PyJunior: Call For Documentation Help!

Just a quick note: the PyJunior code is up on Launchpad. Please remember: I wrote this in about two hours and haven’t had any time to clean it up. So, expect warts and all. :-)

The Open Sourcerer pointed me at Snake Wrangling for Kids as a great kid-friendly guide for learning Python. My dream now is that when a kid clicks the big Help button in PyJunior, that the book pops up in native GNOME help format. Problem is: I have absolutely no idea how to convert Snake Wrangling for Kids (which is available in LaTeX and PDF format) into this help format, and don’t really have any time to contribute to this either.

So, I am looking for help. PyJunior provides a simple and effective of way of playing with Python for kids, but we really need the documentation to make this story rock. Is there anyone out there who would like to work on this and make clicking that Help button a fantastic experience for kids interested in learning programming? I really hope so: this could be a wonderful learning tool for ankle-biters everywhere. :-)

If you are interested in helping, do let me know in the comments on this blog entry and we can talk more. If you just want to crack on and make the docs love happen, do feel free to go ahead and submit a merge proposal when you have something.

To do those who help, thanks so much in advance! :-)

  • Daniel Bell

    I’m very interested in this project, and it sounds like a really neat idea. I’d love to help out wherever I can.

    From a few search results Gnome help is in Docbook format. Not sure if that is entirely correct.

    Sadly I don’t know how to convert LaTeX to DocBook or anything like that, so help in that area would be limited.

  • http://www.silwenae.org/blog Paul Cutler

    Hi!

    I talked to Shaun McCance, the GNOME’s fearless documentation leader, and there is no easy way to convert LaTeX to Docbook or Mallard. (Daniel – Mallard is the new XML schema for GNOME help that we are transitioning to – more at projectmallard.org – much easier than Docbook to work with).

    I don’t think it will be a ton of work to convert this to Mallard, even by hand as we can just copy and paste the paragraphs after I get the chapter skeleton set up.

    I’ve created a gitorious project at http://gitorious.org/swfk and will have a skeleton up later tonight. The hard part is debating how I want to setup the chapters, leaning towards breaking them up into separate pages by section like the author did.

  • Zeeshan Ali (Khattak)

    Python might seem like the coolest & easiest language to people who already know one of the other popular languages (C, Java, C++, C# etc) but its not really good for educating people with no prior knowledge of programming how to program. Must admit though its still better than staring them with C or C++.

  • http://matthew.stinar.net Matthew Stinar

    Looks like Paul Cutler has started something. Hopefully we can find a way to contribute.

    http://twitter.com/prcutler/status/11846334166

  • http://matthew.stinar.net Matthew Stinar

    Sorry. I misspoke. It’s being converted to Mallard, not DocBook.

  • http://www.deansas.org/ Dean

    New gnome help is being written in Mallard.

    Yelp, the gnome help viewer program can display HTML, docbook, mallard and man at least. It transforms the non-html formats to HTML at run-time

  • Steven Danna

    I’m very interested in working on this project. I have a good deal of LaTeX skills, but not much experience with gnome documentation.

  • http://philbull.livejournal.com/ Phil Bull

    Hi Jono,

    I’m happy to mentor someone with this project. DocBook would probably be the most appropriate format, but it will be a big job to do the conversion. We can strip the LaTeX macros I guess.

    Either way, send any interested parties to the ubuntu-doc list (https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-doc) and we can help them get started.

    (By the way, it’s a non-Free license. It’s got a non-commercial clause.)

  • Andrew Breiner

    As a college professor who teaches students that have never seen programming before, python is a great language. I have tried several languages.

  • http://persson.cx/ jens persson

    There is also “Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python” at http://inventwithpython.com/ (which is similarly licensed) and more generally the “Ideas for Teaching Computer Technology to Kids” blog which lists lots of resources and ideas about how to solve the “problem”.

  • http://princefool.blogspot.com DeeJay1

    Mallard FTW!

  • http://abderrahim.arablug.org/blog/ Abderrahim Kitouni

    I think that we can get a good start by using plastex, I didn’t try it yet (this is a good opportunity to try it), but it seems like exactly what we need. We’ll need to write some code but that shouldn’t be too difficult (the main point of PyJunior is writing code, isn’t it ;-)) I’ll try to look at this tonight.

    http://plastex.sourceforge.net/

  • http://philbull.livejournal.com/ Phil Bull

    Hmmm, this is a linear (book-type) document. Mallard is best suited to topic-based documents. DocBook would be a better choice IMHO.

  • http://simos.info/blog Simos

    For people without any experience in programming and want something before touching Python, I recommend a game like Light Bot, http://armorgames.com/play/2205/light-bot

    It is a visual game that helps you start thinking abstractly and understand statements, functions.

  • jussi01

    Last time I checked, lyx could export as docbook – if thats the format you need.

