2. Information for Mahara documentation writers

This is a list in progress as I work on the documentation. There are a number of things for which I create conventions. I want to keep them in a central space so that others have access to them and that I can refer to them as well. ;-)

The list is not in any particular order.

  • Screenshots

    • are placed using the “figure” directive.
    • always include alt text and a figure description. The latter will be numbered in the PDF export. That sets them apart from the text.
    • are generally placed above a list if they are part of step-by-step instructions.
    • should have as few instructions as possible about the steps that are to be taken in them. Preferably, only the step numbers so that they can be exchanged more easily and the text of the steps is translatable because it is text and not part of the image. That could also mean that translators can translate the steps but don’t immediately have to change the screenshots.
    • are created with Shutter in Ubuntu. It is easy to add the callouts which indicate the steps to take. However, any other screenshot software can be used. Preferably, the callouts look similarly for consistency. The color is #4C711D.
    • that have callouts refer to the steps that need to be taken and that are explained below the figure.
    • should only show the necessary area and not the entire screen or URL address bars etc. where not necessary.
  • Admonitions in use are:

    • note: for anything that should receive a bit more attention
    • warning: for anything that needs to be done with caution
    • seealso: for references to other documents if they need special attention. References to other documents can also be included in the text inline.
    • todo: for keeping a running ToDo list
  • Buttons such as Save or Copy page and also portfolio sections such as Content, Porfolio etc. are highlighted as emphasized text (with a single *).

  • Little buttons can be included in the text like edit, manage. They are added through a substitution. All replacements are kept in the file shortcuts.rstext which is included at the beginning of each file in which a substitution is used. They are referenced in the text as “Edit button edit” for example pointing out what the action is that you do with them.

  • An index entry should be created for each section.

  • New features receive an index entry as well in the form “single: New in Mahara 1.5; [the thing that is new]”.

  • Long sections should be broken up into several pages to make the editing more manageable.

  • reStructuredText does not have a set hierarchy of heading levels. They depend on the individual files. However, to be consistent, the following convention exists:

    • Heading 1, e.g. 1.: ===============
    • Heading 2, e.g. 1.1.: —————
    • Heading 3, e.g. 1.1.1.: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    • Heading 4, e.g. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
  • Headings below h4 should be avoided.