The inaugural Google Season of Docs program ran from March through to November 2019, to bring open source projects and technical writers together.
My submission was accepted and I worked on a project for the Open Source Geospatial Foundation.
The Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) has a large number of separate open source geospatial software projects. One of their initiatives is called OSGeoLive, which is a self-contained bootable distribution of about 50 open source geospatial projects.
The OSGeoLive projects have Overview and Quickstart documentation. The work I undertook as part of Google Season of Docs was to:
- Review the Quickstarts to ensure they were current, accurate and relevant.
- Create a Quickstart template to ensure consistency and to aid future contributors.
The audience for my work included writers of OSGeoLive Quickstarts and end-users of OSGeoLive.
My mentor was Cameron Shorter.
In recognition of the extra value generated by the Season Of Docs work, and the desire to publish the material before the next major release, a motion was raised on 27th November to do a documentation-only point release (version 13.1).
Challenges and learnings
- Be open-minded and flexible.
- Use the tools that the community uses, and follow their conventions.
- Be aware of potential for scope creep and how to manage it.
- Be ready to embrace new opportunities as they arise (which may mean dropping some of the original scope).
- Be aware of the international nature of the community, and inherent cultural differences.
- Remember to set your alarm for meetings!
- Engaging the community takes time and effort. It can be as time-consuming as doing technical writing work. Allow for this time when planning the project.