Welcome to the Task Force, Please leave your information below:
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Introduction, Principles & Recommendations
Our taskforce mission is to find gaps and opportunities in existing Hyperledger Documentation. Herein, we present conclusions and recommendations using examples that are indicative of how all documentation pages might be standardized.
This document is representative of a fact finding mission with generalized principles and specific conclusions. These conclusions should be discussed, edited and converted into direct action items. The purpose for this tone is to recognize that each Hyperledger project has a different team, with different maintainers who create and update documentation pages. Then, this document presents concrete examples that elucidate our principles and guidelines.
Our ultimate goal with this taskforce is to foster consistency and standardization for the betterment of the entire Hyperledger ecosystem.
8 GUIDING PRINCIPLES:
- Standardization improves the speed and ease of adoption of multiple projects within the Hyperledger Ecosystem
- Each project should utilize a similar hosting platform for Documentation for ease of use and learnability
- Any documentation hosting platform used should leverage a common Markdown Language, theme and interface.
- A simpler design aesthetic is more desirable than a complex page given the goal of standardizing multiple pages within the Hyperledger Ecosystem.
- If an updated template is used, each project should emulate a newer, web3 aesthetic / open-source community visual layout
- While we recognize the implicit uniqueness of each Hyperledger project, most companies have a standard theme for product pages
- Standards should be reflected in a consistent manner through a badging system or checkmark awarded for adherence to these principles
- Allow for community involvement to avoid a strictly top-down approach; instead, reflect the values of the open-source community
8 SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS:
- All Hyperledger projects should utilize ReadTheDocs for documentation hosting
- Standardize documentation content & context to promote increased usage and project adoption
- Re-factor any existing inconsistencies in style, graphics, tables, and other content to maximize standardization between projects
- Current / Future Hyperledger Projects should both utilize the a standardized and agreed upon documentation pattern
- The Fabric documentation pattern could serve as a template: ReadtheDocs for documentation, GitHub for all code truth, and a Hyperledger Wiki page for Community items and badging.
- Standardize graphics and the glossary section for better concept lookups and user experience.
- All Projects can leverage Discord: include or “pin” documentation relevant posts. (currently all are not pinned)
- Utilize a survey to reflect the voice of the various unique projects that have documentation pages in disparate themes with varying styles and layouts.
Tasks to be completed
|Status: In Progress|
|Status: In Progress|
List of deliverables or work products
|Grid analysis, showing platform currently in use|
|Report exists within this page.|
|Recommendations exist in 2 parts: our guidelines and survey results.|
|Reflective of industry standards and existing Hyperledger Badging system.|
Time to complete
6 months (End 8/28/22)
Initial participant list
TASK FORCE NAME: Documentation Standards
Current Status of Hyperledger Documentation Platforms
- The purpose of this section is to review the existing documentation hosting setup for multiple Hyperledger Projects.
- Key Takeaways:
- Most Projects use ReadtheDocs (detailed grid analysis found here)
- Most of those ReadtheDocs projects use either Sphinx, Restructured Text for markdown or a theme enhancer like MKdocs
- A few projects use a non-traditional documentation hosting service, or do not use any documentation hosting service.
- Might be prudent to standardize / harmonize the documentation since most projects utilize ReadtheDocs
- Fabric exists as a standard, the next section will review the fabric documentation pattern
Fabric Documentation : A Documentation Pattern Template
- Fabric uses Read the Docs as the main source of truth for descriptions, GitHub as the source of truth for Code, and the HyperLedger Wiki page as the source of Truth for community related items.
- Projects should be customized as required. But some information in Fabric is spread out over multiple pages. Thus, it would be more efficient to be grouped by audience for easier readability.
- For example, some details are on the wiki page that aren’t on Read the Docs- and vice versa.
- Use of graphics on the Read the Docs is sometimes inconsistent.
