Wiki brainstorming

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(November 2018) The information here was moved from WikiPages to avoid cluttering that page.

Workflow, Roadmap

Organize pages in the wiki

Content and Appearance:

    • Renato: width of the page, now much space is unused (only for monitor 16:10)
    • Renato: white background, text more readable
    • Renato: links to similar commands, similar tools, scripts, examples, discussions, insights, forum, other... On all pages or only on some pages?


I think the things like this are also templates? {{PartDesign Tools}} This template contains headlines, icons, short textual description, long textual description, list elements. May be easier to handle when splitted in pieces (at least: icon list, description list, "full featured": array of someWorkbenchTools[icon|description,{2-4}]...) ?

  • Basic Template that would be useful
Template Note Note


useful? as Message?
alert useful? as VeryImportantMessage?
idea useful?
shortcut as KEY?

Template Appearance Description
Clear ok Template for clearing columns
Click rarely used superimpose an invisible link on an image
DASH rarely used text box type code, colorful background
Disambig not used
Docnav ok
FALSE color or black and gray? FALSE FALSE FALSE False False False False False False False False
Gui Command ok the main anchor on documenting GuiCommands
MenuCommand File->Save Text that is displayed in a GUI command menu
Information not used A standardized table providing complete information about the file, including description of what it shows and how it was made, copyright status and source.
KEY ALT Show a keyboard key
Languages ok obsolete with the new wiki
Macro ok, used the main anchor on documenting macros
Message rarely used for message not very important
VeryImportantMessage ok, used for message very important
Prettytable used for this table could have different colors
PropertyView background green or gray? VIEW Property View Property VIEWProperty
Properties Title spelling. color or black and gray? Base
PropertyTasks color or black and gray? TASK Length Renato: serve but too many disturbing reading
Screenshot link {{{2}}} - see more screenshots
Softredirect Use it instead of the normal redirect, when you are redirecting to a special page (such as Media: or Category:), in which cases the normal redirect is disabled.
TasksTag color or black and gray? TASKS Text
TRUE color or black and gray? TRUE True True True
UnfinishedDocu ok mark not finished documentation.
Version FreeCAD version, small text

  • Other Template
* PartDesignTools
* _______________


  • Reflect on requests for help made ​​in the forum and use the given examples (if aid is required, it often means that the manual is not exhaustive, in the forum there are good examples, but hard to find)
    • Renato: Insert a link on the document page or insert the example or insert nothing?
      • Ralf: insert link(s) always in a field/area which is always there on every page. If there is nothing to link, there should be a text in this area as "There is currently no link to forum examples."
      • Ralf #2 examples: no examples at pages which are describing more than exactly the use of (probably mostly) a tool. If there would be examples (at different pages) which differ in various ways and are not comparable are confusing.
      • Ralf #3 examples: But beside of existing examples: defining a "standard model" (or some of them if needed for fairly different tasks as p.e. Part-Design vs. Arch) for really every example would promise a lot of advantages. The first one: if one like to try an example the related model file is available right there with the next click. Whatever the "standard model" could be - the most important condition it have to be usable for all examples/task from to simplest up to the most complex (FEM,assembly?!)
      • May be such an standard model and his incarnations could be also a kind of a "figurehead" for FC.
      • Ediloren (talk) 18:01, 3 September 2013 (CEST) : looks like a good idea but not too practical; I expect that the burden of adding examples for everything would be very high. I would prefer to resort on tutorials, videos, and forum unless somebody has really the time and commitment to follow this part (me not, sorry :) )

Some useful examples taken from the forum

Documentation structure:

  • Links between pages (tree and hierarchy linear, orderly, full)
    • Renato: If there is an index the docnav does not serves.
  • Page titles descriptive
    • Renato: Translated or not translated? With the new translator seems outdated
  • Structure of the documentation (depending on the type of user and the type of documentation). Group some things? - If possible in any way: group everything to maximal seven (7) entrys (per group)(Ralf).:
    • Reference (needs indicate precise criteria) (Ralf: for me for advanced users/using, #3)
    • How to (Ralf: additional, #4)
    • Tutorial (Ralf: additional, #5)
      • External links
    • Themed (Ralf: 1st thing / start point while using the documentation? - for me #1)
    • examples - in relevant cases - the most basic example for using the tool / workbench /feature (is that possible with complex tools?) ; may be one "standard" example case for the most examples, if possible (so the fcstd file can be supplied and re-used for a lot of uses) for me #2 or to #1
    • linear (all, as now)
    • structured with sub-structures (very clear if there are no more than 5..7 entrys per structure layer)
    • task - specific (features is other than transform than handle mouse etc.)
    • FAQ
    • Books
    • Plugins
    • Macro

