Brussels / 3 & 4 February 2018


Documentation convergence project for LibreOffice

Make just one documentation for all

LibreOffice like other office suites, is a sophisticated, ubiquitous and complex end-user application, that demands good documentation to continue its strive. The current situation for LibreOffice documentation is that producing contents is still a lenghty and hard task, often requiring rework depending on different sort of publiccation needed. In this presentation, we will summarize the efforts done so far within the LibreOffice ecosystem and make the point on the need for a different approach to make the LibreOffice documentation an element of communty gathering and contribution, extending the range of the quality of the software.

Complex softwares for end-users like office suites or desktop environment, to name a few, are impacted in their adoption because of the need to educate and train users to the new tools. Undocumented software raise a set of issues that prevents broad adoption by the organizations or governments, and leave brilliant ideas and features into obscrurity. The Document Foundation and it's flagship software LibreOffice, as well as other FOSS communities needs to address the issue of making the end-user documetnation broadly available and updated.

On the other hand, end users being part of the software community, are often eager to collaborate and contribute to the software documentation, but hit a quite steep entry barrier because of the development skills need in editing software help files or on advanced word processing skills for editing a guide with the software. Also, Q&A-shaped web services, wikis and dynamic multimedia documentation also bring challenges to documentation because of the need for accuracy and update.

The purpose of the presentation is to deliver a vision on the optimal documentation production for complex end-user softwares, that will address several documentation issues existing in the FOSS business and community envoronment. We call this Project Convergence. Here is waht we foresee:

  • Address the reduction of documentation rework, issues by the multiple publishing medias, such as online reading, printed guides or multimedia documents
  • Have its contents editable by a large set of contributors, under proper security, and with the easiest way to add contents, so new contributors can quickly add contents instead of learning obscure features of the file markup.
  • Be computer-aided-translation (CAT) friendly, to reach the broader public around the world in whatever language.
  • Synchronized with the latest developments of the software, thus reducing the gap between development and documentation.

We will also present our latest development in the documentation tools of LibreOffice, in the effort to evolve technologically and benefit of the develpment of the web and invite for discussion all documentation leaders of similar software projects.


Photo of Olivier Hallot Olivier Hallot