Hyperledger Fabric Documentation
HyperLedger Fabric documentation can be found in a variety of sources, depending on your use case. Here are the main documentation standards:
- HyperLedger Fabric Read the Docs: https://hyperledger-fabric.readthedocs.io/
- Designed for Multiple Audiences: Developers and Business Professionals
- Generally follows topical organization with bullet points
- Has code, helpful imagery, written explanations
- Sorts concepts into tutorials, very comprehensive spread of information
- Doesn’t include source code files, at times will link to GitHub files for more detail
- Some areas are informative, rich knowledge base
- Use Cases area could be more informative (Recommend re-fresh / re-formatting of both pages, especially wiki page. currently just links to hyperledger wiki)
- Designed for developers: whether smart contract, application or enterprise blockchain developers
- Has a Readme file for general information, versioning, installation
- Links back to the HyperLedger Fabric Wiki
- Designed for general audiences, but it very brief from a descriptive standpoint.
- Is a great starting point for both technical and non technical audiences
- Includes LifeCycle badging system- noted as “Graduated” See Project LifeCycle
- Has CII Badge and Description
- Includes multiple links including the ReadtheDocs, GitHub and Original Design Documentation
- Indicates that the main documentation is the Read the Docs page
- The Discord channel is designed for asking and answering questions, fostering discussion regarding HyperLedger Fabric Documentation
- Not a single source of truth for any audience, however helpful for business, developer or community members
- Lots of useful links, but nothing is pinned for quick access
- As Discord becomes bigger, “pinning” will be eminently helpful
- The LandScape Page holds notable metrics, badging, links and an aggregate of the Fabric Twitter Page
- Metrics include the programming languages used, and the number of recent commits.
- The links include a comprehensive list of the various Fabric GitHub repositories
- The Twitter aggregate section includes the latest 3 tweets from the Hyperledger Foundation
Fabric Vs. Besu: Highlighting Layout Differences
This comparison is an initial analysis of the level of standardization between the Hyperledger Fabric Vs. Besu ReadTheDocs. ReadtheDocs was chosen because the ReadTheDocs is main source of documentation truth, and most deep in knowledge / helpfulness.
- Besu introduces itself as a product first, whereas Fabric introduces blockchain before a product introduction.
- Should we standardize this? Should we introduce the product or concept?
- Recommendation: Plenty of space in the ReadtheDocs for conceptual resources, let’s introduce the product first. (technical documentation typically assumes the developer knows the fundamentals)
- FAQ style Vs. Concept style. Besu uses FAQ, Fabric conceptual.
- Practical Vs. Theory: Besu very quickly is practical. Fabric documentation puts you through lots of theory before set-up steps.
- Main structure: Fabric is structured much differently from Besu.
- Audience: Even though the Besu documentation is deep and thorough, it is noticeably simpler in structure for a first-time user.
- Social Media: Besu main page is lacking social media links, and Fabric displays them- particularly the Discord is important for community engagement.
Fabric Vs. SawTooth: Stark Differences in Content & Context
This comparison is an initial analysis of the level of standardization between the Hyperledger Fabric Vs. SawTooth ReadTheDocs.
The terminology used between the two varies: while both begin with a key concepts / key terms introduction. Fabric emphasizes the idea of a Blockchain, while Sawtooth emphasizes the idea of a distributed ledger. While every blockchain uses a distributed ledger system, not all distributed ledgers conform to the characteristics of a blockchain. Therefore greater clarity may be gained if all documentation emphasized blockchain as the standard starting point, which utilizes practices related to distributed ledgers.
- No standard navigation style or layout exists between Fabric and Sawtooth. Each project has a different look and feel to their ReadtheDocs
- Layout and conceptual navigation is different between the projects: this could lead to slower development and adoption
- Both Fabric and Sawtooth emphasize concepts first, instead of a QuickStart or rapid development deployment project example
- Fabric has a much deeper conceptual dive into blockchain concepts, while Sawtooth has an initial conceptual dive.
- Code formatting looks cleaner and more legible on Fabric Documentation.
- Sawtooth begins with a Glossary, Fabric ends with a Glossary. (Should be consistent between the two.)
- The Sawtooth documentation may be outdated and require an update to conform to the latest release (per Hardik)
Fabric Vs. Cosmos: Design Decisions for Web3
This comparison is an initial analysis between the Hyperledger Fabric documentation and the Cosmos Blockchain documentation.
Both Cosmos and Fabric begin with a key concepts / key terms introduction. Fabric emphasizes the idea of an Enterprise level Blockchain, while Cosmos emphasizes the idea of application-specific blockchains.
