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From "Christopher Tubbs (JIRA)" <>
Subject [jira] [Commented] (ACCUMULO-1515) Minimize README
Date Thu, 27 Feb 2014 20:07:22 GMT


Christopher Tubbs commented on ACCUMULO-1515:

[~bills] wrote:
{quote}Would using to the README/INSTALL file convention a lot of projects have alleviate
some of this concern? ....{quote}

Possibly. The README could be very minimal and not change much, because the project description
and links to more information won't change much. We'd have to clarify what the INSTALL file
is, though. Moving it to a separate file doesn't necessarily help minimize doc maintenance
or consolidate docs. Is INSTALL for the binary tarball, explaining how to run, or is it for
the source tarball, explaining how to build, or both? At some point the contents... whether
in README or INSTALL, have diminishing value, as we try to explain every possible scenario
(building DEB/RPMs, building binary tarball from source, explaining all the maven profiles
and options, etc.).

If it were as simple as {{./configure && make}}, I'd be fine with that... because
configure scripts and Makefiles in other projects often support making many different targets
and the INSTALL files don't usually try to explain all of the different options. Unfortunately,
we do, and that's where the value begins to diminish, becoming a tutorial on maven and instructions
on every build option rather than a quickstart guide for 90% use case coverage. If we can
reduce these instructions to a single one-line maven command, I'm all in favor.

If we follow other examples, the INSTALL file should contain basic information about build
dependencies and instructions on how to build the source in its entirety (PDFs, RPMs, DEBs,
tarballs, everything) with default options (default hadoop profile, for instance). It should
not be an attempt to explain every profile and build option, just as other projects don't
attempt to explain every Makefile target or ./configure flag which is available. It's not
too much to expect somebody diverging from the basic "build all" option to learn the build
system and read the build configuration files.

> Minimize README
> ---------------
>                 Key: ACCUMULO-1515
>                 URL:
>             Project: Accumulo
>          Issue Type: Sub-task
>          Components: docs, monitor
>            Reporter: Christopher Tubbs
>              Labels: Documentation
>             Fix For: 1.6.0
> The README at the root of the project is no longer just a quick description of the project,
or a simple "Getting Started" guide. In some cases, it serves as a full-blown user guide for
some non-trivial features (Kerberos integration, developer directory assembly, packaging instructions).
> The problem with this is that it makes it much hard to maintain up-to-date documentation
in a concise way. It also makes the README fall into the 'tl;dr' category for many users.
> I would prefer a README that is minimal. It should briefly explain what the project is,
and refer the user to the Apache website for more detailed documentation. We can then maintain
this documentation in a consolidated location (derived from the LaTeX document for consistency
with a more structured document, or maintained separately on the website).
> For context, this README is primarily viewed in one of three ways: when looking at the
source, the unpacked binary tarball, or seeing the project description on the GitHub mirror.

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