The first of my GNOME summers…

 

…is almost over! The old “time flies when you are having fun” cliché has, yet again, been proven right.

Still, I don’t feel like saying goodbye to anything. Not only because I’m positive that tomorrow I’ll still be fighting with git commands, Mallard tags, do-I-write-this-as-a-separate-topic doubts; or reading the conversations on #docs channel and posts on Planet GNOME instead of getting things done; or bugging Tiffany with questions; or thinking for the umpteenth time why the heck didn’t I learn to code years ago…?

Thanks to the Women Outreach Program, immersing myself into this GNOME and open software waters has not only made my summer 2012 one of the most refreshing and exciting ever, it has also served as a kind of baptism (if such an expression is allowed to a fundamentalist skeptic like myself) into a new community of which I fervently hope to continue being a member for a very, very long time.

 Getting Things GNOME! Documentation

My first baby is almost two months old now, and will officially be presented to the world in a few weeks, when the 0.3 version of GTG is released (lucky ones with the gtg-daily-ppa, have already had the pleasure of being acquainted).

I approached the task of planning and documenting GTG features with enthusiasm and armed with my experience in writing user documentation for Windows based closed source applications.  Along the way I had to learn the basics of git commands, understand the logic behind the Mallard tags, get to know better the structure of Linux OS, figure out the way to effectively screencast, edit and render videos with open source tools, put myself in the shoes of the heavy GTG user…

GTG developer team has been a pleasure to work with: Bertrand (my co-mentor), Lionel, Izidor, and many more reviewed the draft versions of the docs promptly and patiently, and their input has been essential for the quality of the final result.

Even though docs are finished – for now, at least ;) – I remain involved in the project as a community manager and at the moment I am working on the new GTG website (still work-in-progress, be sure to visit in a couple of weeks). All in all, I am very proud to be the part of the Story of Getting Things GNOME!

 

 

Gtranslator Documentation

Being a member of the GNOME Spanish Translation team made the choice of my second OPW task easier, as Gtranslator was in dire need of revised userdocs. Rewriting an existing documentation is a slightly different challenge, but I could always count on (if not the whole development team), the essential help of Daniel Mustieles,  Spanish team Coordinator.

Since I was finishing my Technical Communication Certification at the same time, I decided to approach the writing of the new Gtranslator docs in a more structured manner, starting with the draft proposal and the proper Information Plan. Time was also well spent on information model analysis, prototyping topics and diagramming the navigation. I also realized that I’ve barely scratched the Mallard linking and section features, and now I can’t wait for the adequate documentation task to try them on. Considering that I plan to dive into DITA very soon, I am hoping that these months of “thinking Mallard” will help me get into that rich-semantic-markup mindframe more easily. Check out the final version of the user docs in HTML format, Mallard pages on git.gnome.org, Gtranslator Help Information Plan  (PDF file), and the slideshow presentation (ODP file).

 The best part of the Gtranslator user documentation rewriting was that I have crossed the finish line during the Docs Team Hackfest after the Open Help Conference. I’ll write about that experience in a separate topic, erm…, post (“thinking Mallard” runs deep, as you can see), but I can’t end this story without mentioning how awesome that group is, and how much I enjoyed working side-by-side with each and every one of them. Even though I haven’t been able to attend GUADEC in July this year, meeting all of you in person during the doc sprints made up for it!

 

Last but not least, I want to thank Google, Mozilla, Collabora, the Free Software Foundation, and Red Hat, for their generous sponsorship that made the GNOME Outreach Program for Women possible for all of us interns.

Special mentions go to my mentor Tiffany Antopolski (for always being there, yet still letting me be), to GOPW organizer Marina Zhurakhinskaya (see you at the next ADACamp!), and to Karen Sandler and the rest of the GNOME Foundation Board of Directors. You ladies (and gentlemen) rock, and I hope that one day I can say that I’ve contributed to FOS cause even just a fraction of what you did!!!

 

And now I’m off to my first GNOME autumn… See you there!