[Nitro] A Request for Help
james_b at neurogami.com
Tue Sep 20 14:40:23 EDT 2005
I run ruby-doc.org. For over a year I've considering ways to to make it
better, more usable, offer Web services, and make it self-sustaining.
For any and all reasons you care to imagine, I'm nowhere near what I've
wanted to accomplish.
I've made a few attempts are rewriting the site as a Nitro application,
but it keeps getting sidetracked by mundane demands such as earning a
However, some of the recent work others have been doing with Og/Nitro
suggest that the essential pieces have are already around in some form
or another, if not actually available to be dropped into place.
I'm asking for help from the Og/Nitro community to rewrite ruby-doc.org.
I believe this be very helpful not just to me, but the Ruby community at
large, and Nitro development and developers in particular.
I've talked to a few people who have been interested in working with
Nitro, but who told me that the lack of documentation and good,
real-world examples to study makes it a bit hard.
I started on "Nitro: Step-by-Step" as a way to teach myself Nitro, but
even that would is intended as a basic introduction. A solid,
reasonably complex application, with all source code freely available,
would be a boon to Og/Nitro exposure. Documentation on the design and
development techniques would be a big help, too.
My plans for ruby-doc.org were mostly focused on changing two sections.
The site has had a blog-ish main page where I add announcements of new
and interesting Ruby documentation. Early on, this was a trivial task,
as the amount of new resource was slim. But this has changes, and
people are pushing out blogs, wikis, how-tos, and tutorials left and right.
I've simply gotten too busy and too tired of the tedium to keep up. I
started investigating ways to exploit existing resource tracking and
classification tools, such as del.icio.us. I assembled a prototype app
that would snarf Ruby-related items from del.icio.us RSS feeds and stash
the posts and tags into a local database. A Web UI then allowed for
faceted/tagged navigation of these resources. It mostly worked, though
I may have been too ambitious in my plans for providing high-level
auto-categorization. I still like the basic idea, but think sticking to
a navigation scheme similar to what del.icio.us uses, or some
community-based resource submission schemes, such as used by digg.com,
might be better. But, whatever the scheme, I think it would make for an
interesting Og application.
The other main change is how to display the RDocs for the core and
standard libs. Problem one is simply the layout, and I think the RDog
project shows a much better approach. Problem two is that the site does
not offer a way for a reader to add annotations, such as with the docs
at http://www.php.net/docs.php (often cited as a model of good on-line
My plan for this was to change the default rdoc template to include a
a docs wiki page, and dynamically insert the content of the
would simply see a link to the wiki.
A decent, simple search engine would be quite nice, too.
Other items on the site (e.g., links to documentation bundles and useful
resources for beginners) would stay pretty much the same.
I'm open to ideas on how to make the site better, and really hope there
is interest here in using this as an opportunity to showcase Og/Nitro.
http://www.ruby-doc.org - The Ruby Documentation Site
http://www.rubyxml.com - News, Articles, and Listings for Ruby & XML
http://www.rubystuff.com - The Ruby Store for Ruby Stuff
http://www.jamesbritt.com - Playing with Better Toys
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