    Hope that helps.

    Jussi.

  • Tom Wright

    I wish my college taught us Python :-) (or anything other than Pascal)

  • http://breinera.wordpress.com/ Andrew Breiner

    Wow! Pascal??? I try and stay current to a point, I don’t want to teach them a fad language for it to die in a few years, so we stick to languages that show promise and/or have been around a while, like java, c/c++, php, and python. However, my first language was Pascal, that was in 97, but still it was Pascal.

  • http://www.doink.ch Ulmo

    http://www.tug.org/tex4ht/ TeX4ht is a system for converting TeX/LaTeX/ConTeXt/etc. documents to HTML, various XML flavors, braille, etc., optionally using MathML.

  • http://goinggnu.wordpress.com Shrinivasan

    Hi,

    We from kanchipuram Linux User Group, [http://kanchilug.wordpress.com] like to assist you in this project.

    Guide us on what technologies we have to learn before starting the work.

    DocBook, Mallard… any other?

    Thanks a lot.

  • http://brettalton.com Brett

    What ever happened to Jokosher? I like opportunistic development but what about maintaining programs?

  • Solar_Flare

    I would love to help. Just tell me what to do and I will get on it. Do we need to write something like a python tutorial for kids, or do what needs to be done?

  • http://ubuntulife.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/pyjunior-acercando-la-programacion-a-los-mas-peques/ PyJunior, acercando la programación a los más peques « Ubuntu Life

    [...] PyJunior es un proyecto que intenta acercar las bases de la programación a los más pequeñajos de la casa. Con PyJunior el niño tendrá un interface muy sencillo (no hay ficheros, se salvan automaticamente los cambios, se basa en escribir y ejecutar) con el que podrá empezar a hacer sus pinitos en un lenguaje de programación, escribiendo sus primeros programitas. El proyecto se encuentra aún en fase de desarrollo y no hay ningun paquete .deb disponible, pero si le quieres echar un vistazo puedes descargarlo via bzr con: [...]

  • manny

    hey jono

    i was thinking that instead of “help” it could be renamed to tutorial, guide or tutorial/help

    parents would usually go to some website for a tutorial as they would not know that the help button is more that just more than possible problems you may have with pyjunior

    also why not keep the guide in pdf?

  • http://www.ayuda-linux.com/pyjunior-acercando-la-programacion-a-los-mas-peques/ PyJunior, acercando la programación a los más peques | Ayuda Linux

    [...] PyJunior es un proyecto que intenta acercar las bases de la programación a los más pequeñajos de la casa. Con PyJunior el niño tendrá un interface muy sencillo (no hay ficheros, se salvan automaticamente los cambios, se basa en escribir y ejecutar) con el que podrá empezar a hacer sus pinitos en un lenguaje de programación, escribiendo sus primeros programitas. El proyecto se encuentra aún en fase de desarrollo y no hay ningun paquete .deb disponible, pero si le quieres echar un vistazo puedes descargarlo via bzr con: [...]

  • http://bioinformatiquillo.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/pyjunior-programar-es-un-juego-de-ninos/ PyJunior: Programar es un juego de niños « Un Bioinformatiquillo

    [...] PyJunior es un proyecto que intenta acercar las bases de la programación a los más pequeñajos de la casa. Con PyJunior el niño tendrá un interface muy sencillo (no hay ficheros, se salvan automaticamente los cambios, se basa en escribir y ejecutar) con el que podrá empezar a hacer sus pinitos en un lenguaje de programación, escribiendo sus primeros programitas. El proyecto se encuentra aún en fase de desarrollo y no hay ningun paquete .deb disponible, pero si le quieres echar un vistazo puedes descargarlo via bzr con: [...]

  • Jeff S.

    Hey Jono,

    I’m just catching up on my RSS feeds as I’ve been out of touch for a while. I would really like to help out with this project in any capacity I can.

    One of my true passions is the teaching of Engineering, Technology, Science, and Math to kids and I support whatever I can to help that. I just finished volunteering for this season of the FIRST Robotics Competition where I was mentoring the programming team for a high school robotics team. Now that I have some free time, I’m looking for another worthy project. Let me know if I can help out.

  • http://www.briggs.net.nz/log Jason R Briggs

    Hi

    I noticed the original comment/trackback on my site, but been too busy to reply. My apologies.

    Not sure how far you’ve actually gone with this project, but for your info, a while back I did write a python script to convert from the latex used in SWFK to HTML. At the time, I was thinking I might release an HTML version, as well as PDF — however the conversion process wasn’t perfect, and the idea of having to separately maintain an HTML version, didn’t appeal.

    In any case, it does the basic conversion, including a call to ImageMagick (convert) to transform the EPS image files to PNG. Which might make your job a little easier. Feel free to email me if you want to use it.

    Kind regards Jason