[pydotorg-www] project plan

Michael Foord mfoord at python.org
Wed Apr 21 18:14:35 CEST 2010

On 21/04/2010 17:11, 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.

Right, so it involves at least use of subversion and understanding of 
reStructured Text format - plus checkin rights or the ability to create 
a patch. If you *already* know all this stuff then it is easy. If you 
don't then it isn't... I think that this particular question is 
something we are never likely to get consensus on amongst all those 
involved and the PSF board should make a decision based on their goals 
for the site.

>        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.

Simple, clean and attractive would be my ideals for the site. I am 
against Flash but I'm not against enhancing a site with Javascript. It 
shouldn't be essential to access the basic functionality, but if we do 
have any more advanced interactive features then I'm not against them 
being unavailable without Javascript (assuming we can remain compliant 
with basic accessibility principles - not something I know anything about).

On that note - should accessibility requirements be part of the plan? 

> [snip..]
>      * (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.
It would be very good if we could include ways for user groups to have a 
"home" on Python.org - publishing meeting details and news.

The other side of the coin to localization is internationalization - it 
would be great to host / support other translations and even have a way 
for users to create / suggest new translations for parts of the 
documentation. Quite a big project to do it completely.

>      * (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.
Whilst *evaluating* tutorials can be done (and perhaps is best done) by 
those with little experience I don't think that absolute Python newbies 
can *create* a very good tutorial. Many small details of Python idioms 
and best practises only come through experience. On the other hand I 
would be *very* much in favour of the PSF sponsoring a new Python 
tutorial. I don't think the existing one is *particularly* good - it is 
showing its age.

>        - 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.
That would be very useful. The Django book had an online annotation 
system they used for collecting corrections / suggestions. I think there 
was (is?) a GSOC project to create something like this for Sphinx.

>        - Would Google App Engine be a suitable environment for an interactive
>          Python exploratorium?

I'd rather not have our core services dependent on external providers - 
but am not *strongly* against it for some of the details.

All the best,


>      * (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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