Google Season of Docs
BRL-CAD was fortunate to participate in the inaugural 2019 Google Season of Docs (GSoD)! We had a wonderful experience working with Sahibpreet Kaur to create a concise Intro to BRL-CAD. We participated again in 2020, learned from that experience even more, and are looking forward to the 2021 Season of Docs.
The goal of Google Season of Docs is to provide a framework for technical writers and open source projects to work together towards the common goal of improving an open source project's documentation. For technical writers who are new to open source, the program provides an opportunity to gain experience in contributing to open source projects. For technical writers who're already working in open source, the program provides a potentially new way of working together. Season of Docs also gives open source projects an opportunity to engage more of the technical writing community.
BRL-CAD is a powerful cross-platform solid modeling system for 3D computer-aided design and graphic visualization. Currently standing at more than a million lines of code and hundreds of staff-years investment, BRL-CAD has nearly 40 years development history (since 1979) and is in production use by more than 2000 organizations around the world. BRL-CAD is represented, used, and developed by a collective of industry, academia, and government participants from all over the world.
In all, BRL-CAD has more than a million words of documentation across hundreds of manual pages, dozens of tutorials, hundreds of wiki pages, dozens of technical papers, and other resources. There are literally thousands of features created over decades of development. BRL-CAD's set of current manuals, guides, tutorials, and other documentation are listed on our website wiki.
How You Can Help
The project has received little attention from professional technical writers in the past 15 years. Despite a rich documentation and development history (see our detailed bibliography, 0.5MB pdf), BRL-CAD's docs are lacking in several fundamental respects such as basic organization and presentation.
We especially need help with:
- presenting BRL-CAD's existing docs in a more organized manner
- getting all existing documentation under version control so we can manage better
- setting up existing docs so we can update and maintain them faster/easier
For 2021, our Season of Docs focus project is Migrating BRL-CAD's Documentation Infrastructure.
If you are interested in working with BRL-CAD on a documentation project, whether under GSoD or not, please see our PROJECT IDEAS page. Another good starting point for technical writers is our "HACKING BRL-CAD" (pdf, 35MB) book which includes a section on contributing to documentation.