[Python-ideas] docs.python.org

M.-A. Lemburg mal at egenix.com
Sat Oct 27 15:27:53 CEST 2012

On 27.10.2012 13:34, Mark Dickinson wrote:
> On Sat, Oct 27, 2012 at 7:22 AM, Nick Coghlan <ncoghlan at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Sat, Oct 27, 2012 at 3:44 PM, Yury Selivanov <yselivanov.ml at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Start with docs switching to py3k by default.  That shouldn't be harmful
>>> (and I hope that my docs theme patch will be accepted soon).
>> Actually, there are at least a few very real harms that come from
>> switching the docs over:
>> 1. Many third party Python 2 tutorials include links to our docs. We
>> can't magically reach out to those sites and update their links, so
>> they will end up linking to Python 3 resources from Python 2 ones
> As a data point, MIT's '6.00x Introduction to Computer Science and
> Programming' EdX online course contains many links of the form
> "http://docs.python.org/library/...".  I don't have exact numbers, but
> judging by the EPD download numbers we've been seeing there are
> definitely thousands of students, and probably tens of thousands,
> taking that course.  Switching docs.python.org without a generous
> warning period would not be a good idea for those students.

Wouldn't it be possible to leave the non-versioned URLs redirecting
to the Python 2 versions for say another 5 years and instead
have the base URL http://docs.python.org/ provide links to either
the Python 2 or 3 version (perhaps even listing the various available
minor versions) ?

That would avoid the issue of having existing course material on the
web fail to work after just one year.

At PyCon UK we discussed these issues with teachers and people
interested in getting Python on the UK teaching plan. Their main
concern was that text books and course material have a much longer
life period than just 18 months. For them it's very important to
have a stable release of both Python and its documentation that
remains valid for at least 5 years.

I hope that Python 3.x has stabilized enough now with the 3.3 release
that it can become the basis for such materials.

In any case, if we want Python 3 to be picked up in such environments,
we cannot easily go about breaking things like URLs to documentation
and will have to settle on a stable approach soon.

Marc-Andre Lemburg

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