[SciPy-dev] Accessible SciPy (ASP) project

Janet Swisher swisher at enthought.com
Mon Nov 1 14:11:38 CST 2004

> -----Original Message-----
> From: scipy-dev-bounces at scipy.net 
> [mailto:scipy-dev-bounces at scipy.net] On Behalf Of Pearu Peterson
> As I have understood from earlier discussions that LaTeX may 
> scare people 
> away from writing documentation for Scipy. But let me ask may 
> be a bit 
> harsh question: are these people able to produce good quality 
> technical 
> documentation for Scipy if they reject to learn LaTeX basics? 

Harsh answer: Yes. We are talking about busy people with day jobs, for whom
SciPy is only a means to an end. Their knowledge of SciPy and their ability
to write good quality documentation in no way depends on their ability or
willingness or time available to learn or use any other specific tool. 

Content is king. While standardizing on a tool or toolset is important,
nobody should let that stand in the way of generating content. If anybody
out there has something you want to write about SciPy, please go ahead and
do it using whatever tool works for you (be it HTML, ReST, LaTeX, TROFF,
WordStar, or whatever). We'll find a way to get it into a format that can be
shared now, and eventually into whatever format we standardize on.

Also, keep in mind that one tool does not have to fit all documents. For
example, it might make sense to use one format (e.g., ReST) for short
documents, such as installation instructions, how-tos, and cheat sheets, and
to use another format (e.g., LaTeX) for longer, book-oriented documents. A
short document that evolves into requiring equations or more complex
structure might have to migrate from ReST to LaTeX, but most documents could
probably live their whole lives in one format or the other.

Janet Swisher
Senior Technical Writer
Enthought, Inc.

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