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From Ross Gardler <>
Subject Re: Who uses Forrest? (was Re: [RT] Directory structure and configuration)
Date Thu, 12 May 2005 11:22:08 GMT
Ferdinand Soethe wrote:
> Ross wrote
>>>I will make this point one last time and then keep quiet about it.
>>I'd rather you didn't keep quiet. Your opinion is critical in this.
> OK, since you asked for it :-)
> 1. End users


> So why not make it easier for these people (and win broader support) as
> long as it doesn't mean making compromises on quality.

I'm all for making it easier, but I disagree with *how* it is made 
easier. I would prefer it if an end-user could pick up forrest and build 
a simple, standard site *without* looking at *any* docs other than a 3 
line install and run description.

To achieve this we need helper tools, not different documentation (of 
course, it is not as clearly separated as this, *some* documentation 
will always be needed for the end-user).

> 2. Technical users
> I question the fact that Forrest is currently easy
> to understand for technical users. I think it is only easy to
> understand for people with a cocoon background!

Without an understanding of Cocoon pipelines, generators, transformers, 
serialisers, matchers, etc. etc. they won't get very far in Forrest. It 
is possible to do some skin customisation without Cocoon knowledge, but 
you can't do anything else. If you can find a way around this then that 
is great.

Sure, (non-technical) end-users have been empowered by the plugins, but 
why bother explaining to them how to configure, or 
forrest.xml or forrest.conf.xml or whatever we name it. Wouldn't it be 
better to have a script or gui that said "this plugin does XYZ, do you 
wnat to use it?" Then they don't care what the file is called.

> 3. GUI


> However I would really like working towards making Forrest a system
> where non-technical power users have a chance to throw away their
> gui-crutches at some point and work with the whole flexibility of
> Forrest below.

This blurs the distinction between non-technical end-users and technical 
users. What is a "power" user? How do we define one? What will they be 
doing with Forrest?

If they simply want to configure the way Forrest works by employing 
verious plugins and perhaps configuring their skin then a set of 
scripts/guis are what are need, coupled with clear documentation about 
the skinning system.

If they want to make Forrest do something that it can't already do they 
will have to learn about the Cocoon way of doing things because Forrest 
is a Cocoon app. That makes them a technical user - or at least someone 
willing to become a technical user. They will then need to read Cocoon 
docs as well as our own.


I am still +1 on anything that makes it easier for end-users. This 
includes, but is not limited to, renaming build targets to enable 
clearer docs to be written, or (preferably) building helper scripts that 
remove the need for the end-user to know the target names. These scipts 
can then be written from the perspective of an end user and the 
underlying framework can stick with the terminology used by the devs. 
Furthermore these scripts can be used in the Eclipse plugin (which, 
incidentally, already has a basic wizard for creating a new site).

I'm still -1 on changing the names of the configu files etc. we need to 
stay close to the nearest thing we have to "standards", that is we need 
to see the underlying structure of Forrest continuing to look like a 
Cocoon application. I pick on "a Cocoon appication" as our standard 
because that is what Forrest is, and very often we find ourselves 
referring technical users to Cocoon docs. It would therefore make sense 
for files to be named the same and located in the same locations as 
documented in those docs.

> P.S.
> All this does not mean that all the changes I suggested serve that
> goal. That I'm happy to discuss and question any time.

Yes, I'll return to those threads when we are agreed on who we are 
targetting and what our aims in the resturcuting is.


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