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From "Arje Cahn" <a.c...@hippo.nl>
Subject [RANT] The Cocoon website: move on, nothing is happening here
Date Tue, 17 Oct 2006 18:05:52 GMT
Hi all,

I just have to share my frustrations.

        ----oOo-----

I got 2 emails from people that were very disappointed that they both missed out on the GT
because they were only watching the Cocoon website. One of them mentioned that his manager
no longer wants him to use Cocoon since the project website is dead. These two people were
visitors of last year's event, and I'm pretty sure that there would've been many more people
that missed out because they don't read the mailinglists. 

First of all, let me start by saying that I've made a really big mistake in not updating the
Cocoon website with news about the Cocoon GetTogether. Although the Wiki does mention it,
as well as the mailinglists, the Cocoon website has no news to share. But it appeared to me
anyway that the Cocoon news page is actually never actually really read. (how stupid of me)

For example, if you take a look at http://cocoon.apache.org/news/index.html, it says pretty
much nothing.

Of course, I'll have to blame myself for not putting the GT on the website. Which I do. But
I must say that I've been working my ass off to get the GT done, and I'm just a little bit
disappointed that no one else came up with the idea of putting it up on the website. Alright,
I know, it's entirely my fault.

On the other hand, there's been the occasional blogposts (thanks!), and Carsten had some postings
in German magazines, but that was just about it.

Compare this with the 30 something people that Carsten got at (both) his talks in Austin,
and the 50 something in Dublin. Add to that the 90 people attending the Cocoon GT of which
80% were totally unrelated to the Cocoon 'family'. There's still a lot of interest in Cocoon
from the outside world - we just do not leverage it!

And then there's the really kind words that I got from Apache board guys at the ApacheCon
in Austin. Why is it so hard to drive 300 attendees to Austin for a big conference on ALL
Apache projects, covered by a huge budget, big names and big sponsors, while we seem to easily
reach 100 people every year for a silly little conference in Europe without *any* serious
budget??! I mean, Cocoon was supposed to be OBSOLETE, wasn't it?

BTW, thanks for putting up the ApacheCon logo's on the Cocoon site. Neat. 

        ----oOo-----

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...

        ----oOo-----

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! 

- 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.

- Add Cocoon blogs to the Cocoon website (don't know if that would be a legal issue, but it
would surely add fuzz). Only the Apache incrowd reads planetapache - it's just too far away
from the Cocoon website. Let's move it there where the community is. Just see the Ruby on
Rails website. Why the dull Cocoon "move on, nothing is happening here" look?

- 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).

- The Cocoon Wiki went DEAD as soon as it was moved to Moinmoin. What a sin. It might have
been for political reasons, I don't know. I believe the Cocoon Wiki was once the brightest,
most innovative and fun place to be if you wanted to get your hands dirty with Cocoon. Whatever
happened to the navigation bar we used to have in JSPWiki?? Please! Let's put it back. I don't
think I'm the stupidest person on earth, but ever since the Moinmoin Wiki was launched I've
NEVER found ANYTHING interesting on it anymore.

- Make stuff easy to find on our website.. Without going into details, too many things are
hidden too far away. I'm very sure there's hardly any newcomer that figures out that you should
subscribe to our mailinglists to see what's going on.

- And finally, I feel so sorry for www.planetcocoon.com and www.spreadcocoon.com. Same probably
goes for zones.apache, cocoondev.org, and all the other nice initiatives people have launched
to promote Cocoon. They've all been too far away from the project itself, too scathered around
the place. I should even include www.cocoongt.org on this list, I mean, the whole Cocoon conference
website should be on the Cocoon website itself. Maybe this poses ASF issues, I don't know.
But even then, we should talk about it.

        ----oOo-----

To conclude, I think we need to move all our community efforts to the 1 location where people
actually start to look when they are searching for Cocoon: cocoon.apache.org.
And we need regular changes on there.

I guess I should've posted this before the GT, so we could've used the Hackaton to get things
fixed. But if that's what we need, then I suggest you all get on that plane again to Amsterdam
for a 3rd and 4th Hackaton day! :-) Heck, I'll even order some pizza's!!

----

Arjé


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