[pydotorg-www] project plan

Richard Leland rich at richleland.com
Wed Apr 21 17:21:53 CEST 2010

Thanks for all the feedback Skip! I'll read through and respond/apply to the
plan where appropriate.

- Rich

Richard Leland
rich at richleland.com

On Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 11:11 AM, <skip at pobox.com> wrote:

> My feedback on Rich's outline document so far:
>    * (Agility) I don't think the site content is difficult to update.  It
>      is in a fairly simple to read/write text format.  Except when brain
>      cramps get in my way, updating the site generally involves little more
>      than editing the text and checking in the changed file(s).  Switching
>      to some kind of through-the-web editing system would be massive
>      overkill in my opinion.
>      As for the appearance, I lean more toward the simple Google end of the
>      spectrum when it comes to website appearance, and I detest websites
>      which think it's ok to spew out JavaScript or Flash animations which
>      peg my computer's CPU.  I do, however, think that whatever appearance
>      you settle on should be used in the wiki as well.  They are two sides
>      of the same coin in my mind.
>    * (Involvement) I agree that more involvement by the community would be
>      beneficial.  Frequently when the site has lagged behind content-wise I
>      think it's because it contained content which was naturally dynamic.
>      In several instances we have moved content to the wiki so the
>      community can keep that content up-to-date.
>      Regarding the wiki, while more community involvement is worthwhile,
>      wikis can devolve into little more than a "bag of pages".  I think
>      some effort to provide overall structure to the wiki would be
>      worthwhile.  Deciding if/when to cull data from the wiki would also be
>      helpful.  (For example, frequently people create personal home pages
>      on the wiki which contain nothing more than their email address - I
>      guess that's the default with the home page template.)
>      There are certain parts of the site which I think should not be turned
>      over to a broader audience, however.  In particular, download/release
>      content, news and job postings should be fairly tightly controlled in
>      my mind.  I hope the reasons for tight control of download/release
>      content are obvious.
>      The job board seems to be a well-used part of the site, at least based
>      on the number of posting requests I've seen and notes about taking
>      down postings because positions have been filled.  There is a fair
>      amount of give-and-take at times between Martin and the people posting
>      job announcements to help the submitters get their posts into
>      reasonable form and with appropriate content.  (At least once a month
>      I would suspect that postings with no apparent Python relevance are
>      sent to the jobs address.)  The job board is a good marketing tool for
>      Python the language.  I think it would be a shame if the high quality
>      of the content was diluted by lack of oversight.
>      News postings fall into a similar category as a marketing tool.  "Wow,
>      look at all the Python events!"  There is limited space on the site
>      for news items.  There appears to be room for five to seven items
>      "above the fold" given the current layout.  While I think it would be
>      nice if more events could be posted, that is limited real estate.
>      OTOH, maybe all news items could be submitted and will go out in the
>      RSS feed, while only the most important are tagged for display on the
>      website.
>      Another area where we could use some help is in squashing/redirecting
>      old content.  Fairly frequently email arrives at the webmaster address
>      referring to old pages from previous incarnations of the website which
>      have broken links or are simply badly outdated.  In almost all cases I
>      think we should redirect to a page in the current website or wiki.
>      Simply identifying old content would be a significant project.  It
>      would be great if the larger community could help identify old pages
>      and a suitable redirect target.  The folks who twiddle the bits on the
>      web server config could set up the necessary redirection and take down
>      the old page.
>    * (Localization) I would like to see some way to highlight local user
>      group meetings.  I realize that's somewhat at odds with my comments
>      above about news items.  It might be worthwhile to also offer storage/
>      display/indexing space for presentations from local user group talks.
>    * (Extensibility) I'm not sure what you're after here.  I think you need
>      to expand, maybe give an example.
>    * (Accessibility) Traditionally, aside from the main Python tutorial
>      (which assumes some programming background) tutorial information for
>      complete novice programmers has been left up to the broader community,
>      then referenced from the main site or the wiki.
>      (Thinking out loud here...)
>      - I wonder if the PSF might consider funding a competent technical
>        writer with essentially no programming experience to learn the
>        language and produce a good tutorial aimed at complete novices.
>      - Allowing the community to annotate the online documentation (though
>        still keeping the actual documentation content "in-house" - sort of
>        midway between a closed site and fully editable wiki) might be an
>        excellent way to improve it.  Users could point out errors, add
>        examples, maybe even easily suggest ways to restructure signficant
>        parts for easier use.
>      - Would Google App Engine be a suitable environment for an interactive
>        Python exploratorium?
>    * (Presentation) As I indicated above I prefer a "lighter" look and
>      feel.  Sidebars can be handy, but we seem to have taken them to an
>      extreme.  With both constant-width left and right sidebars on the
>      front page you lose anywhere from one third to one half of the space
>      available to display actual content.  That said, I am all for
>      highlighting activities such as GSoC (maybe displayed as a thin banner
>      across the top of the page?).  I think you could move the "... uses
>      Python" box to the bottom of the left-hand sidebar, eliminate the
>      "What they are saying..." altogether, and merge the "Using Python
>      For..." box into the left-hand sidebar as a dynamic hierarchical menu.
> Skip
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