[pydotorg-www] Current python.org contributor process

Michael Foord fuzzyman at voidspace.org.uk
Thu Apr 22 23:12:53 CEST 2010

Hello all,

Suppose "someone" did decide they wanted to help python.org by supplying 
a patch, this is roughly the set of steps they would have to go through:

Go to http://python.org
Click on "Help maintain the website" in the left sidebar: 
Click on website maintenance: http://www.python.org/dev/pydotorg/website [1]

The instructions here are on how to checkout the repository from the 
command line with the svn tool. ( Please note that this repository 
contains several hundred megabytes.) This takes a looooooong time. :-( 
By default this gives you a directory called "beta.python.org". You then 
open a file build/README with instructions.

The first step is to install the build system dependencies: mako, 
pyyaml, and docutils.

The next step is running make, which if you are on Windows requires 
first installing Cygwin - another lengthy procedure.

To actually make changes you need to know / learn ReStructured Text, a 
custom markup from pyramid and possibly yaml.

If you don't have checkin rights you'll need to generate a patch 
(assuming you know how) - and then there is nowhere to post it (no issue 
tracker for the website), other than perhaps emailing it to 
webmaster at python.org.

Anyone who doesn't think this constitutes a "high barrier to entry" is 
nuts (tm).

For what it's worth my *memory* (fallible) is of Fred Lundh's through 
the web experiment attracting a great deal of interest and contributions 
- that was for the Python documentation rather than the website though. 
Also for those using it as a counter-example, we do get a lot more 
changes / contributions to the documentation since switching away from 
Latex to reStructured Text (which I am a fan of). There isn't a flood of 
patches from non-contributors - but legally we aren't permitted to take 
large contributions from non core developers without a signed form 
anyway. We do occasional (perhaps even regular) patches on the tracker 
and the core developers all find it much easier to maintain and change. 
Certainly that move was a success.

All the best,

Michael Foord

[1] The first link on the "Help maintain the website" page is to "Report 
problems or suggest an improvement" ( 
http://wiki.python.org/moin/PythonWebsiteCreatingNewTickets ). This 
suggests emailing webmaster at python.org (not a bad move) - or making 
changes on this wiki page: http://wiki.python.org/moin/SiteImprovements 
A wiki page is not a substitute for an issue tracker and that wiki page 
is a mess.


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