[pydotorg-www] project plan (python.org and navigation)

Paul Boddie paul at boddie.org.uk
Fri Apr 23 00:55:10 CEST 2010

On Thursday 22 April 2010 23:14:19 Jesse Noller wrote:
> On Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 5:04 PM, "Martin v. Löwis" <martin at v.loewis.de> 
> >
> > But there is: Quick Links/Windows installer. Plus there is "download
> > Python now" in the center of the page.
> It's all text; for a lot of people, the text tends to merge together
> in a big jumble when looking at the site; given the amount of text we
> have on the front page, I'm not surprised.

My experience with the python.org toolchain is that it seems to encourage 
monster sidebars because the sidebar menu and "quick links" are prominent 
features of the content format. Take a look at the EuroPython site:


Now, I've actually *added* to the "quick links" - that's 
the "Participate!", "Activities", and so on - by separating stuff into 
different categories, but you've still got the menu items sitting above. If 
you click on one of those menu items, you get the python.org experience: big 
submenus, most probably because it's just too awkward to make the rest of the 
page do what you want it to do.

Another thing with ReST is that if that's what you would rather use, you will 
only ever produce content that can be comfortably expressed in that format. 
As I experienced with ReST's predecessor, convenience of notation is a great 
thing, but after a while bundling stuff into nested lists is no substitute 
for a more compelling visual aid such as a table. Only Lisp programmers want 
to see all the content presented in a monotonous, uniform fashion. ;-)


> > What I also don't understand why these trivial changes have to wait for
> > a revamp of the entire site.
> I don't consider any of this trivial, given the current design of the site.

Stuff can be done to mitigate the problems. For EuroPython, I just asked to 
have access, and I've made these relatively minor changes which I hope aren't 
too disruptive. For python.org, and particularly for an outsider, the barrier 
to entry is just too high.

Martin asked before whether anyone ever just jumped in to edit stuff. I can 
offer my experiences on the other side of the fence with regard to the 
Mercurial project. Now, I merely use Mercurial and don't work on extensions 
or the project itself, but it occurred to me that some of the documentation 
could be improved slightly. Since a lot of the "community" documentation is 
on a Wiki, it has merely been a case of creating an account, cutting, 
pasting, rewriting, initially incrementally, and then letting people know 
that a genuine attempt has been made to improve things, and that they can 
always change or revert that work. One of the pages I've changed is here:


Of course it helps to be motivated to do this kind of thing, to go round and 
collect related pages and to decide whether they should be merged with other 
pages, deleted, or changed to fit a new purpose, but if you don't give people 
the chance to do this then they obviously won't do it.


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