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[Caml-list] Completeness of "Unix" run-time library
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Date: 2004-03-19 (19:03)
From: Eric Stokes <eric.stokes@c...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Structuring the Caml community (Re: OCaml's Cathedral & Bazaar)
I've done a bit of looking around, and comparing our (Ocaml's) web 
presence with perl's.
I've been trying to boil things down a bit to something more 
fundamental, so here is my humble attempt :P

The structural components of the web presence for a language seem to be.
1. The overall index. A place where all the junk associated with the 
language lives,
a good place to point a beginner, or a pointy haired boss. Should 
contain some high
level description of what the language is like, and some general 
fanfare, logos, etc. Should
also sit on a dns name closely related to the name of the language.

Should always have links to
- Documentation, tutorials, high level descriptions (for the pointy 
haired ones (pls excuse my dilbert references))
- A compiler download
- An index of libraries written in the language
- A forum for communication with other members of the community 
(mailing list, wiki, irc, forum, whatever)
- News about the language

2. The documentation, which can be spread out in various places, and in 
various formats, so long as
most all of it occurs no more than 3 levels of indirection (or so) away 
from the index.

3. Some index (or indexes) of libraries available for the language. One 
index is usually better, but if there are
two they tend to mirror each-other anyway (witness the hump, and the 
link database).

Given all this, I claim that the Ocaml web presence is actually pretty 
good. See embedded.

On Mar 18, 2004, at 3:44 PM, Alain.Frisch@ens.fr wrote:

> It would be great to see one of the companies committed to OCaml 
> setting
> up a "community web site"

(the index site, see #1)

Actually is a very good index site, almost on par with perl's. Has all 
the relevant requirements,
I like the logo/fanfare better than perl's (what can I say, its a cool 
picture). The only area
where it really lacks is the news section. The news items are old, 
which makes it look like
there is nothing happening with the language community, which is in 
fact, not true.
I can sympathize with the effort required to correctly maintain a 
website (as I maintain several),
and I'd say that INRIA is doing a pretty darn good job with the limited 
resources that they have.
	With respect to the datedness of the news items, There is probably a 
clean way for the community
to have some input about what goes up there. My first crack at the 
problem would be to have the news
part of the page included by an SSI or similar, and have a web 
interface by which members of the
community could propose new news items, subject to approval by INRIA. 
That would leave INRIA
only with the task of reading and approving new news items, which as 
long as the
approval interface is clean and simple seems to me to be less work than 
actually writing them.

> , lauching specific mailing lists / forums to
> discuss technical issues (like "best practices" for packaging 
> libraries)
> and less technical ones

(the mailing list)

and lots of other off site ones besides that.

> ("shall we better have a wiki or blogs to make
> the community visible ?"),

A wiki is not a bad idea at all

>  and organizing a somewhat formal system to
> reach conclusions in a bounded amount of time (vote ?). Then publish 
> the
> results, and call for participation if some resources are necessary to
> develop or set up something.

I'm with Gerd on this one. Formal systems develop out of need, and I 
see the need. Our web presence is pretty organized. INRIA has done a 
good job
with the index, and the community has provided a pretty good index of 
Honestly, I'm a bit in awe of all the fuss on this thread. What 
specifically is wrong
with the link database, or the hump? There is a metric fuckton (to use 
a colloquialism)
of high quality libraries and documentation indexed on both of them! 
GODI looks promising,
personally I commit to adding the libraries I maintain to GODI soon.

> This does not seem out of reach, we "just"
> need someone to take some responsibility and organize the process. Many
> people will be happy to help if some initial impulsion is given.

On the community side GPS (Gerd Stolpmann) has been at this for years, 
and its had a
very positive effect on things. I suggest interested parties check out 
his web site, join the GODI
mailing list, check out the link database, etc.. He is leading in the 
direction you all seem to want to go,
and he has a lot of the work done already!

> -- Alain
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