May 01, 2010
I have been coding in C for 24 years, with added C++ features for 18. Also have some background in mechanical design, technical writing and Math teaching (yes, in teaching) too. Unfortunately I'm no outstanding expert, but one or two things I know.

I learned about D only two weeks ago. D is a great idea, very necessary, you all have done a tremendous work already, but... documentation needs important improvements yet, I think. I know one can't recruit Kernighans, Harbisons and Steeles to document all important computer projects, but I think there is an alternative that would greatly help D's documentation *and development*, and spreading.

It has occurred to me that a rather simple setup would help a lot in those respects: If someone just sets up a new bulletin board and turns every item in www.digitalmars.com/d/2.0, or at least those in the language and library references, into topics, a huge beneficial activity would be unleashed:

- Everyone in need of clarifications in any specific point could get them. Even people could contribute alternative ways of presentation of one or other feature.

- Everyone with comments or proposals of features could make them in exactly the best place for everybody to know them, and to receive attention.

- Surely the initial presentations of the specifications would change, extend and improve.

- Each feature could get an specific discussion on why it exists and how to use it.

- Finally an excellent treasure of information could be compiled from the board and published in a more formal format.

Sure, potentially people could instead insert those same comments in this newsgroup, but then everything would be dispersed.

Not bad for only two weeks in the community, uh?

Hoping you like the idea,

Rick Trelles
May 01, 2010
Rick Trelles wrote:
> It has occurred to me that a rather simple setup would help a lot in those respects: If someone just sets up a new bulletin board and turns every item in www.digitalmars.com/d/2.0, or at least those in the language and library references, into topics, a huge beneficial activity would be unleashed:

It is a good idea, and at the top of every page there's a [Wiki] button which leads to a unique wiki page for each page.
May 01, 2010
Great idea!

I would also add, it could be beneficial if we kept a list of frequently asked questions at the end of each topic (the FAQ relevant to that topic only), which would link to answers found in the comments.
May 01, 2010
Rick Trelles wrote:

> It has occurred to me that a rather simple setup would help a lot in those respects: If someone just sets up a new bulletin board and turns every item in www.digitalmars.com/d/2.0, or at least those in the language and library references, into topics, a huge beneficial activity would be unleashed:

The problem is that many people only one to follow topics in one place, and currently the NG is that place. www.stackoverflow.com is a good place to ask questions about language features though. And as Walter points out, each page has a wiki.

I think SO is a good place to ask such questions; it has tags, well known, and many D users follow it. But the NG is still the place to find most answers.

Not saying the idea is bad, but the active community really isn't large enough for it likely to happen.
May 01, 2010
Walter Bright wrote:
> Rick Trelles wrote:
>> It has occurred to me that a rather simple setup would help a lot in those respects: If someone just sets up a new bulletin board and turns every item in www.digitalmars.com/d/2.0, or at least those in the language and library references, into topics, a huge beneficial activity would be unleashed:
> 
> It is a good idea, and at the top of every page there's a [Wiki] button which leads to a unique wiki page for each page.

I think I found out why that button is not seen: it is above the title of the page. For index.html you have:

D Programming Language 2.0
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Then a long text below that, the links on the left are at the same level as the title and the text. But the other links (wiki, search, etc.) are above all of that, so I don't see them. And as far as I remember, other people couldn't see them either.
May 01, 2010
Ary Borenszweig wrote:
> Then a long text below that, the links on the left are at the same level as the title and the text. But the other links (wiki, search, etc.) are above all of that, so I don't see them. And as far as I remember, other people couldn't see them either.

I wonder if it's ad blindness.
May 01, 2010
> Ary Borenszweig wrote:
>> Then a long text below that, the links on the left are at the same level as the title and the text. But the other links (wiki, search, etc.) are above all of that, so I don't see them. And as far as I remember, other people couldn't see them either.
>
> I wonder if it's ad blindness.



oh wow, I never saw that buttons up there. I had no idea they exist. I never clicked on them or anything.
My whole navigation focus was always on the left menu. It makes it a little harder to get the attention to somewhere else, once one accepts that the navigation is left.

Maybe a more colorful hilighted head-line like on the tango site[1] would do the job?
Not the one at the bottom though, I took me ages to find the link to the tickets.

   --Marenz




[1] http://www.dsource.org/projects/tango
May 02, 2010
On 2010-05-01 19:37:44 -0400, Walter Bright <newshound1@digitalmars.com> said:

> Ary Borenszweig wrote:
>> Then a long text below that, the links on the left are at the same level as the title and the text. But the other links (wiki, search, etc.) are above all of that, so I don't see them. And as far as I remember, other people couldn't see them either.
> 
> I wonder if it's ad blindness.

I'd say it's more a lack of visual hierarchy or bad categorization problem. If you look at any page in the D section of Digital Mars, here's what you notice most, in that order:

- Digial Mars Logo
- A main menu (Home, Downloads, Search, Wiki, Forums, D)
- A divider bar
- A side bar where the first link is [D 1.0] or [D 2.0]
- The actual page content

The divider bar before the content makes it looks like the menu above applies to the Digital Mars site as a whole. The truth is that some items in the main menu apply to Digital Mars (Home, Search, Forums), some apply to D (Downloads, D), and one is about the current page (Wiki). It doesn't really make sense, and thus it's confusing.

You need to make the page hierarchy clearer:

- Digital Mars
 - D
   - Page Content

Then you can put links where they belong. A link that is related to the actual content of the page (like the Wiki link that points to comments *for the current page*) should be visually attached to the page's content). Other links need to belong to their corresponding section. Here's my suggestion:

Digital Mars:  [Home] [Search] [Forums] ... anything about digital mars
--- some kind of divider bar ---
D:  [Home] [Downloads] ... anything about D
--- some kind of divider bar ---
sidebar: not too bad as it is
content area:
	Title         Floating right: [On the wiki: \n Additions & Comments about this page]
	Content...

By placing the wiki link at the same level as the content, you're indicating that this link applies to this content. It's even clearer if you specify in the text the linked wiki page relates specifically to this page.

Obviously, this could be better. In particular, having two links named "Home" -- one for D, one for DM -- is confusing. It's probably better to merge both "Home" button with the logo for that section: [Digital Mars] becomes the link to DM's home, and [D] becomes the link to D's home.

If you want, I can draw a mock up of what I'm thinking about.

-- 
Michel Fortin
michel.fortin@michelf.com
http://michelf.com/

May 02, 2010
Walter Bright wrote:

> Ary Borenszweig wrote:
>> Then a long text below that, the links on the left are at the same level as the title and the text. But the other links (wiki, search, etc.) are above all of that, so I don't see them. And as far as I remember, other people couldn't see them either.
> 
> I wonder if it's ad blindness.

Yeah, it's in the 'ad zone' and has a somewhat different style than the rest of the site. Positioning it more to the left should help, see for example this study for where people look at while navigating:

http://www.websiteoptimization.com/speed/tweak/clickstream/



May 02, 2010
Lutger wrote:
> Yeah, it's in the 'ad zone' and has a somewhat different style than the rest of the site.

So much for paying real money for those icons <g>.
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