What's up Doc(umentation)?

OPW with OpenMRS Summer 2013- documentation style

Month: September, 2013

End of OPW

Today is the last official day of OPW, but certainly not my last day with OpenMRS. It’s been a whirlwind summer and I can’t believe it’s already over. School has started back up for me, so the past few weeks haven’t been as tangibly productive as I would have liked. I have had a lot of time for reflection on this amazing opportunity I’ve had to work in the F/LOSS community. Here are  few parting thoughts for this blog:

  • Gender: I have such respect for the work of OPW to make women, gender-queer, and non-male-identifying people feel welcome in the world of technology. It’s definitely been a challenge for me to recognize the ability in myself to break down gender norms in tech. I’ve often been afraid to assert myself, to apply for things, to recognize my own skills and abilities. I’m sure a lot of this has to do with my own internalized, subconscious ideas about myself and my gender. (Imposter syndrome anyone?). I cannot begin to explain how incredible it is to have an opportunity like OPW empower me to have the confidence to compete in a male-dominated field.
  • Community: I’ve fallen in love with the community element of open source. From IRC to wikis, having a framework of people who all care about, develop and use the same product is amazing. I’ve never experienced software in such a personal way. I never know software could be personal. My relationship with the software I interact with has always been indifferent and clinical. Now, I don’t just see and interact with a piece of software, I see and interact with the community behind it.
  • Future: I’m not ready to stop here. I want to spread the word about the power of F/LOSS, and the potential for everyone to be involved- regardless of gender. I’ll be sticking around OpenMRS to work on documentation, and I’m forwarding OPW information to every lady I know. I just got an OpenMRS sticker in the mail and it’s proudly on display on my laptop case. [I’m just sitting here waiting for someone to ask me about it.] It’s a testament to my incredible summer, and the incredible future ahead of me.

Thanks to everyone involved in OPW.  You’ve positively impacted me in ways I cannot begin to describe. Keep up the amazing work.


GSOC Doc Camp!

Exciting news! OpenMRS has been accepted to attend the 2013 Google Docs Camp,  and I’ll be one of the representatives. The docs camp is set up as a conference on free software documentation, and a hands-on production platform for attending organizations to write FLOSS manuals. We’re going to be concentrating specifically on updating and (re)writing guides for new developers. The conference takes place in California in October.

As we’re nearing the end of OPW, it’s so exciting for me to know that my work with OpenMRS will be continuing even after my internship is over.  Most exciting of all, I was contacted this week by someone interested in volunteering to write documentation for OpenMRS. I explained everything that we’re in the process of doing: sorting module pages, updating module pages, creating stub pages*, getting community feedback and input**, and finalizing the style and template guides***. I linked this person to the template and style guide to help them get started and I’m so pleased to know that my work is being put to use.

I’m happy to say that one of the original goals of the summer, sustainability, is being realized. Not only have I created useful ‘meta-documentation’ for future documentors (which is already being used!), but I myself am certainly staying around to help out with OpenMRS documentation even after OPW.

*This is a new task. A lot of modules exist in the repository, but don’t actually have a corresponding wiki page. The repository doesn’t really contain any documentation, just a short overview and a download link. As such, for each module that exists in the repository but not on the wiki, I’ve been creating a ‘stub’ page with just the module name, overview and download link. Once all stub pages have been created, we’ll start filling them in with information.

**A lot of great things have come out of sorting and commenting on each module page. Many people have provided great feedback, and even started updating their documentation pages.

***I’ve updated these so that they’re not just a guide but a reflection of the documentation. For example, the table of contents is an actual table of contents with hyperlinks, there are screen shots and example diagrams and links, etc. Check it out! https://wiki.openmrs.org/display/~evoeges/Documentation+Style+Guide