LibreOffice project

This page contains the details of a technical writing project accepted for Season of Docs.

Project summary

Open source organization:
LibreOffice
Technical writer:
quaffeine
Project name:
LibreOffice Online Guide: a guide similar to those used for other LO applications, to include not only usage but also installation and administration.
Project length:
Standard length (3 months)

Project description

If selected, I'd plan to spend eight to ten hours per week to both write new content as well as modify and re-purpose existing Guide content to create the LibreOffice Online (LOOL) Guide. At the rate I normally write and dedicating between eight and ten hours per week, I'd expect to produce a Guide approximately 200 pages or more in length.

I’ve been using these applications since they’ve been StarOffice, and I’m well versed in using advanced features of the desktop versions including:

  • Styles throughout the applications
  • Master Documents, cross-references, figures, and desktop publishing concepts in Writer
  • Charts, Graphs, and data analysis tools in Calc
  • Interactive presentation features such as transitions and animations in Impress

I've used these desktop versions extensively both at work as well as in my own free time.

I'd be targeting the mid-technical user with this guide, as these are most likely the individuals who have the skill, patience, and most importantly interest in getting something like LOOL up and running. In terms of being a reference it would of course have straight-forward instructional content (e.g. how to bold a text selection), but understanding of some technical concepts would need to be assumed (i.e. that a web server is responsible for serving the application up to a browser).

Planning-wise, at the outset I'd approach the project along the lines of the following schedule detailed below. Note: the order in which I'd be writing the chapters doesn't necessarily imply their location in the final Guide.

Week 1: Begin Exploring Install Instructions, Test Various Installation methods, Explore Application

The goal of this week will be to have a working installation of LOOL. In my experience, discovering all the many little ""gotcha!"" moments of documenting these types of applications requires a time investment. I'd look to work through those this week to the point where I could easily install the application using any available method without getting hung up with these obstacles.

Week 2: Perform Reference Installs, Document Installation Methods

This week would be spent assembling a rough list of install instructions (not in fully written format, but rather ""by-the-numbers""), and a number of notes to be included in later chapters.

Week 3: Write Preface Chapter(s) - Foreword, Introduction, About this Guide, etc.

The goal of this week will be to have one or more complete, polished chapters containing all the relevant information a reader needs before undertaking the actual install.

Week 4: Write Installation Chapter(s), Part 1

The goal of this week is complete, polished installation instructions for some of the available methods, in standard LibreOffice Guide chapter format, but in a form where they could easily be re-purposed e.g. for the wiki.

Week 5: Write Installation Chapter(s), Part 2

The goal of this week is complete, polished installation instructions for the remaining methods, in standard LibreOffice Guide chapter format, but in a form where they could easily be re-purposed e.g. for the wiki.

Week 6: Write Post-Install Configuration Chapter

This week's goal is complete, polished chapters on post-install configuration, such as setting up preferences for the application (e.g. time zone), setting up users, and other preparations an admin would make before putting the system into production.

Week 7: Write Navigation, Interface, and File Management Chapter(s)

The goal of this week will be complete, polished chapters that, once read, will make the reader familiar and comfortable working in the UI.

Week 8: Write Writer (Word Processing) Chapter(s)

This week should see complete, polished chapter(s) allowing a user to create nicely-styled documents directly in the app.

Week 9: Write Calc (Spreadsheet) Chapter(s)

Complete, polished chapter(s) allowing a user to create functional spreadsheets including the selection of supported formulas and charts/graphs is the goal of this week.

Week 10: Write Impress (Presentation) Chapter(s)

The goal of this week will be complete, polished chapter(s) allowing a user to create an interactive presentation with the ability to output it for offline consumption as well as live presenting.

Week 11: Write Integration Chapter(s)

Week 11's goal is complete, polished chapter(s) the provide the user with a complete picture of available integration options. The specific guidance for integrating the apps would likely be in the form of links to relevant resources, such as wiki pages at the Document Foundation and/or the integrated projects.

Week 12: Assemble Miscellaneous Items (Appendices, Indices, Tables of Figures, etc.), 1st Pass Edit/Proofread

At the end of this week there should be a complete Guide with near-final content and intact/working elements such as cross-references.

Week 13: 2nd Pass Edit/Proofread, Check Typeset/Layout, Submit

This final week will see submission of a complete and final Guide, edited for both content and presentation.