In my gig as a Technical Writer for Red Hat Brisbane, I have the opportunity to work with incredibly skilled Open Source developers, and write about cutting edge technology in the Open Source software arena.
Sometimes, it is necessary to step away from documenting the technology aspects of an Open Source project, and focus on writing content that will help a team work together more effectively. I’m talking about writing documentation that supports aspects of an open source project, not what the open source project is working on. Yes, I’m talking about a procedures guide.
The Mobicents team expressed interest in taking back ownership of the community XML documentation being maintained by Red Hat. The decision had a number of positive effects:
- Developers could contribute directly to the user documentation.
- The open source community had access to the community content source.
- The Red Hat Content Author (me) could focus on developing the Red Hat product documentation for the project.
Because the team was going to be writing the initial content themselves, I realised that the Self Managed Community Documentation (SMCD) project would fail quickly if the development team did not have clearly defined processes, clear grammar guidelines and support with XML authoring.
I decided to take a step back from writing content for the software, and invested time in creating the Mobicents Community Documentation User Guide (MCDUG). I had to juggle urgent documentation tasks with my MCDUG writing, but the juggling act was worth it.
I have completed the first full release of the MCDUG. The guide is hosted on the JBoss.org Hudson build server, and is freely available to anyone who wishes to read it. Much of the guide contains information that will only be relevant to Mobicents Developers, however there is some useful information about DocBook XML structure that may be useful to those new to XML Authoring.
I’ve been referring new Red Hat Content Authors to the structure tips contained in the MCDUG, and the information seems to be helping them get accustomed to working with XML faster. My ultimate hope is the MCDUG will be used regularly by the Mobicents developers, and will continue to evolve with the SMCD project. After all, a procedures guide is only relevant if the procedures are relevant.