[pydotorg-www] project plan

Jesse Noller jnoller at gmail.com
Thu Apr 22 03:46:47 CEST 2010

On Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 9:08 PM,  <skip at pobox.com> wrote:
>    Michael> Just because they are tools that *we* as programmers are
>    Michael> familiar with (and not all programmers are by any stretch of
>    Michael> the imagination) is no reason to make it so complex.
> But change for the (apparent) sake of change seems wrong to me.  I have yet
> to see a concrete proposal for what you would use to replace the current
> technology or who the potential users of the current technology are who have
> been unable to surmount the current barriers.

There is no proposal because Rich is evaluating the requirements of
such a tool Skip. We are discussing the various use cases, users,
consumers and creators. A proposal and project plan will be developed.
We are only in the discussion/requirements planning phase.

>    Michael> There is also no conceptual reason that we couldn't come up
>    Michael> with a system that allows both ways of working (a through the
>    Michael> web system that generates patches for example) - but insisting
>    Michael> we stick with the current system because we are familiar with
>    Michael> it and have no reason to change is not good.
> That would seem to fall into the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"
> category.

We've always been at war with Eurasia.

> I suspect that the initial impetus for this effort was that the website
> content needs significant rework.  For the time being at least I think it
> would be best to focus on the new/revised content and structure and leave
> the tools as-is.  I'll grant that the current tools used to maintain the
> website aren't for everyone, but they work for the people who currently
> twiddle the bits and they will get the job done without requiring a big
> investment in developing new tools or adapting other off-the-shelf tools to
> handle our specific needs.  The last time the site was redesigned Tim
> Parking spent a large amount of time developing a new tool set, then a
> couple years later Andrew Kuchling reworked them to get them to the state
> they are in today.

Just because things "sorta work" right now, for "a select subset of
the technologically elite" (of which, all of us discussing us are part
of) does not mean the system is Good or Complete. The goal, as I
understand (and have been encouraging on the PSF list and elsewhere)
is to examine the current state of tools, and content and not only do
a redesign of the look and feel of the site itself, but also improve
the tool chain to reduce the friction of contribution.

As a piece of anecdotal evidence - I speak to people *daily*, in which
the conversation goes like this:

Them: "Man, I found a bug in the docs/python lib/site"
Me: "Please file a bug, better yet, file a patch! Especially the docs,
they're easy to fix!"
Them: <rummaging>
Them: I have to do *what* to change a line in the docs?! Check out
code? Do a diff? Screw that!! I have other things to do that *pay me*.
Me: Please file a bug at least!
Them: Why bother? It's going to take forever for it to get fixed. You
deal with it.

Daily. I have these conversations *daily*. It is a firm, and total
belief of mine that almost anyone using, documenting, testing with, or
writing tools for/in python today can become an active contributor to
Python as a whole - no matter how insignificant the contribution is.

In order to help that belief though; I'm firmly in the camp which is
asking we modernize the tool chain - offer a web-based
comment/feedback tool ala the Django Book, a CMS for the
less-programming-inclined to add content (and correct it, or even to
auto-submit patches). Using mercurial for patch/code management, etc.

This is not a matter of killing the contributors that have gotten us
this far; it's about bringing in more people by lowering the barrier,
friction, and time it takes to become a *contributing* member.

As I understand the current undertaking which spurred this discussion
- this is a requirements and feedback gathering project, which will
beget RFPs/Proposals which the PSF itself will fund or guide the
development of. I don't think having modern tools, a modern look and
feel, cleaner layout and organization is bad in any way.


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