Return of the JEDI

Battle of Wikipedia

Don’t sign my doom because is unfair. But support the next Patriarch which will come after me, if he’s chosen accordingly with the rules. The schism is the worst thing.

St. John Chrysostom

Our biggest strength is unity. Even if everyone from us has his own paths. But the conscience of a community makes us strong, stronger than others who are alone trying to compete one with each other. I think that the reason of our existence is to cover as good as we can the needs of our user base and not so much to compete with other entities (commercial or not) which might target the same market segment. We know what happened when a certain company tried to make different “killers”, finishing with .NET ‘killer’, forgetting about the real needs of its community.

On the other hand, if someone will do a study… will see that all the successful open source objects are about cooperation between all stakeholders on much more plans than simple programing – reducing this at the simple vision of a bunch of happy coders writing code together is naive at best, in my humble opinion.

Now one of our most stringent needs is the need of documentation. And I don’t imply here the actual status of any concrete help system – but I speak much more generally. New technologies, new algorithms, new protocols – too much time for someone alone to describe (document) them, index them (yes, guys, to find a certain help topic is very important, you know…) and to provide the appropriate implementation in code.

Wikipedia provides us the first two – the description of almost all programming problems and, at least for me (and I’m sure that I’m not alone) it is one of the main sources of documentation. Also, it provides very good means of searching (either his own search engine either via Google). The only thing left is to link the appropriate code snippets in the appropriate page.

It is a little bit annoying to see C examples, Python examples, Java examples (etc.) when you know that there are implementations also in Delphi, just that nobody took care to link them. Indy is full of RFC implementations, The official Delphi Help has also enough code samples which can be linked to a Wikipedia page. Also, perhaps many of us have examples, algorithms (etc.) which can be linked.

Usually we do the contrary thing: We publish an article about an algorithm or technology and link the Wikipedia’s definition in our page. But I think that sometimes it will be good to put also on Wikipedia a link to our page. Beware, this doesn’t mean to spam Wikipedia and / or have a shameless self-promoting behavior. Far from it. We have a JEDI project in which everyone tries to help others not to self advertise.

We must provide a truly encyclopedic, objective and informative content about the theme. Aggressive advertising and fanaticism always produced bad results.

We have enough time now – we are close to winter – and enough content on the Internet hidden in different places, including on our own web page which (now) perhaps nobody reads anymore. Why shouldn’t link it there to open that content for others?

And, yes, this sounds also for our beloved documentation team. I think that it will be a great idea also for them to do the same with the Delphi Help. One of the greatest side effects of this, aside of traffic, is making a good and free targeted marketing campaign of our programming tool. Or perhaps they should focus their efforts on improving the content?

And finally, a small secret: Guys, the zeal is good. But if one wants to achieve great results, he must rather choose an easier but constant path. So, if someone wants to do a great job with Wikipedia linking let him do few, but to be each day, each week. Being constant and striving for improvement is the key for success.

7 thoughts on “Return of the JEDI

  1. Agree with you. Every time you come up with articles with considerable facts in it. You really know the pulse of our community.

    And finally, a small secret: Guys, the zeal is good. But if one wants to achieve great results, he must rather choose an easier but constant path. So, if someone wants to do a great job with Wikipedia linking let him do few, but to be each day, each week. Being constant and striving for improvement is the key for success.

    Now, we have a great philosopher in our community! 😉

  2. I’m overwhelmed … this comes close to poetry. In times when the best you can get on the Internet is alliteration (stave rhyme) this is really something genuine.

    Having a section in the delphi wiki with nowaday’s algorithm and their implementation would be perfect. Personally in terms of consistency I would prefer a centralized approach or at least a central theme. Many of us already use it and on my local webserver I have some algorithms of that kind. It makes sense what WoW says and it is amazing how he or she says it.

    Mike

  3. I have actually missed some Delphi examples on certain wiki-pages myself.
    So my immediate reaction was: Yes, bring it on…

    But at the end of the day, I would say no.

    When it comes to “help”, this kind of activity should be second priority. First priority must be to get (back) a useful help-systems that gives us, …well… useful help.

    When I look for code snippets, I google (some times I search specific web-sites). When I look for a general description on a theme, I wiki. When I need instant hint in my IDE, I mouse hover. And when I need documentation in my IDE, I should be able to F1. (Regardless of where the F1 takes me, as long as its relevant.)

    Updating wikis and other social media will take the focus away from the basic needs in the help system nowadays.

    But of course, when the online help is stable and useful, you could consider to use it in the marketing and promotion strategy. But I don’t think we’re there yet.

    You say that “The only thing left is to link the appropriate code snippets in the appropriate page.” To do this we must have the appropriate pages available. Which web page/source code should we link to on the design patterns for instance? Useful stuff on the wiki, but I can’t find any appropriate “official” Delphi solution.

    Maybe I’m answering the wrong question here? I naturally support the idea of having Delphi code on the wiki pages, and I strongly believe that Delphi should be a lot more promoted in these areas. But right now I think that this is the wrong issue. I suggest that we take two steps backward and ask ourself “how can we develop and maintain the best possible help system for the Delphi users, and how can this help system take advantage of the community zeal to enrich the content and at the same time ensure that the quality is intact”.

    m2c

    • Good comments overall but I think that the thing that you’re missing is that there are already tons of Delphi documentation scattered across the web. If we mention only the Neil’s Delphi Basics, Zarko’s delphi.about.com, Torry’s swissdelphicenter and (perhaps) the main Help wiki, there are already enough information which is ready to be linked. In fact we must avoid this (quoting you)

      When I look for code snippets, I google (some times I search specific web-sites). When I look for a general description on a theme, I wiki.
      …on the other hand, the community isn’t willing to help the help 🙂 but we (as coders) are much more keen to write some technical article about a neat feature, algorithm etc. Why don’t link this to Wikipedia?

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