Hello Pentaho team,
Here is my experience when I tried to pass one of my documentation to the wikis, I am not right now talking about the internationnalization.
I had to move my documentation to JSPWiki and I loose so much hours because it is definitly not a writer application. It does not give enough options to make to documentation look descent enough, and you are realy slow when using the wiki syntax.
Forced to see that I will never be able to make the documentation in such situation, I decided to move to the Pentaho wiki (confluence) and hopped that I will be able to work with it because it is a profesional product.
But the same problem appends! Confluence is still better than JSPWiki in any case, but writting a documentation is still a lot of pain because its design is not the best for editing. You still loose much of time. Confluence has a WYSIWYG editor but looks bugged, realy.
Wikis seems to be only good as replacement of the sheet of paper you could have on your desk and is filled when you think about something. (ie notes)
But if you want a write a big documentation it is definitly not the solution!
I only used another wiki on the past, and it was MediaWiki and I don't remember having such pain making a documentation. I guess MoinMoin wiki is good also, but both have to be tried in same situation I would say.
Even a CMS (Content Managment System) is a better alternative if you want usable documentations.
Every wiki vendor adds its fonctionalities and is fully not compatible with another wiki, that is a big problem. Even if they are opensource, you will loose much time to adapt your documentation from one wiki to another.
Wiki syntax is then too primitive, not structured, and inconsistent between vendors.
Talking about Internationnalization of the content, not much wiki vendors seem to have this functionnality. I don't know why that is the question any program have at the begining and they all adopted the same position: no multilanguage content!
Gretchen I guess all the assumption you made are the right ones but I don't know the open tools for that but I guess you can forget hacking wiki to support multilanguages, they must have native support (merge, diff, ...) for that.
So the next path we steer down is that path that takes us to completely separate repositories (called Spaces in Confluence) for the different languages. This gives us autonomy for the purposes of editing and not having the language content intermingled, but at a pretty large synchronization and maintenance cost. We now need to figure out, do we populate the French repository with all of the English documentation, to assist our translators in translating? Well, then we have up to eight copies of the doc, that is changing realtime, and is sure to get out of sync. So, perhaps we should let the translators populate their language wiki from scratch, organically? This isn't very accommodating to our translators, and documents will surely be placed out of order with the master language wiki, making it confusing for the users.
Yikes. It's at this point, having discussed the plethora of less-than-stellar options with a few clever guys on our team, that I decided to step back and write to the community. In my mental gymnastics over this problem, I made many assumptions about what our users and translators really want.
If the doc is big, it is hard to translate it. Wiki helps a little because you can cut it in small parts but if you can't see the original part in same time, it is no fun.
I hated it, it is not usable to produce quality documents.
For the translators in our community, have you worked at translating in a wiki before? What did you like about it? What did you hate? Is it easier for you to translate everything in your format of choice, or do you like the idea that once you translate it it would be available, without having to wait for the Pentaho team to publish it? Of the two scenarios I detailed above, which is the lesser of two evils for you?
In a comunity process, it is better to have it directly available plus it allows many ppl to work on it.
I guess you must not forget the process you will need to transform wiki to paged document. Do not forget the user view.
And for all of the rest our community that must USE and update our documentation - would it be more frustrating for you to work with translations inline in the wiki (in edit mode only) or to have to go hunt around someplace else to find those translations?
Sorry for the English and the sens, I guess I will edit it back later once I have more clever ideas in mind. But at least it starts the conversation.
Last edited by Mimil; 12-14-2006 at 05:15 PM.
May the Moo force be with you,
A student of JFree & Pentaho Academies,