KDE's new technical documentation library, TechBase, hit an important milestone today when it served up its one millionth page. In step with the KDE 4.0 development cycle, TechBase is rapidly maturing into a central hub for high-level technical information related to KDE and the Free software desktop.
The TechBase Mission
Over the years, KDE has become a vibrant source of technology, with over 5.4 million lines of KDE 4 code currently hosted at svn.kde.org. KDE has progressed to the point where we compete alongside and in areas even surpass the proprietary competition.
While this has been great news for the growing number of people who choose KDE software, it has become increasingly difficult for individual developers, administrators and system integrators to keep up with all that is available. This is particularly true for those new to KDE as the project continues to extend its reach across the globe and onto new platforms. This has resulted in unnecessary barriers to participation. Those that have taken advantage of KDE's offerings have often had to earn their stripes through long hours of arduous research and trial-and-error learning.
TechBase is the bridge across that knowledge gap.
Discover, Interact and Develop
TechBase exists to cater to the needs of three main groups of people:
With over 80 cross-referenced tutorials and some 2,200 pages organised by topic and skill level on TechBase today, it is already an impressive resource. New content appears on a daily basis and is being translated into Simplified Chinese, French, German, Dutch and Russian.
The TechBase homepage provides a portal to this growing body of information. Links are organised into categories that cater to different interests, making it easy to jump straight to what interests you. Instructions on how to get and install KDE on the operating system of your choice, programming tutorials and much more are all just a click away from the main page.
Software development information, KDE release engineering reports and schedules, system administration information and more are put right at your fingertips, while the search box on every page makes it easy to find the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Given the strong community basis upon which KDE thrives, it is only natural that an entire section of TechBase is dedicated to information on how to get involved with the KDE project.
Open For Contribution
Upon visiting TechBase, One of the first things you may notice is that it uses the same software that powers Wikipedia. This makes it easy for anyone who wishes to contribute content. Since its launch at the beginning of the year, there have been on average over 40 edits per day made to TechBase content.
Having a wiki which the community can collaborate on together has not only made it easy to find information, it has brought together more high quality technical documentation on KDE than we have ever had in one place before.
TechBase being an open wiki does not make it an editorial free-for-all. The MediaWiki software publishes changes made on TechBase via RSS feeds. There is a group of KDE community members, led by Dominik Haumann and Daniel Molkentin, who monitor all changes made to TechBase on a daily basis and who take an active role in helping shape the content and structure of the site. This ensures a sustained level of quality, accuracy and consistency.
This same group of people also put a large amount of effort into making templates and other content creation helpers available so that there is a noticeable consistency to the presentation.
What Does the Future Hold?
Today's TechBase is already an invaluable resource with a remarkable amount of information. It is, however, just the beginning. With more sections slated for publication and more of KDE4's key technologies still needing tutorials written, we are seeing but the dawn of a new day.
Sections dedicated to independent software vendors (ISVs) and system integrators are currently being constructed as information is gathered and categorised for them. Coupled with offline versions, release advisory information and a growing community of contributors TechBase will continue to evolve to meet the needs of those who participate in creating, enjoy supporting and otherwise rely on KDE technology.
Perhaps the most exciting thing of all is that you can play a part in making it happen. By adding new content, grooming existing content for correctness and readability and translating content into other languages you can help TechBase become the definitive source of information so many have been seeking. The wiki makes it easy to do; the community makes it rewarding.
TechBase will help the coming generations of developers, administrators and entrepreneurs discover and be productive with KDE technology, thereby growing the KDE community and moving Free software one step closer to world domination.