Dynamic Help Documentation

Posted on 2009-11-22 22:34 UTC by Antoine RJ Wright. Status: Waiting, Categories: Utilities, User Experience, System, Programming,

Summary: Creation and maintenance of help documentation for Maemo 5 devices, based on a wiki format, which is appended to downloadable applications via a system-level API, and stays in sync on the device in a similar fashion to the application via Application Manager Updates.

Long Version: Here's the issue, documentation. No one likes to do it, and to create documentation on the device, is a secondary-side of pain for many developers. Therefore I recommend the creation of a a unified documentation point - the wiki - to which all of those who have Maemo 5/6 applications would append their program's help documentation within this wiki. And through the use of a system-level API (or additional dependency), the developer would be able to include this documentation onto the device as a part of the on-board Help feature. This would be linked through a Help or About menu in the respective application, and then also accessible from the general Help application on the device.

Benefits: the documentation would be in one place - and updated as often as the application itself (if the developer does right). Users would not have to guess at where to find documentation towards their device, and what they find at would be equal to what is on their device.

Note: This idea is not to mean that the entire wiki would be downloaded onto the device, only those entries which are attached (dependencies) to the application. In this way, a person would have just a snippet of the documentation as they need it.

Downsides: Developers would have to write/maintain documentation in addition to their applications (positions for technical writers should open up here therefore). Documentation that is not up-to-date would reflect negatively on the developer's karma rating, which can seem unfair for a popular application that sees frequent downloading and positive comments.

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