On Thursday 15 December 2005 10:06 am, Jim Freeze wrote:
> Hi Steve
>
> On 12/15/05, Steve Litt <slitt / earthlink.net> wrote:
> > I came across OptionParser. I tried reading the documentation,
> > but I saw no simple proof of concept to get me started. I
> > therefore opted for GetoptLong. At least it's not a total
> > stranger, I've used it in C and Perl.
> >
> > Perhaps I just came across the wrong documentation.
> >
> > I'd like to have the OptionParser documentation contain a proof
> > of concept, and a couple more examples that follow logically,
> > without skipping steps.
>
> Is this the documentation that you are referring to that needs
> improvement:
>
>  
> http://rubyforge.org/docman/view.php/632/233/posted-docs.index.ht
>ml
>
> Please help me out and post some comments on what you like and
> don't like. I am still making improvements in the docs.

Hi Jim,

I'm pretty sure those are the docs I couldn't fathom. IMHO what you 
need is a quickstart -- all code, no theory. Start with the 
simplest possible program that the user can paste into his editor 
and then give him the command line to run, and show the expected 
output.

I think the idea is to get the user to say "hey, I can do this". 
Once he's hooked, he has incentive to dig into the incredibly rich 
array of tools you offer.

Personally, when I write documentation on Troubleshooters.Com, I 
always start with a "Hello World" and then, one feature at a time, 
I move from the known to the unknown (my wife's a teacher :-).

Another thing. I usually show full programs (in blue background) so 
the user can paste them into his editor and run them immediately, 
and then the expected results in yellow background so the user can 
compare his results to the expected results. Once the user sees 
both the code and the results, he can then figure out why it works 
like it does, and he can also experiment with the code to learn 
even more.

For an example of how I write my documentation, see this:

http://www.troubleshooters.com/codecorn/ruby/basictutorial.htm

Please keep in mind that I'm displaying this as an example of my 
documentation methods, not as an example of particularly good Ruby 
documentation. I wrote most of this material with less than a 
week's Ruby experience, and before I signed up with this mailing 
list. In fact, a companion document called "Ruby the Right Way" was 
my reason for my "They say I write Ruby like Perl" post.

If any of you have the book "Samba Unleashed", the chapters with my 
name on them are another good example of my documentation methods.

In summary -- IMHO a quickstart would be the catalyst to greater 
acceptance of OptionParser. Use whole but tiny programs, without 
error checking and the like, to make your points. That way the user 
can cut and paste right onto his box and follow your examples on 
his own. Within 10 minutes the user understands the power of 
OptionParser and is ready to learn more.

Thanks

SteveT

Steve Litt
http://www.troubleshooters.com
slitt / troubleshooters.com