Written by Chris Davenport
Saturday, 08 May 2010 11:00
With the release of Joomla! 1.6 beta 1 looming large, the time has come to start ramping up the user documentation effort in anticipation of that milestone. One of our highest priority goals is to have a complete set of up-to-date help screens available by the time 1.6 goes stable and preferably before then so that the translation teams have time to do their work too. To help us achieve that goal I'm looking for volunteers to form a small team that can work to write the new help screens. This is a perfect opportunity for those of a less technical bent to make a significant contribution to the Joomla! project.
The trunk now includes a modified help system that pulls help screens from the wiki at https://docs.joomla.org. This is fully functional and you can see it action by installing the latest SVN code or one of the nightly builds. But right now, clicking on the administrator toolbar help buttons will bring up only holding pages, most of which pull the old Joomla! 1.5 help screens as a temporary measure.
There is a complete list of the Joomla! 1.6 help screens here: http://docs.joomla/org/Help16:Help_screens and this also acts as a control sheet showing progress towards our goal of having all the help screens completed by the time 1.6 goes stable. As you can see, there are around 50 screens to be completed. At the present time most of them are "transclusions" of the old 1.5 help screens; that is to say, they contain a simple one-line statement that pulls in the old content. Every single one of these will need to be replaced with new content that covers 1.6 specifically. This is not as daunting as it might at first appear; there is much in the 1.5 help screens that can be carried over into the 1.6 screens.
So, I'm looking for people who are willing and able to carry out one or more of the following tasks:
- write new help screens, based on the original 1.5 help screens. You don't need to have deep knowledge of 1.6 to do this, but a willingness to learn is essential. Familiarity with wiki syntax is helpful, but not essential as everything you need to know about the wiki can be learned in about 10 minutes.
- create screenshots of all the required elements and upload them using the wiki image naming conventions. On some images you will need to use some kind of annotation tool to highlight specific aspects of an image, so you will need to be familiar with image editing tools with this capability.
- proofread the help screens, correcting typographical and grammatical errors and ensuring that they actually make sense!
- monitor changes to 1.6 as they occur and be able to flag where changes to the help files are needed. There will doubtless be changes to the user interface during the process of moving from beta to stable and we don't want to miss anything!
This is a great opportunity for non-developers to contribute something really important to the project. If you'd like to get involved then please contact me at
and we can get started straight away.