Joining the KDE Documentation Team
A New KDE
KDE and its applications change very rapidly, and in order to keep the documentation accurate and up to date, you need to see the applications in action. What does this really mean? That you need to run development versions.
Running KDE from Git is not as scary as it sounds. There are helpful instructions on the page Build from source to help you get started.
If you have no possibility to keep up to date with KDE Development, all is not lost. There is an active proofreading team, and if you have a good grasp of grammar and spelling, you could help there.
We also have requests from third party developers of KDE based applications, who would welcome the help. Generally you can run these applications on a stable version of KDE, and only need to compile the application in question. Contact us at the email@example.com to find out more.
I can update to a development version of KDE... What's next?
First you should look at the Status Page in order to find an application you may be interested in writing about.
KDE is a volunteer project, so you won't be "assigned" a task, unless of course you really can't choose!
It's very important that you contact the KDE documentation team before you begin writing, to make sure that you are not duplicating work. You can write to the mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org to introduce yourself, and to ask for any help you need.
If you'd like to start somewhat smaller than maintaining an entire application manual, you can provide updated chapters or smaller patches for existing documentation. This is especially welcome for those manuals which have no maintainer, and working on already marked up documents is a good way to learn your way around the DocBook syntax.
Beginning to write
KDE documentation is written in DocBook XML. This affords us the benefits of a standardised format, and ease of translation using our own custom tools. Although it looks somewhat intimidating to beginners, the markup is extremely self-descriptive, and many people find it easier than HTML to learn.
If you have no previous experience with DocBook, you should look at the resources mentioned below, and at some existing documentation. You will probably discover that DocBook is really not as hard as it looks. If you'd like to ease into things, we can accept plain ASCII text documentation and someone will mark it up for you. Please don't spend time marking things up in other formats, as we will unfortunately have to strip it to plain text before we can use it.
If you would like further information, you should take a look through the KDE Documentation Primer
If you have previous experience with DocBook (either SGML or XML) you can probably jump right into work. You should take a look at the following resources:
- The documentation templates at the kdoctools repository
This document is the basis for all KDE documentation. You should base new documents on this template.
What's next? How do I get this document I wrote into KDE?
The usual procedure is to send your new document to the mailing list email@example.com, where you will get help with markup and general style issues. It's useful to send in smaller pieces of work than one monolithic complete document, as it allows the proofreaders and translators to get a head start, and will probably help you learn how to please said coordinator with future work.
Of course, looking at markup can make it hard to get a "flow" in the writing, so it's useful to look at a compiled version of the document for proofreading and self-editing purposes. You can find out more about that on the Tools page.