[openstack-dev] [doc][ptls][all] Documentation publishing future

Alexandra Settle a.settle at outlook.com
Mon May 22 09:39:09 UTC 2017

Hi everyone,

The documentation team are rapidly losing key contributors and core reviewers. We are not alone, this is happening across the board. It is making things harder, but not impossible.
Since our inception in 2010, we’ve been climbing higher and higher trying to achieve the best documentation we could, and uphold our high standards. This is something to be incredibly proud of.

However, we now need to take a step back and realise that the amount of work we are attempting to maintain is now out of reach for the team size that we have. At the moment we have 13 cores, of whom none are full time contributors or reviewers. This includes myself.

Until this point, the documentation team has owned several manuals that include content related to multiple projects, including an installation guide, admin guide, configuration guide, networking guide, and security guide. Because the team no longer has the resources to own that content, we want to invert the relationship between the doc team and project teams, so that we become liaisons to help with maintenance instead of asking for project teams to provide liaisons to help with content. As a part of that change, we plan to move the existing content out of the central manuals repository, into repositories owned by the appropriate project teams. Project teams will then own the content and the documentation team will assist by managing the build tools, helping with writing guidelines and style, but not writing the bulk of the text.

We currently have the infrastructure set up to empower project teams to manage their own documentation in their own tree, and many do. As part of this change, the rest of the existing content from the install guide and admin guide will also move into project-owned repositories. We have a few options for how to implement the move, and that's where we need feedback now.

1. We could combine all of the documentation builds, so that each project has a single doc/source directory that includes developer, contributor, and user documentation. This option would reduce the number of build jobs we have to run, and cut down on the number of separate sphinx configurations in each repository. It would completely change the way we publish the results, though, and we would need to set up redirects from all of the existing locations to the new locations and move all of the existing documentation under the new structure.

2. We could retain the existing trees for developer and API docs, and add a new one for "user" documentation. The installation guide, configuration guide, and admin guide would move here for all projects. Neutron's user documentation would include the current networking guide as well. This option would add 1 new build to each repository, but would allow us to easily roll out the change with less disruption in the way the site is organized and published, so there would be less work in the short term.

3. We could do option 2, but use a separate repository for the new user-oriented documentation. This would allow project teams to delegate management of the documentation to a separate review project-sub-team, but would complicate the process of landing code and documentation updates together so that the docs are always up to date.

Personally, I think option 2 or 3 are more realistic, for now. It does mean that an extra build would have to be maintained, but it retains that key differentiator between what is user and developer documentation and involves fewer changes to existing published contents and build jobs. I definitely think option 1 is feasible, and would be happy to make it work if the community prefers this. We could also view option 1 as the longer-term goal, and option 2 as an incremental step toward it (option 3 would make option 1 more complicated to achieve).

What does everyone think of the proposed options? Questions? Other thoughts?



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