English is a very flexible language and there is usually more than one way to write anything. However, good writing benefits from being strongly consistent and for readers to be able to easily skim and absorb the content without having to think about it.
In general this is no "right answer" on how to write, however, with a project involving multiple contributors it makes sense to define some "house style" guidelines and request that as far as possible that authors consider these when authoring pages
These are the broad guidelines used for writing documentation pages for PmWiki.
[[Wiki Word]]whenever a link is needed.
[[Cookbook:Page Name]]to link to pages that aren't part of the distribution (otherwise the links will not work on sites other than pmwiki.org).
[[!Documentation To Do]]or
[[!Update me]]. Place the category marker near the section needing work.
-->[@to indent code examples.
(:keywords:)markup to provide keywords to assist with searches.
!!!to divide your page into manageable "chunks".
Many of the quick points above need no further explanation, but the items below provide more details and "how to" information.
Keep the markup in the documentation simple. The PmWiki documentation is a self-demonstration of what can be done with wiki markup, and like any collaborative document it needs to be accessible to many authors. It's important for the markup to be readable - not just the rendered output.
Indicated audiences are not intended to be exclusive or constraining; they just provide a convenient way for a user to decide what is relevant to them. And, of course, a convenient way for authors to indicate who their docs are intended for. For a full description see audiences.
There is no direct relation between the audience and the level - audience classifies the individuals accessing the wiki, while level indicates the relative difficulty of the material.
Suggested markup (near or at the top of the page):
(:Audience: readers, authors (basic):)
Suggested markup (in the page):
%audience% readers, authors (intermediate)
readers, authors (intermediate)
Use this markup:
(:keywords word, ...:)
Example for this page:
(:keywords Documentation Guidelines, Documentation, Howto Document:)
Add keywords before any visible content on the page.
Not every page that is in the PmWiki group here or on pmwiki.org ends up in the distribution. Beware of creating links to non-distributed pages.
[[Cookbook:Page Name]]markup for links to pages that may not be included in the PmWiki distribution.
Cookbook:Page Nameand not
[[Wiki Word]]markup.Not every wiki has WikiWords enabled, so when writing documentation if a WikiWord is intended to link to another page then enclose it in double brackets as
[[Wiki Word]]. Not every occurrence of a WikiWord needs to be a link -- generally just the first is sufficient.
A long page of unbroken text can discourage readers. Use headings to break your page into sensible chunks. Headings allow readers to quickly find the information they are seeking.
In "newspaper-style" writing, you tell the whole story right at the start and then elaborate on the details later. This allows readers to get a quick appreciation of the subject at hand - and for many, that will be enough. Anyone looking for more discussion or examples reads further to find them. In newspapers, the whole story is usually told in the first paragraph. Newspapers use short sentences. The sentences are "punchy".
PmWiki makes it very easy to "sign" your contributions by inserting ~~~ in the edit window. Signing is appropriate when you are posing questions or expressing a personal opinion. Most authors are very reluctant to edit signed material. However, documentation generally is not a personal opinion, and editing should be encouraged. The curious can use the history view to see who said what.
''filename.ext'' or ''local/config.php''
filename.ext or local/config.php
PmWiki has a very flexible approach to creating links and this can even be altered through certain configuration settings. However, there is a general style philosophy that we use throughout the documentation which is as follows:
The following are defined to be single words and should be written consistently in camel case as follows:
Capitalisation is less well defined and is left up to the author's judgement. However, the following guidance is offered:
For more information, see [[Page directives]].
PmWiki supports a large number of [[page directives]].
The judicious use of whitespace assists considerably in the authoring and maintenance of pages. At a minimum the following is suggested
!!!!!! Heading with preceding blank line * bullet list with leading space # numbered list with leading space -> indent with leading space
Heading with preceding blank line
indent with leading space
Some of the discussions behind these guidelines are preserved on the PmWiki:DocumentationGuidelines-Talk page. For convenience all further comments to this page could be made here PmWiki:DocumentationGuidelines-Talk