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From Tim Williams <>
Subject Re: [Important] Status and future direction
Date Tue, 13 Oct 2009 00:05:33 GMT
On Sun, Oct 11, 2009 at 11:36 PM, David Crossley <> wrote:
> What is "development" and "developer" in the context
> of Forrest? IMO every person who creates a documentation
> presentation system using Forrest is a developer.

A developer is someone that is responsible for setting up/configuring
an instance of Forrest.

A user is someone that contributes documentation to an instance of Forrest.

One of our problems is that Forrest currently requires some fairly
advanced knowledge to make some contribution to documentation.
Requiring an author to know some markup is reasonable.  Requiring an
author to know site.xml/tabs.xml/custom URI schemes/etc isn't

> IMO if the requirement is for a basic website,
> then Forrest is not the correct tool.

I've heard this before and think there are two problems here:

1) If true, our marketing is either wrong or IMO misleading "Forrest's
focus on low "startup cost" makes it ideal for rapid development of
small sites, where time and budget constraints do not allow
time-wasting HTML experiments."

2) This is where I believe we fall significantly short.  It seems to
me that a "basic website" is the simplest form of the problem forrest
should be able to solve.  It should solve this problem without
intervention, without configuration, it should be opinionated about
the best solution to the basic site and just work.  That it can solve
a more complex problem isn't an excuse for making it hard to solve the
basic problem.

> On the other hand, if the content needs to be drawn from
> various different places, and integrated, and perhaps some
> specific content handled and presented in different ways.
> Then Forrest is relevant.

This is true, and it's reasonable to expect some extra configuration
to solve such a case.  My point above is that we should handle the
'content on filesystem' case without any configuration - just drop the
files and it works.

> One needs to be a developer to enhance the current set
> of plugins or to create new, perhaps private, plugins.
> For example i have an on-line store plugin for one of
> our websites.

Fair enough...

> Configuring sitemaps and stuff requires a developer.
> IMO the "sitemap" and "locationmap" are fantastic.

I think the locationmap is "ok" and the sitemap, an abomination.  I
reckon I think Forrest should do for documentation what Rails does for
database-backed web-apps (or, roughly that anyway)


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