Saturday, January 15, 2005

Crosswords, accesskeys, frisbee...

In other news, there are a few things to report, most important of which is that I completed a Times cryptic crossword, for the first time ever! My life is now complete, or at least that little black-and-white-squares shaped bit of it. :-)

I've been contracted by George Staikos to work on the documentation of Kst. For those who don't know (and for the sake of random rambling...), Kst is a data plotting and viewing programme. What's particularly exciting about working on it is that it's used mainly by research physicists for several astrophysics experiments, some of which link in with what I was studying last term. I've got a few ideas for ways of improving the already quite good documentation, but I'll need to put some more hours into it that I have over the Christmas period. Hopefully I'll have some time this week to get a bit more progress...

...That despite term having started again, and plenty of work looming on the horizon. At least it means a chance to play ultimate frisbee again. I didn't realise how much I've missed running around a muddy field shouting at people and throwing a plastic disc.

Oh, and how could I forget, the new User Guide made it into kdebase, so it'll be in 3.4. W00t! Take a look at it, suggest new sections, write material for the missing sections, or just admire its beauty :-).

Also, if you know any frequently asked KDE questions that aren't in the KDE FAQ, send 'em along to canllaith is looking forward to receiving them (I think).

Cool (kinda) new doc-related feature of the week: Bring up a KDE handbook in Konqueror or KHelpCenter, and hit Ctrl to enable accesskeys. You can now navigate the document with 'h' for 'Home' (the table of contents), 'n' for the next page, 'p' for, well, you get the idea. You'll need CVS HEAD from at least today for the full experience - previously we only had 'p' and 'n'. The online version on will have them too, just as soon as I check with the accessibility team about following the standard.

Hear, hear

annma writes:
I know the doc team is doing a tremendous job, what lacks is only outside involvement [...] Please, just write a few lines about your preferred program and send it to me, I'll include it in the manual!

The same goes for any other KDE apps, not just the kdeedu module: we'd really welcome the developers getting more involved with writing docs for their applications. Users too - if you notice something missing in the existing KDE docs, consider writing a bit. It doesn't need to be a full manual, and you don't have to commit to maintaining it. Most importantly,

You Don't Need to Learn Docbook!

Obviously, it's great if you have the time to learn it, but we'd rather have content in plain text, which we can add markup to, than no content at all.

If you're a user who'd like to help, drop an email along to, and they'll help you find an application which you'll enjoy working on, and give you some tips to get started.

If you're a developer, you could just take a look through the existing docs for your application and see what's missing or out-of-date there. If you don't have time to update the docs yourself, file a bug in the 'docs' product, with details of what's changed, or what's missing. It makes it a lot easier for us to update the documentation if we already know what needs to be done.

Lecture ends. :-)