easy for people to find
each other: for lead authors to find people who will help them, for
the community to identify who is taking part in what efforts, for
low-level-of-effort volunteers to become hooked up with bigger
projects, etc.  There should be dozens of names there, not just three!


If you're interested in LEADING A DOC, please add your name to the
page, make a page for your doc on the wiki, and hang it off the main
page, as "Scipy Cookbook" has done (there's a help link at the top of
the page with instructions).  A project can be anything from writing a
collaborative book from scratch, to writing a monograph, to editing
and revising existing docs.  Announce your project on scipy-dev.

If you would like to do a little work but not take the lead on
something, you can contribute to the Cookbook or sign up to be a
reviewer or contributor, either on an existing doc or at large.  Or,
contact a doc lead directly and sign up under that project.

Please read the roadmap for ideas of docs we thought the community
needs.  The roadmap document is meant to be amended.  For example, is
the idea of using the docstrings to make a full-blown reference manual
a good idea?  I think so, since it's a rather self-updating format,
but it will require some substantial work to get them all fleshed out
and up to par.  Discuss plans, changes, and ongoing efforts for docs
on the scipy-dev mailing.

It would be nice to have each project have a home on scipy.org, and
Plone has excellent workflow-management tools.  But, it's ok to home a
project on your own site and just put a link on scipy.org.

Finally, PLEASE everyone buy Travis's book if you can!  Wait for the
price to go up.  Buy copies for everyone in your lab, if you can
afford that.  Buy one for your grandmother.  It looks like it will be
a really nice book, but it's more than that.  This is a way to support
development, which everyone desperately needs but few have the time
(and fewer the skill and experience) to do.  If you're at a company
that benefits from SciPy and that hasn't already contributed resources
to the effort, please consider parting with a larger chunk of change,
either by buying more copies or by hiring Travis or others directly to
do ongoing maintenance and package development.


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