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Subject Tomcat Documentation Project
Date Tue, 03 Jul 2001 23:03:52 GMT
Leaving aside the issue of file format for just one second...

Are we agreed on the following?

1. Tomcat documentation sucks :-)

2. There needs to be a new CVS project called jakarta-tomcat-doc.

My reasoning is that we want to avoid the fragmentation of documentation 
into different trees for 3.2, 3.3, and 4.0.  Why?  Because a lot of 
documentation would apply equally to all versions.  

Looking at it in reverse, the fact that someone is using an old version 
of Tomcat shouldn't mean they're forced to use an old version of the 
documentation.  Instead, a chapter on, say, web application deployment 
may need to have a sidebar describing changes between 3.x and 4.x, but 
assuming 4.x isn't *radically* different, they can both use the same 
core text. (In cases where 4.x *is* radically different, it would just 
have a separate document/chapter, with the 4.x specificity clearly 
labelled in the title.)

I know the 4.x crew have begun the process of creating a separate 
documentation set, including xdocs, and this is great. If it's too much 
work to integrate 3.x and 4.x then maybe they should remain separate CVS 
projects too, but it may still be desirable to have a separate CVS 
project anyway.

3. There needs to be a better index/TOC for the documentation we do 
have, and a reorganization of the redundant / outdated / wrong parts of 
the existing docs (the Apache config stuff comes to mind).

4. Someone or some small group of people should take responsibility for 
making this happen (before we "run out of steam"), regularly submitting 
proposals and keeping the rest of the group apprised of developments and 
decisions, but retaining some authority. Let's call this person/people 
the Documentation Czar. I'm not proposing he/they have any real 
authority over the content, but just over organizing it, deciding where 
to place it, and forming "to do" lists for documents/chapters that need 
to be written or proofed or tech edited or revised.

If we agree on the above, then there's a good chance I'd volunteer to be 
the Doc Czar, even though I think it's a lot of work. I've been managing 
the jGuru Tomcat FAQ for a year, and the Servlets FAQ for longer, so I 
at least have some idea of the scope of this kind of organizational 
task. (Note that I'm not suggesting I actually *write* all this new 
documentation... :-)

Maybe a better term would be "Doc Editor" or "Editorial Board". And 
maybe I'm being too anal in proposing it; maybe the open source process 
will ensure the job gets done by interested developers even without the 

 - Alex

Alex Chaffee             
jGuru - Java News and FAQs
Creator of Gamelan       
Founder of Purple Technology
Curator of Stinky Art Collective

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