São Paulo LibreOffice Hack-Doc 2017

Because Documentation Matters

The Instituto de Física Teórica of the State University of São Paulo (UNESP), under Prof. Dr. Marcelo Yamashita’s administration, hosted the Brazilian LibreOffice documentation community, which is committed to achieving a final sprint for the review and publication of the Getting Started Guide 5.2.

Eight members of the community gathered together in an effort to review the translation and check the consistency of the contents for final publication. Once the initial introductions were done, each member of the team picked two or three chapters and started work.

This is lengthy work that requires attention, and the team committed to reach the goal in the timeframe that was set. In meetings of this kind, doubts and questions about content are debated immediately. As an additional benefit, the text was improved while some of the user interface terms were corrected and improved for better accuracy, since the team had direct access to the translation server for immediate fixes.

On the second day, by invitation of the documentation team, Vanderlei Junior (a professional content designer) taught the team some techniques needed to produce instructional content – especially videos and interactive media. Vanderlei emphasised the absolute need to plan contents and speeches, and offered important information on framing and timings for instructional videos. He highlighted the fact that video capture is less important than careful definition of content, which, if it’s lacking, will lead to failures.

From Left to right: Raul Pacheco, Olivier Hallot, Vera Cavalcante, Vanderlei Júnior, Túlio Macedo, Valdir Barbosa, Chrystina Pelizer and Fabio Coelho.

On the third day, with all chapters revised and ready for compilation into a book – thus with the goal achieved – the team had a crash course on the Pootle server used for translations of the Help and the user interface of LibreOffice. They also learned about The Document Foundation and its operation, sharing experiences of the older members.

“To participate in the São Paulo Hack-doc was a rich experience for me” said Valdir Barbosa, a TDF-certified instructor and team coordinator for UNESP. “I could discuss several issues related to my job, while discussing new techniques for document production and less known resources of LibreOffice. Besides, it is also exciting to be able to improve the software, with direct access to the development tools” said Valdir.

“It was an excellent opportunity to see some members of the documentation team, as well as meet old documentation friends” said Vera Cavalcante, a community member and LibreOffice Magazine editor. “As I did the previous book compilation, I’ll use my experience to do this one very quickly. I believe it is essential to have periodic meetings for documentation tasks. The Hack-Doc idea worked very well and, for sure, we produced a lot in a short period of time”, she said.

The meeting, originally set for a review sprint, also triggered some discussions on community activities and planning for 2018. The team set a target to define in 2018 a LibreOffice curriculum with multimedia resources for users at several difficulty levels. Also, we discussed the current process of book production – and it is clear that direct translation of the contents for each release is not optimal, and a better approach is to update contents from the release notes, directly in Portuguese. The guide and the multimedia contents will come side-by-side, in complimentary form. Regarding events for 2018, the team will do its best to create a national or Latin American LibreOffice-exclusive event.

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