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Re: [Orgmode] A shorter manual

From: Dan Davison
Subject: Re: [Orgmode] A shorter manual
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2010 13:06:32 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Erik Iverson <address@hidden> writes:

> Carsten Dominik wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> with the Org-mode manual moving toward 200 pages,  I am
>> starting to worry that people with stop in their tracks
>> when considering Org-mode, just because of the sheer size
>> of the manual.
>> So I did a little experiment.  I took the manual and stripped
>> everything which could be considered advanced material, but
>> keeping all features and all basic commands and customizations.
>> What remains are about 50 pages.  A document with the same
>> structure (even the same chapter numbers) as the manual.
>> I am wondering if it would be useful to have this as a beginners
>> document - or if the existence of this document would lead
>> to more confusion than relief.
>>     http://orgmode.org/orgguide.pdf
>> I don't see this a an alternative for the manual - just
>> as an additional, rather static document, with little need for
>> updates.  The manual would continue to be the comprehensive
>> and constantly updated document.
>> Comments are welcome.

Hi Carsten,

I think this would be a good thing to have. 

It would be good to have active HTML links to the relevant main manual
sections in PDF and HTML versions. (even if this is not encouraged by
texinfo format).

I'm tempted to suggest going even a little further than you have done.
If you were to make it shorter, I would suggest removing the following
sections, and to replace removed sections with very short non-technical
advertisements for features that are covered in the main manual.

- 2.8 Drawers
- 3.2 Column width and alignment
- 3.3 The Spreadsheet (4 rather technical pages)
- 7.4 Property Inheritance and 7.5 Column View
  (do beginners really need properties at all ??)


> I think it's a great idea.  The R project has something called "An
> Introduction to R" for beginners, separate from the complete manual.
> I think that as a beginner, and wondering how to break into learning a
> new package, that "reading the manual" has certain negative
> psychological connotations that "reading the intro document" does not,
> not the least of which is the length of full manual.
> And since knowing just the basics of org can be immensely beneficial,
> I think it's even more reason to have a basic intro document.
> --Erik
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