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From David Crossley <>
Subject Re: Idiot's guide
Date Wed, 18 May 2005 01:37:45 GMT wrote:
> Hello all,
> I have just found Forrest.  I am a total newbie with XML and any kind of 
> program of this nature.  Forrest looks like an excellent tool for my 
> needs.  I had been playing with writing in docbook in Oxygen, but this 
> seems much simpler for my needs - once I figure out how to use it.

Creating the source content is a different issue from using Forrest.
The source format can be in such formats as HTML,,
Forrest's own xdocs format, and we even have initial support for using
some DocBook formats, etc.

> I have found that the documentation is not very good for a total noob like 
> me.  There are certain assumptions made and gaps that I have had to work 
> through.

You have not told us which version of Forrest you are using.
All the effort in enhancing docs is going into the next version,
(0.7) which is due to be released real soon now.

>  I really do like the concept of this project though so I have 
> been patiently screwing stuff up and fixing it to get the hang of it all. 

That is a very good way to learn.

> I've started taking notes on the things that I messed up or felt the need 
> to guess. I would like to either create or contribute to an existing 
> beginners documentation that is really down on the level of an idiot's 
> guide, step-by-step (like "Where should I unzip the file?" - I knew this, 
> but you get the idea).

At this stage of your learning, i suggest that you send separate
questions to this user mail list. We will answer them and add to
the docs if necessary.

>  One of my problems was that in setting the 
> environment variables I just copied and pasted what was there on the web 
> page(%PATH%;%FORREST_HOME%\bin) for the PATH setting and so I overwrote 
> all the stuff that was in my path already.  I had to go back and manually 
> fix my path variable (and lord knows if I got everything).

I don't know what you mean by that. I don't do Window$, but that setting
looks like it would take the existing PATH and append the location of
forrest bin directory. No-one has ever complained about this before,
and we have plenty of users on that system. Perhaps you have found
a typo that everyone else has missed. Please tell us which document
you are referring to.

>  I am much more 
> knowledgeable about html, css and php then I am about the windows OS.  I 
> think there are more and more people who are looking for tools to help 
> them and are willing to invest some time to figure it out - if they have a 
> clear guide and can ascertain whether or not they can figure it out in a 
> reasonable amount of time.
> Anyway, I am willing to help with newbie documentation in any way you see 
> useful.  Please let me know where to go, who to get in touch with.

Send questions to this list. Wait until you understand Forrest
a bit more before writing new documentation, and don't bother
until using the upcoming 0.7 version (there were lots of changes
to directory structure). The 0.6 docs will only be updated for
critical errors.

We do understand the need for super-basic introduction documentation.
This will probably be addressed after the 0.7 release, as we don't
want to delay it at this stage.


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