FOSS Content Creator: Working with GNU Linux* Developers to Simplify Documentation

By Marcia Wilbur,

Published:12/24/2019   Last Updated:12/24/2019

Reducing the Need for Documentation with Development

The need for documentation can be reduced at the development level.

Content Creation

There are a few different ways to obtain information for content creation. The scenario in this case is a new product, with no documentation at all.

  1. Work with engineers and SMEs to obtain information
  2. Understand the product, goals and outcomes
  3. Read business requirements or functional requirements documentation
  4. Stay up-to-date on new features or features not included in this release
  5. Draft Documentation
  6. Review process

Working with Developers

Similar to a writer who works with a Windows* team or developer to apply context sensitive help within an application, the Linux* writer can assist in packaging a deb, creating a man page, and even getting that deb package submitted to official repos for approval.

Additionally, you may want a PPA. This is part of the publishing process, and with the right content creator or technical author, your group can easily offer a variety of archive packages to the customers.

In fact, for Ubuntu* applications/tools/utilities, the documentation can be reduced to:

Install the deb package.

Currently, much Linux* documentation instructs the audience/reader to work at the command line, one command at a time with the instruct set. This can be eliminated in several different ways.

  1. Offer a deb package.
  2. Get your software into the repo.
  3. Provide a PPA, users can apt install the application and get updates.
  4. Provide a file with a script with the instructions to run the commands at once. The instructions can assist readers understand what is being done.
  5. Create a GUI for those who are not familiar with Linux* commands.

Create A Simple GUI

There are many ways to create a simple GUI for bash or python.

Try:

  • yad
  • zenity
  • tkinter
  • pyqt

In the case of one simple script, creating a deb package in the standard format accepted by Debian takes only a few minutes.

Create a Deb Package

According to the Debian* wiki, creating a Debian package is not that hard. I agree! Here is a link to the Debian instructions:

Reminder: Only packages that are compliant with Debian policy will be accepted into the archive. Manually constructed binary packages (.deb) that are not built from a source package will never be accepted.

If you have any questions, ask a GNU Linux* Content Creator!

Product and Performance Information

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