Could we fix the web site

Matthew Fulmer tapplek at
Sat Jan 6 21:03:21 UTC 2007

On Sat, Jan 06, 2007 at 11:50:29AM -0800, Brad Fuller wrote:
> stephane ducasse wrote:
> >Karl
> >
> >really I'm quite annoyed. I cannot tell you all the story behind my 
> >mail but this is not a simple idiot remark.
> >Can't we get the welcome paragraph in the first place?
> >Should I really totally boycott Squeak?
> >Don't you understand that we are in a world where people communicate 
> >and judge on form?
> >
> >News Feed as a title of the first item of the page that describes 
> >squeak is not a smart choice. For somehow not knowing at all
> >what squeak is about and that does not really care about getting 
> >involved but just want to give a glance.
> First let me say that I'm delighted that others care about what the 
> website looks like!
> I assume that visitors with varying degrees of expertise visit the 
> top page. I think the question we should ask is what 
> information should we deliver, and how should we deliver that 
> information, to be the best service for the visitors. There are a few 
> issue here that make this a challenge for us. I'm sure there are more.
> - First, I don't think we know who those visitors are. For instance, 
> what is their expertise level and why they are at What are 
> they searching for?
> - Another issue is should the site be a dynamic site, or a site where 
> the information doesn't necessarily change much.

I think that the website and Wiki should be combined into one
Pier website/wiki. My experience is that the homepage for a free
software project is mostly for beginners, and the mailing list,
wiki, and code repository is where all the action, and hence
developers, are. Thus, a combined wiki/website would attract the
range of expertise you are seeking, IMHO. I sent an email about
a Pier wiki several months ago:

Examining Pier as an alternative to Swiki is still on my to-do
list, but is currently the third item, after I finish my
tutorial index and a better Swiki index page. I could bump that
up if the community wants a better, dynamic website+wiki. If so,
I could start working on a proposal for the new website, along
with a migration strategy, by the end of January. 

I am trying hard to make the Swiki pages useful
and of high enough quality that they can be a recommended
reference, rather than a hodge-podge of information. I would
like the same for the website.

> - Yet another issue is that we are but a few volunteers, and the list is 
> getting smaller to help with the site.

I am quite willing to cooperate and help both the web team and
the News team, since the goals of the doc team overlap the goals
of the other two teams. However, a wiki migration would probably
be better handled by the web team.  There is no well-defined
difference between the web and doc teams, as I see it.

Technically, I don't know how well a Pier website+wiki would
scale, since Seaside is much more demanding than Apache or

> I take away from these recent posts that you believe the visitors are 
> are new to squeak and are searching to find out more. Is that right? My 
> answer is I just don't know who they are.

Well, I am still a noob, and when I first stumbled upon Squeak
(Through Croquet), I was looking for two things primarily:

- What is Squeak, and why does it exist when great things like
  Python are around?
- How do I use it?

The first question was well answered by the current website, but
I found nothing to really answer the second question. Honestly,
until I started my tutorial index this past month, I thought
there were *no* squeak beginners tutorials other than those on Luckily, I was wrong, and I am trying to fill that need
with my tutorial index.

> To me, static web sites show a stale and static life of the 
> organization. That might not be what is really going on underneath the 
> hood, but it looks like that to the visitors. If there is no life, 
> people tend to believe it's either an old site with old content, or the 
> site authors don't care or have the time to update the site. If visitors 
> find this, they turn away and look elsewhere. I could be wrong, but If 
> I'm not, this is something we don't want to occur.

I agree. At first glance, Squeak looks like either a dead
project (since the website, and references to it contain dead
links and old documents) or a dead-end project (since nobody has
ever heard of it). The Weekly squeak has helped a lot to fix the
public image that Squeak is not dead, but is alive and growing
in my mind. Thanks News team!

> I'd like to make a place where all levels of
> expertise visit regularly. For old timers, they get the news
> they want. For those seeking to find out what squeak is about,
> they see a vibrant community and an aggressive and interesting
> development of squeak. One way to do that is to build a
> dynamic presence.  Dynamic news feeds provides a small portion
> of this. If the site was integrated with an up-to-date, ever
> changing wiki, that would certainly help people who are
> looking for technical answers keep coming back. And, it would
> assist beginners too.

I agree ;-)

> My belief is that we need a proper mix of 1) news, 2) well
> trimmed, up-to-date technical information (wiki) and 3) a
> comprehensive introduction to squeak (which is what the site
> is right now, but it too needs to be trimmed better.)

I am working on the trimming. I can help with the mixing.

> Since this is a volunteer organization, and most of us don't
> have time to build a site that is dynamic as I'm recommending,
> I suggested feeding the front site with something that was of
> interest to others and was dynamic. That's all.

hmm. I just noticed that already is a SmallWiki site,
which is the predecessor to Pier. Would it be possible to just
upgrade it or flip some bits to turn it into a wiki? I could
definitely bring some more life into the features and
Documentation pages, at least.

Also, is there a way I could download the SmallWiki
image? That would help a lot when I get around to examining a
Swiki emigration.

> Can you or any others help us out?

Definitely :-)

Matthew Fulmer --
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