[fpc-devel] Offer to repair and maintain the FPC community website (repeat msg, no HTML)

Cephas Atheos cephasatheos at gmail.com
Wed Sep 26 17:56:44 CEST 2012

On 27/09/12 1:11 AM, "Sven Barth" <pascaldragon at googlemail.com> wrote:

>This (although I'm mostly using URL completion for it...) and the
>* http://wiki.freepascal.org/
>* http://www.freepascal.org/docs.var
>* ftp://ftp.freepascal.org/pub/fpc/snapshot/trunk/
>* http://bugs.freepascal.org

Oh, Sven, Sven, SvenŠ I absolutely agree that those are really useful
pages. But not one of them says "Download Here" (flashing the "Here", of
course! :))

So, as a fairly new user, I see the first page is a load of writing
(bzzzzt! No boobs or russian wife ads :(), the second has every document
except how to troubleshoot an installation problem, the third just puts up
a window demanding a username and password (why? How do I register? What
do I get when I pass the gatekeeper's portal of doom?), and the fourth
breaks in every chrome browser I have access to and shows a completely
blank page. That's none for four!

Please don't get me wrong, these are terrific pages to have links to on
the front page, but they all need some explanation (well, maybe not the
docs page). Footnotes, things like that. They can't be single-word links.

They're all fantastic for knowledgeable developers, or wannabe compiler
compilers (like me, I've seen all those pages in the past 4 days at some
time or another), but not for new users who kinda know what a compiler is,
and who've been playing with Turbo Delphi or a university installation of
D2011 or similar, or -ahem- RadStudio from the Pirate Bay...

Again, think new, novice user. They're probably smart enough to know how
to configure their browser to download to a known location on their system
(that goes without saying for linux users, but not necessarily windows or
Mac users), and they should know the difference between a compiler and an
ide. But not everyone is going to know or care about daily builds,
patches, trunks, and fixes. They're going to say "Hey, you promised me a
programming language. What's FTP got to do with it?"

So far, the fpc site seems to be designed mainly to capture Eclipse users
who are tired of the bloated IDE, tired of struggling with java classes,
and remember pascal from uni days. And that's great, that's what you want,
definitely - but the kids coming out of TAFE and university courses (at
least here, in Australia) either love or hate C, and if they hate it,
they'll be looking for an alternative.

But they won't necessarily know what a trunk is, or even what svn is, full
stop. They may be your biggest growth segment for the next few years (if
not more), so you have to capture their attention, make it super easy to
get the basics down on their computer, and super easy to install.  So far,
so good, that's what FPC and Lazarus does best, but it's *still* terribly
confusing for experienced programmers to know what they have to download,
then what order to install, then how to fix common problems, and so on.

Either that needs to be taken care of by a universal installer (ha!), or
we need to document, explain, and assist on the one page. No trunks, no
wiki, no passwords, just click here, here, and here. Install this, then
this, then this. Here's the examples. Here's the documentation. Here's the
wiki. Don't like fpc? Fix it - here's howŠblah blah blah.

I hope this makes sense. And I do hope everyone's taking my attitude in
the spirit it's intended, I'm not trying to be a bastard, really. I know
you guys can pull all this together, you really don't need me to tell you
this. But I'm gonna keep having fun until I get access to the site, or you
tar and feather me, and then kick me off  the list! (Hint : try the first
option, then you can do the second if you're not happy). :D
- Pete

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