Documentation Distribution

John Ralls jralls at
Thu Mar 3 11:45:29 EST 2016

> On Mar 3, 2016, at 8:13 AM, Geert Janssens <geert.gnucash at> wrote:
> On Sunday 28 February 2016 09:40:49 John Ralls wrote:
> > For the guide I don't think it's unreasonable to remove it from the
> > Help menu and simply direct people to <> to download it
> > or read it online.
> That is of course an argument to keep help and guide two separate documents, so opposite to what we have just been discussing of merging all together...
> And I think if the online version is to become the primary version we'll have to fix the current iframe issue on the website.
> As a reminder, the current online docs are displayed in an iframe to keep them integrated in the website (have the main menu and language buttons available). The cleanest solution would be to tweak the html generation (for use on our website at least) to include the header and left hand side menu in every generated page. And it would even be better still if the document's own menu/hierarchy appeared somewhere on the page as well to users could more easily navigate it all.
> > The guide is about 10-12MB to help's 1-2 so
> > removing all 5 (de, en, it, ja, and pt) would be the biggest part of
> > the weight reduction. Help is needed for context help. For Mac
> > bundles we could instruct users to get it from <> and
> > install it in ~/Library/Application Support/GnuCash or perhaps
> > provide a little Applet to do that for them. Windows needs help in
> > .chm format which in turn requires a tool called Windows Help
> > Workshop which runs only on Win32. The logical thing to do there
> > would be to modify the installer to ask the user what documentation
> > version is wanted and to download it and install it in the right
> > place, but that assumes that the installer is able to do downloads.
> > 
> Alternatively we could provide localized installers with only one language per installer, next to a generic all-language installer. Or langpack-only installers which would only run if they discover an installed gnucash of the correct version. This is feasible with the windows installer we currently use.
> An installed that's able to do downloads would be better still though.


True, combining the documents would make pointing the user at the website impractical unless we also got rid of context help or rewired it to also take the user to the website. I've used programs that do that and I find it irritating.

I think having different per-documentation packages would be confusing. It's not easy to make obvious that the only difference between GnuCash-Deutsch-Intel-2.8.0-1.dmg and GnuCash-English-Intel-2.8.0-1.dmg is the documentation and online help, and that either can be used with an e.g. French, Dutch, or Chinese UI. I'm not wild about installer packages. They've gotten quite rare on Macs and I think most Mac users would be unhappy about GnuCash switching.

If download size really is that much of an issue then I suppose the least-bad alternative is to ship with only English and provide a menu item in the Help menu to download and install other translations.

John Ralls

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