Talawa: Google Season of Docs 2020

The Palisadoes community is thrilled to share that the project is applying to the Google Season of Docs (GSoD) this year! If you’re unfamiliar with the program, GSoD is a great initiative organized by Google Open Source to pair technical writers with mentors to work on documentation for open source projects. The first edition supported over 40 projects.

Why Apply?

Our Talawa project is experiencing a boom in contributions and some major changes to its codebase. And, while the project has also seen a significant increase in activity when it comes to writing, reviewing and translating documentation, it’s hard to keep up with the pace.

Our acceptance into the Google Summer of Code 2021 has created a significant increase in activity in the past two months. Here is our GitHub commit rates on our Talawa mobile App and its backend API repositories.

The community has been working on to improve the documentation experience and bring a more accessible information architecture to Talawa. After some discussion, we agreed that GSoD would be a valuable opportunity to double down on this effort and collaborate with someone who is passionate about technical writing…and Talawa!

How can you contribute?

If working shoulder to shoulder with the Talawa community on documentation sounds exciting, we’d love to hear from you! You can read more about our idea for this year’s project below and, depending on whether it is accepted, apply as a technical writer. If you have any questions or just want to know more about the project idea, ping us by subscribing to our list at https://www.freelists.org/list/palisadoes and sending an email to:

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Project: Improve the Talawa Mobile App & API Docs

​ Talawa was created to help community based organizations collaborate with their membership. These organizations would include religious groups, non-profit charities, social groups and in limited cases, businesses.

Project Scope

This is the third year of the project and we need to transition from casual documentation written by software engineers to a comprehensive guide about the project from the general to the technical. Our main focus will be on general documentation and user guides which are the most obviously pressing needs.

As a relatively new open source project, we recognize that our documentation is insufficient to encourage participation by software developers. We need someone who is willing to create and implement a documentation strategy for us.

The two primary objectives follow.

1) Evaluate and Restructure the Talawa Mobile & API Documentation

Audit the existing documentation and create a prioritized list (friction log) of focus areas that would be tracked by our GitHub issues system. This information will help us understand the gaps in the documentation, create updated documentation for the top use cases and facilitate reworking the current documentation structure. This would allow us to:

  • Lower the entry barrier to Talawa for new developers.
  • Make the available features more easily discoverable.
  • Improve the flow and logical correlation of topics.

Our GitHub issues list contains many examples of what needs to be done and can be used as a starting point.

This stage will also include developing ways to:

  • Identify volunteer documentation testers and incorporate their feedback.
  • Work with the repository managers to update the documentation, and create a process for keeping the documentation in sync with the code base.

2) Extend the Talawa Mobile & API Documentation

Some areas of the documentation have insufficient detail or are not accessible for new users. Examples of topics and sections that require attention are:

  • Overview
  • Installation
  • GitHub cheat cheat for the project
  • User guides
  • Concepts
  • Glossary

We will need to expand our issues list to cover these topics. A tracking page or issue will need to be created for each category.

There is a lot of work to be done and the technical writer could choose what areas to focus on — these improvements could then be added to the documentation rework umbrella issue

Out of Scope

Work that is out-of-scope for this project:

  1. This project will not create any GitHub tutorials; instead, the cheat sheet will link to existing material that is relevant and helpful.
  2. Our documentation will link to external documentation for libraries, packages and other software where necessary. There will be no need to explain non Talawa based software in detail.

Measuring Success

As of March 25, 2021 we currently have 33 Talawa contributors and 15 Talawa-API contributors. We would like to see this number double over the summer. We feel that this is possible as we have over 90 Talawa forks and over 50 Talawa-API forks, with the expectation of significantly more when Google Summer of Code applications open on March 29, 2021.

Project Mentors

Related Resources

We look forward to receiving feedback on this GSoD application and also to continue improving the documentation experience for Talawa users. Join us!

Proposed Budget

We are working towards financing the budget below from a Google Season of Docs allocation

Budget ItemAmountRunning TotalNotes / Justification
Technical writer audit, update, test, and publish new documentation 6,0006,000Two contributors. One for Talawa and the other for Talawa-api
Volunteer stipends2,0008,000Four volunteer stipends @200 each to provide supervision
Project t-shirts (10 t-shirts)1508,150