- Cosmos has an updated / web3 look and feel to the UI.
- Landing page comparison: Cosmos provides a direct and immediate choice between conceptual and Quickstart / Developer Tutorials.
- Introduction comparison: similar themes addressed: history, backgrounder, orientation to product
- Key Concepts: both start with Key Concepts: blockchain, smart contracts, etc. Fabric is more comprehensive from a conceptual standpoint.
- Cosmos documentation assumes the audience knows blockchain basics, whereas Fabric is more newcomer friendly.
- Tutorials comparison: Fabric are built-in, while the Cosmos tutorials takes me to an entirely new page, new UI, new layout. (not user-friendly)
- Cosmos Tutorials means data is duplicated, developer has to start from scratch.
Current Toolkit: ReadtheDocs Syntax, Sphinx, and reStructured Syntax
This section highlights some of the syntax, capabilities and limitations of the ReadtheDocs structure. This is salient because the documentation of various Hyperledger projects relies on the ReadtheDocs platform.
- Hyperledger documentation on ReadtheDocs is populated by files from the various Hyperledger project GitHub pages
- Those GitHub pages are synced with the ReadtheDocs platform and Pull Requests sync up to an index.rst file
- The index.rst file, as the extension might imply, is built upon Sphinx and reStructured syntax. (RST stands for reStructured)
- Sphinx and reStructured have their own syntax, formatting and are designed specifically for formatting documentation
- reStructured is not a full fledged markdown language, but does allow for some customization
- Myriad options for text formatting is available
- images and images with hyperlinks are available
- various themes are available
- backgrounds for code snippets like dark mode are available
- Tables, References / Bibliographic citations and a Table of Contents are available
What is an RST file? Here is an RST Example from Hyperledger Fabric:
Sphinx allows for customization of themes, they can be found here. Should they be standard for all projects?
Proof of Concept for ReadtheDocs:
A POC was performed for ReadtheDocs using the tutorial found here. Was to ensure that certain features that are in the web3 community may be applicable to Hyperledger projects. It was found that features are available but ReadtheDocs relies on third-party plug ins and that deeper / more web3-style layouts would require customization work.
POC Key Takeaways:
A Proof of Concept / Tutorial Page to dive into the customization options and reStructured Syntax for a ReadTheDocs page.
- A GitHub Repo was created for a POC of ReadtheDocs functionality
- Linked up Github with ReadtheDocs so that a Pull Request syncs to the documentation page
- ReStructured Text Syntax was utilized to test image-based button linking
Image: pull requests sync easily to the Sphinx platform.
ReadtheDocs: Next Steps / Insider Features: Custom CSS and JS
MKDocs Material Insider features: Ry Jones has updated the Hyperledger community regarding MK Insider features. This allows for further customization of your Hyperledger Projects documentation page.
We can change, or add a common theme to all pages. Currently some pages use standard themes (Ex: Fabric) while others use custom themes (Ex: Besu).
Apparently, Sphinx can also support custom CSS and JS- thus further customization could be performed. However, the caveat being that this customization would need to be synced up between projects. If different projects used different layouts, functionality it defeats the purpose of standardization.
Create Standards / Best Practices for the Hyperledger Community
What does the community think? Referring back to our guiding principle, we want to have harmonization between maintainers and style guide.
Quote from Community Member: (paraphrased)
I understand that our Hyperledger Project is separate from our company and it may require a complete isolation of content, and the style/markdown guidelines may need to diverge from our Company's Corporate documentation standards in the future. Our team is happy to continue this discussion here and at the next community call.
(quote refactored for generalization)
Questionnaire For Hyperledger Documentation Survey
Given that there may be uniqueness between each page, we decided to have a questionnaire. This questionnaire is meant to promote discussion regarding layout, accessibility, features and use-cases around Hyperledger documentation.
- The survey should give us a good idea of what Hyperledger community members value in documentation
- We hope to gain a general sense of the divergence between uniqueness and standardization
- The results of the survey should guide our final recommendations and badging system
- The survey should be reflective of the collaborative nature of the open-source community as opposed to purely a top-down approach
Conclusions / Next Steps:
Learning Materials Working Group call will analyze and discuss the survey results. Please join us! Our next call will be Monday Aug 8th at 12 noon EDT.