[NTG-context] Ideas for improving documentation of ConTeXt
jonasb at tranquille.ch
Sun Oct 9 13:18:45 CEST 2016
I am new to new to ConTeXt and I was thinking about how to improve
documentation to help users and then make ConTeXt more appealing.
Because, if there is one weak point in my eyes with ConTeXt, it is the
lack of documentation, which is too bad because ConTeXt seems to be
really great. And google search is also a little tricky, since context
is a common name. On the other hand, most of the help I found was on the
wiki, the mailing list, TeX Stack Exchange and some pdf documentations.
Sometimes, I also faced the problem about the documentation being
outdated and when I am trying to find the solution on the internet, I
may have a hard time finding solutions that aren't outdated too. The
worse is maybe when a command option isn't working anymore with not even
The basic idea I have is a database of ConTeXt documents, where everyone
can add his own documents. We have also to make it easy to find there
insightful examples in ConTeXt that will help someone to achieve what he
is trying to do. Then users, especially beginners, will less likely be
stuck at one point and looking for hours for a solution and less help
will be asked on the mailing list too.
Here are the basic concepts about the database :
- When someone adds a document, he can specify the type of the document
like e.g. report, letter, CV, book, etc. Subcategories could be a good
idea too, e.g. letters can have a subcategory called cover letters. Some
extra tags could also be useful, like e.g.: math, luatex, tables,
positioning, etc when there is some use of the preceding, maybe not
necessarily essential when the use is only basic.
- If some extra fonts or modules are needed to be installed in order to
make the example fully work, this could also be specified.
- Search could be done by specifying one or more categories and tags. It
will also be possible to search all the occurrences in the database of a
command with optionally a command parameter.
- It will be like a wiki so that everyone could improve the existing
- It can be also useful to allow comments, because it is possible that
an example is close to what someone is trying to do, in which case he
will look on the comments hoping that there was already someone who
asked there the question and got answered.
- In order to mitigate the problem with deprecation stuffs after some
language changes, we could have all the commands and their options
listed somewhere in the database, then when a command or command
parameter is getting deprecated, it will be possible to mark it as so
and provide some hints on how to fix it. After that, all the examples
that use the deprecated stuffs will get a warning and hints will be
showed about how to fix them. And since that examples are editable by
anyone, there won't be hopefully very much of outdated documents.
Here some are possible scenarios about searching in the database :
- Someone is writing a letter and is trying to move one element (e.g.
date, his address, receiver address) in another location without any
success so far. Then he will go to this database, choose letter as
category and positioning as extra tag and launch the search. Maybe he
will get about 20 results, then chances are that some of the found
examples will be doing something close enough to what he's trying to do,
so that he could analyse the source and understand what he needs to do
in his case.
- Someone is looking about how to set the background color of a framed
box. Then he will search occurrences of the uses of the \framed command
which have color in their arguments. Then by looking at the found
examples, he will find out that the color is set with the
backgroundcolor argument and that the background argument need to be set
to "color" too.
What do you think about the idea ? I believe this could be a good
complement to the existing ressources.
Have a nice sunday,
More information about the ntg-context