Documentation schemes

See Documentation schemes


  • fcstd file
  • pics, images
  • icons (there are almost all)
  • "Show your FreeCAD projects here!" archives

Who are the users:

  • New users FreeCAD:
    • Users without CAD experience -> not the job of the FreeCAD doc to teach them CAD - the job to teach them how to use FreeCAD? Renato: I think that FreeCAD is currently the only free CAD program with a professional approach. Many people exactly look for this to begin.
    • Users with CAD experience (2D/3D/parametric); users with 3D experience - no CAD
    • Users who know how to program (version?)
  • Users who know FreeCAD:
    • Users
    • Advanced users
    • Developers

What the users needs:

  • According to the category of the previous point they need different things (to be determined).
  • Renato: In my opinion the beginners to FreeCAD (or to CAD?) needs:
    • find the information immediately + Ralf: in the expected, consistent way
    • know what are the workbenches, when and how to use them, + Ralf: is this one workbench all I need or do I need more than one?
    • the commands that are available, + Ralf: in the workbench - for the task - all
    • the workflow to use, - Ralf: workflow sounds specific - may be the most basic way to use this - may be especially for tools there could be more than page per tool (as above: basic for beginners, extended use for advanced users)
    • ....


  • Consistent (the reference page is the English page, see the various discussions regarding the rules in the forum)
  • Updated (how?) + Ralf: 1st: Version, 2nd: frozen state of doc page - "this is the actual version of the documentation of ... for FC version xxx"; 3rd linked archiv pages of other versions (and maybe other frozen states), all with corresponding "tags" / marks
    • Use a document type that including at least one complete section of the manual (not just one page at a time). Comparable off line with an previous version. With "Recent changes" is difficult to follow all the changes, when they are frequent.
  • FCSTD files for Documentation (wandererfan wrote: It would be nice to have a repository for the fcstd files +Ralf and it would be very helpful - used to generate screenshots, etc. Then the 2nd author/translator could just open the fcstd with a different locale to generate the new screenshot. This would also for standardization of background colours, font sizes, etc. )
  • Renato. My personal:

- The wiki, is the best way to create documentation FreeCAD? Would not it be better to reserve it for some issues and create a comprehensive manual for each version?
- About updates, this is a crucial point, I've seen that you do not like docboock, and I do not intend to return to this theme, but docboock allows translators to easily work on documents. Allows you to download the entire document and compare it with the previous one. With this way changes are made always and only in the original document. Then the translators periodically (even daily if they want) downloading the document and compares with an earlier version and update it indicating the upgrade version. I've experienced that this procedure is very good. Can I do a similar thing with the wiki? In this way there is no need to continuously monitor Recent Changes and updates are easier to control.

Some notes taken from the forum

yorikvanhavre wrote: Actually we could do a little brainstorming, see things that should be changed on the wiki... I already thought of a couple of things: - a new wiki homepage with a clear view of the contents - better formatting of the 3 principal sections, for user (basically the command pages), for power users (everything about python) and the higher-level stuff (compiling, etc) - more professional aspect of the wiki pages - build a better and more strict model for command pages - find a good system to handle translations

gdo wrote: But maybe a survey to freecad users could help to understand precisely what is the beginners needs.

Ralf wrote: Even for the ones who are trying FreeCAD the first times, it's essential to find a consistent documentation otherwise they weren't motivated to give even some first tries.

And many more ... dispersed and mixed in:

Examples of CAD documentation

Ralf: good: you can see where you are ; bad: a huge lot of entrys in the navigation / summary at left - the opposite of structured; sorry: pieces of the forum at the documentation page: what is the documentation page good for than? (but the link to the forum / forum search - ok.)
Ralf: thumbs up. clear, well structured. sometimes long but I don't know how to avoid that at some themes. Maybe the tree structure layers could be separated in two directions at the page for more place for the content. They have "last updates" I prefer "this version of the documentation is xxx and depend the program version xxy"

Reported by wandererfan
guidelines for wiki authors:
Manual TOC:

Reported by Ralf:

For the Italian translation also:

Next actions

  1. gather ideas
  2. build Table of Contents
  3. build good models (in the template created by Wandererfan)
  4. edit the master page in English (updated until a new FreeCAD version is released then freeze the document in pdf or doc or other)
  5. translate (updated until a new FreeCAD version is released then freeze)
  6. continue to develop the documentation for the new version of FreeCAD (repeats 4)
  7. continue to develop the translation for the new version of FreeCAD (repeats 5)