BRL-CAD was selected to participate in the 2013 Google Summer of Code Doc Camp. A team of contributors got together in California, brainstormed, and wrote an entire book for BRL-CAD in just a few days. They created a guide for contributing to BRL-CAD.
Contrary to and perhaps because of longstanding efforts, people interested in improving BRL-CAD sometimes find themselves lost in a sea of information. In all, BRL-CAD has more than a million words of documentation across hundreds of manual pages, dozens of tutorials and examples, hundreds of wiki pages, dozens of technical papers, and other resources. There are literally thousands of features. It's a lot, created over decades of development.
Over the course of a week in October, members from our community participated in something fresh. Something different.
A team of individuals traveled from around the world to the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, to participate in a 2-part event: an unconference and a book sprint. Teams for GNOME, OpenMRS, and BRL-CAD arrived on the Google campus and talked at length about techniques, tools, formats, documenters, and more. By the end of the week, seven individuals from four different countries, three continents, and one oceanic island produced a book for BRL-CAD totaling more than 100 pages in length.
As free open source software, one of BRL-CAD's greatest strengths is that anyone can get involved and directly contribute. You can make it better. This new book focuses on that aspect and introduces people to the project while providing detailed information for developers, writers, artists, and other potential contributors.
This new effort kick-starts a campaign to dramatically improve BRL-CAD's documentation, starting with this new contributor's guide. This guide will be available on a website at a later date in electronic and printed form.
Attending the camp provided an exciting opportunity to get a grasp on new techniques for documenting and sharing information about our software, hopefully in ways that help us grow our community. BRL-CAD's team included Sean Morrison, Eric Edwards, Cliff Yapp, Harmanpreet Singh, Check Nyah, Isaac Kamga, and Scott Nesbitt. Thank you to the Google Open Source Programs Office for their sponsorship, Allen Gunn of Aspiration for magnificently framing the event, and Adam Hyde of FLOSS Manuals for directing the production.
For more information on this book or how to contribute to BRL-CAD, please join one of our mailing lists.