How to Contribute to Joomla! Documentation

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If you are reading this page, the Docs Team hopes you will take the next steps to maintaining, improving and contributing to the Joomla! Project's Documentation. Our documentation is written by users, developers, and code contributors for the benefit of the same. There are many Open Source Projects using Mediawiki software succesfully for their project's documentation. The Mediawiki software allows for open collaboration, version control of pages, tracking changes similar to Git and a large base of extensions to extend the user interface. A wiki is hard to break with page history. Make a mistake and just undo or revert the page back to the previous version.

What you need

  • To edit the Joomla! Documentation Wiki, you will need a user account. If you don't already have one, you may register on here. All a willing contributor needs is a valid email address to register. After confirming your email address you will have immediate permission to edit any page except for a few that are protected because they are high profile spam targets or high web traffic.
  • Important! - You should review the Wiki policy before you start.
  • If you'd like something to be edited, but you're not sure what to write exactly, use talk pages to add comments to pages.

Help, I don't know Wiki Markup!

If you are new to the use of Wikis and the simple markup to create pages, then you can use the following for help.

  • New WikiEditor contains buttons and quick links to make building pages easier. Click the word 'Advanced' for a drop down of more buttons and quick formatting links.
  • Use the JDOC's Wiki Cheatsheet to learn the basic syntax commands. There is also a drop down of the common markup in the editor. Just click the word 'Help' once and it will appear.
  • Still afraid? Try these tools to help you create great wiki pages.
  • Microsoft Word Add-on for Wiki Markup, save Word Docs in Wiki Markup.
  • versions 2.4 and later have a MediaWiki export filter built in. Just open a Writer document and click File - Export. Then, change File format to MediaWiki.
  • Here is a list of tools available to convert other formats to wiki markup, e.g. HTML, Excel, CSV. Some of them are online converters, cut and paste HTML for an output in wiki markup.

Where do I start?

Jump right in

Once you have a wiki account, you are free to work on any aspect of the documentation that takes your fancy. Don't worry, sometimes even the most seasoned wiki editors can get lost, distracted or confused about what to do next. Even the simplest contributions such as spelling corrections and grammar fixes are a tremendous help!

Specific tasks

Here are just a few suggestions below that really need some love and attention.

  • Check the 'Cookie jar' - The Docs Team loves an empty 'cookie jar' so please grab a cookie and make it disappear.
  • Have some fun and browse for articles which are redundant, out of version(i.e. 1.0 and 1.5), or need to be split up because of version specific information. Then feel free to make use of the {{delete}}, {{merge}} or {{JSplit}} templates on the articles. Click the previous template links to see how to use and apply them to articles you think need these marker templates. Add them to the very top of a page and the page is marked.
  • Another area of similar to the 'Cookie jar' is our Needs pages. They are called 'Needs pages' because they are in need of various tasks to complete them. Some of these needs are simple tasks such as reviewing content, adding an image, more content or improvements. Pick a few, give them a little love. This is a tremendous help to Joomla! users who rely on and read the docs.
  • Categorisation is always a something easy to do, necessary and in great demand on our wiki! Pages without categories are abundant, pick some titles you know and skip the ones you might not know right off. Categories are important because they help define the structure of the wiki and make it easier to find articles.
  • The docs team is also working on Beginner Tutorials. Our goal is to make them easy to understand and navigate, something a Beginner can follow easily and learn basic concepts. Think back to when you were new to Joomla! and add a topic about something you struggled with as a beginner.
  • Help pages, yes we know they are a lot of work, but necessary for beginners and even those with intermediate knowledge of Joomla! The Joomla! 2.5 Help Screens are complete but Joomla! 3.x are still being worked on! The contributions you give to them will be appreciated by many users worldwide. You can find the matrix of 3.x Help Screens here. Some just need to be reviewed and marked complete in status, others need to be started, completed, have images uploaded(670px max width), etc.
  • Join the Developer Tutorials Project and share your knowledge. Sign your name using 4 tildes ( ~~~~ ) on the Developer Tutorials Project page and list what you might be able to do. Feel free to add some tutorial topics to the suggested topics list.

Things to Remember

Here a a few things to remember as a Joomla! Docs contributor.

  • Write articles with a sense they will translated to another language. Using slang or local dialect may not translate to another language or its inferences be understood.
  • Don't be afraid to download and read the general Editorial Style Guide (PDF) that applies to all Joomla! Documentation. There are helpful hints on how to write for Joomla! Documentation.
  • Words to watch when writing, read the full guideline … or for instant feedback use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefow browsers. They both have built-in spell checking which underlines a misspelled word.
  • Don't forget to add the {{inuse}} template to an article you are going to be working on for a long period of time, more than a minute. It helps to prevent editing conflicts.