[chuck-users] FLOSS (user editable) manual for ChucK

Kassen signal.automatique at gmail.com
Fri Nov 27 17:20:31 EST 2009


Great to see you here.

Yes, isn't it? I was enjoying Tomasz's posts elsewhere for a few years now
before running into him at Steim. It's a small world.

> Firstly, I would like to announce to you all that I successfully
> defended my PhD this week and now that is done I will be spending more
> time here collecting the great ideas that come through this list.
Both are great news! congratulations! What is your PhD on?

> Presently I am working on converting the manual to asciidoc, which is
> a simple formatting language that produces both html and pdf copies.
> This will allow us to keep the manual and the website in sync. This
> has been a sore point for a long time now.
Right, this is a good point. The threshold of entry should be lower there so
everyone who would like to help can. I think most of the more senior users
have their own field of expertise that many others will know less about and
of course new users will see issues that the rest overlooks. To me the
manual is a important thing as it will be the first port of call for many
people who are considering ChucK; that's also why I felt the recent
compilation issues needed a quick fix. If we don't make a good first
impression we'll never reach world-domination.

> I have signed up for a github account and I would be happy to put the
> chuck manual there. This will allow everyone to grab from my branch
> and then I can pull changes from everyone and then commit them back to
> the project. How does that sound?

Good. But then we need a intro to this. A intro to using this system aimed
at people who are not routinely using version management. Like me :-).

> Future. I want to have a documentation sprint. How does December 19th
> look? Anyone else interested? I would be online all day giving out
> tasks and helping people get into the technical parts of adding to our
> document and also looking for snippets of wisdom or errata to improve
> the minutia.

This sounds like a good idea, and very fitting with the inspiration Tomasz
here took from the recent Ardour sprint in Rotterdam and online.

Let me commit to covering the interaction between DSP in code and in UGens;
that's a interesting topic that I feel has so far been under-appreciated
even though it's one of the things where ChucK can really shine as compared
to other systems.

I think that too much fragmentation of the project is not good. Ge has
> done a great job and keeping everything together and I think that is
> one of the reasons we have so many people here. It is easy to find
> information (or to find out that the information doesn't exist) and it
> is easy to ask questions to a list that actually responds. Having a
> dev or working version of the docs is good but having it all in one
> place for newbies definitely eases the transition, so I don't want to
> break that "feature."
I respectfully disagree there. I do agree that Ge is doing a amazing job
that can't be praised highly enough but the information is not all in one
place. Most is in the manual but then some things are only in the examples
or even just mentioned in Ge's thesis (whole chunks of that should likely be
pasted straight into the manual). Then there are things that are only
mentioned in the list archives or on the forum or WiKi, hinted at in the old
docs on the site or even just in the VERSIONS file. I think there are also
bits that aren't documented at all; there must be as every once in a while
something pops up that has been implemented but never documented.

Of course this has so far not been a great issue as the scene is still small
enough for the people who know how to find it all to answer all questions
and this can certainly be attributed to Ge who set the tone of friendly help
to all comers (quite unlike some lists I hear about).

To pick just one thing; just the other day I was talking about the "repeat"
structure in ChucK on the Toplap list when debating the influence of syntax
on musical movements (as well as kissing as a quantitative measurement of
musical quality; it's a wonderful list). Even I myself can't remember where
I found that one (might be Ge's thesis?). The manual mentions it's
existence, but not how it works;

  <<<"this will be printed three times">>>;

...a wonderful device, it can be used immediately even if you have just seen
it once so it's a great introduction to loops, it's simplicity makes it
great for casual impulsive livecoding with a drink at hand, but don't ask me
where it's documented.

These are my current thoughts. What do you think?
Yes, yes, yes &yes. Great ideas, it's good to see you back on the case and
we'll do this. I'm in and I hope we'll see a strong turnout of people
writing, suggesting and proof-reading.

After this I'd like a sprint on the /examples/ dir. There are some bits in
there that I find questionable. We can debate style (some structures have
become out-dated) but I feel they should all run without errors or warnings
(this is not currently the case) and there are some otherwise dubious bits
here and there. I think I kept some notes on those somewhere but might have
misplaced them.

Great initiative!
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