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From Daniel Fagerstrom <dani...@nada.kth.se>
Subject Re: [RANT] The Cocoon website: move on, nothing is happening here
Date Wed, 18 Oct 2006 20:27:39 GMT
Arje Cahn skrev:
...
> The discussion about a new design for our website is great, but I feel there are 
 > much bigger mistakes that we have to get straightened out before the 
shinyness of
 > our website is of any importance. We need to decide where we put 
what, as it's
 > currently spread all over the place: Cocoon website, mailinglists, 
the Wiki, blogs,
 > zones.apache, Daisy documentation, etc etc...

Can agree that design isn't the highest priority. Neither the less it is 
important and it is the first thing that meats the eyes of a newcomer. 
The current design is something that we (thanks to the popularity of 
Forrest) shares with hundreds of sites. So everybody have seen it 
before. As we would like to think of Cocoon as something unique we 
shouldn't look like everybody else. So if we have people in the 
community who have the talent do do something about it, we should 
wholeheartedly support such efforts.

> So here's my list of things that TOTALLY SUCK about the Cocoon website :-)
> 
> - Someone has to maintain the Cocoon News page. There are now 4 entries on the page,
 > spanning a total 2 years of news. That totally sucks! For a newcomer, 
this is not a
 > good sign. It would really help, if we got someone to add 1 news 
entry every month,
 > with 3 lines minimum. We've recently added a bunch of committers to 
the project, which
 > is perfect to show that we're not DEAD. Let's put it on there!

Agree, we have plenty of activity in our community, so a couple of news 
items per month would be a much better reflection of our reality. So how 
do we achieve this?

First I think we need some common idea about what is a news item. Some 
suggestions would be:

* New releases (with separate releases of the blocks there should be 
plenty of things to report)
* Cocoon GT and ApacheCon and other conferences with Cocoon presentations
* Links to articles about or mentioning Cocoon and any other media coverage
* New products and (larger) sites using Cocoon
* New committers and ASF members with short presentations (Cocoon is a 
strong and active community and that should be visible)
* New bloggs with Cocoon focus
* Important new features or developments
* Important discussions on the mail lists
More ideas?

Second we need some (simple) way to suggest news. I think we should 
suggest possible news items at the dev-list by having a special headers 
prefix like [news].

Third, as the website is our official voice, we need some kind of 
community oversight. I think lazy consensus should be enough. If no one 
have protested in maybe three days, we should add the news item to the 
news page. Of course if someone with marketing skills would like 
volunteer and take a larger responsibility for creating and editing the 
news contents that would great.

> - NEWS should be on the HOMEPAGE, not 2 clicks away from the homepage. I mean, look
 > at *any* commercial website and see how many clicks you need to get 
to the news and
 > marketing yadayada.

Agree completely. Let's imagine a first time visitor to our site. The 
reason that she got to our site is probably that she has heard or read 
about Cocoon and follow a link from another site or a search machine to 
learn more. What will create most motivation for actually learning more 
about Cocoon, an fairly abstract description about what Cocoon is or 
lots of news items showing that this is the place where the action is ;)

And the returning visitor already know what Cocoon is, so for her it is 
much more interesting to learn what is new and what happens.

It must of course be easy to find information about what Cocoon is, but 
it shouldn't be the main content of the home page. On the homepage it 
should be enough with one or two sentences about what it is. Take a look 
at Spring e.g. own visual design and it starts with:

"Welcome to the home of the Spring Framework.  As the leading full-stack 
Java/J2EE application framework, Spring delivers significant benefits 
for many projects, reducing development effort and costs while improving 
test coverage and quality."

And then they continue with lots of news. That shows self confidence!

So why are we explain how it is:

"Welcome to the home of the Cocoon Framework.  As the leading XML/Java 
web application framework, Cocoon delivers significant benefits for many 
projects, reducing development effort and costs while improving test 
coverage and quality."

;)

...

> - Documentation (sorry, Helma). So, it was Stefano's dream to once have a Cocoon
 > CMS and run the Cocoon website with it. I don't think part of this 
dream was to
 > tuck it away on a hidden location so it will be forgotten forever. 
How embarissing
 > it is to see Helma working at the GT practically alone on all our 
docs. This has
 > everything to do with the total invisibility of the documentation 
website. Let's
 > bring it out into the spotlights. Let's give every committer a login, 
or better yet,
 > get Daisy to talk to the ASF's authentication server (free advice 
Belgian guys).

Yes, lets add some "release early release often" to our documentation 
effort. AFAIU we already have mechanisms for publishing from our Daisy 
site to our home page. We should start to do that for the 2.2 docu right 
away. In the beginning we of course need some disclaimers that both the 
software and the documentation are early alpha. But seeing all the TBD 
in the blocks framework documentation on our official site will create 
more pressure on me to take my responsibility and actually write some 
documentation ;)

/Daniel


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