[SciPy-user] ANN: NumPy/SciPy Documentation Marathon 2008

Ryan Krauss ryanlists@gmail....
Sat May 17 08:23:48 CDT 2008

This is very good news.  I will find some way to get involved.


On Sat, May 17, 2008 at 12:45 AM, Joe Harrington <jh@physics.ucf.edu> wrote:
> As we all know, the state of the numpy and scipy reference
> documentation (aka the docstrings) is best described as "incomplete".
> Most functions have docstrings shorter than 5 lines, whereas our
> competitors IDL and Matlab usually have a concise and well-written
> page or two per function.  The (wonderful) categorized list of
> functions is very new and isn't included in the package yet.  There
> isn't even a "Getting Started"-type of document you can hand a new
> user so they can dive right in.  Documentation tools are limited to
> plain-text paginators, while our competition enjoys HTML-based
> documents with formulae, images, search capability, and cross linking.
> Tales of woe abound.  A university class switched to Numpy and got
> hopelessly bogged down because students couldn't find out how to call
> the functions.  A developer looked something up while giving a
> presentation and the words "Blah, Blah, Blah" stared down at the
> audience in response.
> To head off another pedagogical meltdown, the University of Central
> Florida has hired Stefan van der Walt full time to coordinate a
> community documentation effort to write reference documentation and
> tools.  The project starts now and continues through the summer.  The
> goals:
> 1. Produce complete docstrings for all numpy functions and as much of
>   scipy as possible,
> 2. Produce an 8-15 page Getting Started tutorial that is not
>   discipline-specific,
> 3. Write reference sections on topics in numpy, such as slicing and
>   the use principles of the modules,
> 4. Complete a first edition, in both PDF and HTML, of a NumPy
>   Reference Manual, and
> 5. Check everything into the sources by 1 August 2008 so that the
>   Packaging Team can cut a release and have it available in time for
>   Fall 2008 classes.
> Even Stefan could not document the hundreds of functions that need it
> by himself, and in any case such a large contribution requires
> community review.  To make it easy for everyone to contribute, Pauli
> Virtanen and Emmanuelle Guillart have provided a wiki system for
> editing reference documentation.  The idea was developed by Fernando
> Perez, Stefan, and Gael Varoquaux.  We encourage community members to
> write, review, and proofread reference pages on this wiki.  Stefan
> will check updates into the sources roughly weekly.  Near the end of
> the project, we will put these wiki pages through a vetting process
> and then check them into the sources a final time for a release
> hopefully to occur in early August.
> Meanwhile, Perry Greenfield has taken the lead on on task 3, writing
> reference docs for things that currently don't have docstrings, such
> as basic concepts like slicing.
> We have proposed two small extensions to the current docstring format,
> for images (to be used sparingly) and indexing.  These appear in
> updated versions of the doc standard, which are linked from the wiki
> frontpage.  Please take a look and comment on these if you like.  All
> docstrings will remain readable in plain text, but we are now
> generating a full reference guide in PDF and HTML (you guessed it,
> linked from the wiki).  These are searchable formats.
> There are several ways you can help:
> 1. Write some docstrings on the wiki!  Many people can do this, many
> more than can write code for the package itself.  However, you must
> know numpy, the function group, and the function you are writing well.
> You should be familiar with the concept of a reference page and write
> in that concise style.  We'll do tutorial docs in another project at a
> later date.  See the instructions on the wiki for guidelines and
> format.
> 2. Review others' docstrings and leave comments on their wiki pages.
> 3. Proofread docstrings.  Make sure they are correct, complete, and
> concise.  Fix grammar.
> 4. Write examples ("doctests").  Even if you are not a top-notch
> English writer, you can help by producing a code snippet of a few
> lines that demonstrates a function.  It is fine for them to go into
> the docstring templates before the actual text.
> 5. Write a new help function that optionally produces ASCII or points
> the user's PDF or HTML reader to the right page (either local or
> global).
> 6. If you are in a position to hire someone, such as a knowledgeable
> student or short-term consultant, hire them to work on the tasks above
> for the summer.  We can provide supervision to them or guidance to you
> if you like.
> The home for this project is here:
> http://scipy.org/Developer_Zone/DocMarathon2008
> This is not a sprint.  It is a marathon, and this time we are going to
> finish.  We hope you will join us!
> --jh-- and Stefan and Perry and Pauli and Emmanuelle...and you!
> Joe Harrington
> Stefan van der Walt
> Perry Greenfield
> Pauli Virtanen
> Emmanuelle Guillart
> ...and you!
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> SciPy-user@scipy.org
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