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Re: [Texmacs-dev] TeXmacs web site

From: Joris van der Hoeven
Subject: Re: [Texmacs-dev] TeXmacs web site
Date: Sat, 4 Oct 2003 20:54:28 +0200 (CEST)

Hi Alvaro,

Thanks for your feedback.

> At a first glance, the double bar at the top seems a little confusing to
> me. Is it a second hierarchical level? If so I would appreciate the two
> hierarchical levels to be one next to other and the use of color and/or
> indentation to indicate the relation between the two.

It seems natural to me that the top bar is more important than
the lower bar, but feedback from other is appreciated.

> I cannot spare me the feeling that the whole site was and is overly
> complex. I would remove strictly anything non-essential. As it is going
> to be under Version Control, I would also batch some pages together, so
> as to reduce the amount of clicking to get to anything actually useful.

Well, the point is that the information users expect to find at
the web site becomes more and more complex :^( So we need to organize
things in such a way that everybody can quickly find what (s)he wants.
Two navigation bars and a search possibility should do though.

> We also must avoid wholescreen long lines. It is painful to read the
> looooooong lines of the exported html.

I do not know what kind of screen/browser you have, but if the lines fit
on one line inside TeXmacs than they easily fit on one line in my browser.

> Also, I expect from any free sw project to give me a short description
> on the main page with links _in the text_ to downloading,
> changes/readme's, and documentation.

Well, the top navigation bar seems sufficient to me.

> eg. TeXmacs is the next generation in dynamic typesetting and at the
> same time your way to a complete integrated scientific environment. Try
> the last stable version [download link, changes], and share your
> thoughts with us [feedback link]. You can get help to get started in
> this [tutorial]. If you feel in the mood of taking part in the exciting
> development of state-of-the art software, join the team [mailing lists,
> savannah page].

I think that people can imagine these explanations themselves
from the links 'Download', 'Feedback', 'Help', etc.

> I would put some texts in the main page with examples of "what texmacs
> can do for you".

Yes, I also considered doing that; maybe an 'Examples' link next
to 'Screenshots'. I wonder though what we should put there exactly.

> No need to say that I would move the Mhz limitations and such technical
> details into the FAQ.

I am not sure; it is quite natural to check the system requirements
before installing something, especially on non-standard architectures.

> I would move to the FAQ also many other remarks which are unessential
> to the "three click visit" to a free sw project we all do.


> I would eradicate mentions to the wiki (either we do something
> about it or we close it),

Does the Wiki harm? It is true that people do not seem to use it anymore.
Do you have an idea how many people still look at it?

> merge the help pages into only one (where you
> say that help can be provided by donating, translating or writing
> documentation, bug reporting, wish formalization (TeXmacs Improvement
> Proposals), Scheme code, C++ code, plugins...

Your confusing between getting help and giving help.
Maybe I should rename 'Help -> Documentation'.
The point is that 'Documentation' is so long.

> In the contact section the warning for people writing to tm seems to me
> overemphasized. I would just put that contributing means sharing in the
> terms of the license of the website. I would remove all the stuff about
> legally gathering data from webpages. That's frightening and only
> necessary if problems arise. Or put it in a site policy greyed link at
> the end of the page.

You are right.

> As a conclusion, I don't have a clear mind on anything but this: the
> website should be as simple as we can. Else there's information
> pollution and people skim instead of reading. (I highly advise to read
> http://useit.com/alertbox).

Yes, I know the general principles, but...

> I would please ask everybody to send a link or two to free sw projects
> with "useful webpages". That way we can draw inspiration from good
> examples of site design geared at the community.
> Something standard that works: http://pyx.sourceforge.net/

Well, this is really a toy example, and even here, I don't like the site
very much. The welcome page is OK, but I don't expect a pdf file when
clicking on 'Documentation' (lynx users...) and I don't like the sudden
change in design when clicking on 'Downloads', 'Changelog' or
'Project page'.

> http://mrproject.codefactory.se/

Ugly graphical design, but quite functional.
Installation information is not very user friendly though.
A newbie stops here.

> On a personal note, I don't like very much the gleesons (I don't think
> many people likes them). I think texmacs could use a new color set as
> well, and I have always thought that we should one day (better sooner
> than later) to find a name which is not as confusing as the present one
> for everybody. We could do so with the help of users. In that way we
> would find not only a good name but perhaps also a good logo (see
> http://meta.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_logos_(1-25) , I'm sure
> some of the authors would be happy if we asked them to design for TM).
> Now TeXmacs seems to be some kind of genetically engineered GNU ;).

I know what I want: a mixture of a GNU and Einstein's tongue photo.

> Doing it all in TM means (now) not having many characteristics which
> could be desirable for a web site, such as forms, forums, RSS... Also
> the proper subset of HTML has to be used, and I don't know if there will
> be CSS support someday... How's search going to be implemented? Links to
> tm documents don't translate into links to html documents, so navigation
> of the html output is broken. As the nav buttons are missing, you cannot
> either navigate the tm version.

This is not exactly true: David should soon a right a utility which
does all necessary translations of links, we do support CSS,
*and* we have the full power of TeXmacs behind. In principle,
we should even create pages with Html/MathML soon...

We do not have forms yet though, but they are not really necessary
at the time being. As to the search facility, it will be provided
by the CRI team.

> As a historical note (because I guess you're not interested in this),
> I had prepared a different approach for the webpages: they had a link at
> the top "edit me with TeXmacs" and if you clicked (with the proper
> configuration, but no more difficult than CVS, certainly) and you had
> permissions (for example, you belonged to the CAS group) you could edit
> the webpages directly and save. This was seamlessly DAV compatible,
> could be upgraded to full version control, had an easier interface for
> newbies than cvs and allowed still to put some elements not-from-texmacs
> in the webpages that might be useful. I believe many more people would
> contribute. You could also edit the raw html by hand.
> As a drawback: the source had to be in htm (Tm just loaded in html and
> saved again to html). I do not see why this is bad (since lots of tools
> exist for html and it's more flexible in a web context) but I also guess
> you are against this, Joris.

Our second step will actually be to implement Webdav;
in that case you can edit the TeXmacs sources interactively.
We should investigate how to automatically update
the corresponding Html.

Best wishes, Joris

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