Book Sprint

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the link to the manual has changed:

currrent state of the manual


book sprint - let's finish the manual!

meeting notes from chat on September, 10:

rules of thumb for what we will not document:

 1) Doesn't work/buggy

 2) not in Etoys Friendly

 3) We can' figure out what it does

 And keep a list of items 1 and 3 in AppendixKnownErrors

Then mark options: BUG, MARK FOR REMOVAL

At the end we can move into tracker

[09.09.10 19:01:52] stevesargon: I really like the Alphabetical ordering of Objects

[09.09.10 19:02:33] stevesargon: Do we have a section on Scripting/Writing Scripts --> it's in Getting Started

[09.09.10 19:03:02] stevesargon: I am just thinking out loud, about what things we need to document that are not Objects

[09.09.10 19:03:42] Rita Freudenberg:

[09.09.10 19:05:08] stevesargon: I will TRY to put on my minimalist hat, its hard for an extrovert ;)

[09.09.10 19:06:34] stevesargon: Instead of the next book, perhaps we should have the next set of 1 minute videos

[09.09.10 19:11:17] Cherry Withers: I think we need stories from people using it

[09.09.10 19:11:23] stevesargon: Agreed

[09.09.10 19:12:19] stevesargon: And we need a whole bunch of SPECIFIC examples

[09.09.10 19:12:34] Cherry Withers: yes

[09.09.10 19:14:02] stevesargon: The Wiki from Confluence could be one place to put them

[09.09.10 19:15:17] Cherry Withers: do we have limitations on the bandwidth and memory?

[09.09.10 19:15:21] Cherry Withers: on Tim's server?

[09.09.10 19:15:28] stevesargon: Probably an issue

[09.09.10 19:17:26] stevesargon: The other things is to find out where teachers are going and go there, rather than trying to bring people to us

[09.09.10 19:17:34] stevesargon: Of course this requires someone to do it

[09.09.10 19:20:00] stevesargon: Most people won't take the time to do the hard learning (at least at first)

[09.09.10 19:20:26] Cherry Withers: can we possibly do an online university? We each teach a "course"


Here is the log from the chat September, 9 in the IRC (the topic starts at 19:09):


The table of contents (bold titles are started or done): 

1. Introduction
1.1 What is Etoys - started
1.2 Features & Benefits
1.3 Etoys in the Classroom - started

2. Getting started (to be done)
2.1 Installing (OSes, etc)
2.2 Starting, Saving, Quitting Altogether
2.3 How to make a script
2.4 Mouse Buttons, how to select multiple objects etc.
2.5 Showcase

3.User Interface
3.1 Overview (toolbar, world, flaps, balloon help)
3.2 Projects (what they are, how to use them)
3.3 Halo - started
3.4 Toolbar - started
3.5 Sketching (the paint toolbox and canvas) - replace images, review
3.6 Viewer (includes variables & scripts) - started
3.7 Script Editor (expressions) - started
3.8 Keyboard shortcuts

4.Common Tiles - started, list with balloon help
4.1 basic
4.2 color
4.3 geometry
4.4 more geometry
4.5 pen use
4.6 tests
4.7 motion
4.8 fill&border
4.9 scripting
4.10 sound
4.11 observation
4.12 drag&drop
4.13 miscellaneous

5. Objects (needs images)
5.1 World
5.2 Supplies Bin
5.3. Object Catalog - Basic
5.3.1 Curve
5.3.2 Ellipse
5.3.3 Joystick
5.3.4 Particles
5.3.5 Playfield
5.3.6 Polygon
5.3.7 Rectangle
5.3.8 Round Rectangle
5.3.9 Scrolling Text
5.3.10 Slider
5.3.11 Text
5.3.12 Trash
5.4  Object Catalog - Connectors
5.5. Object Catalog - Games
5.6  Object Catalog - Graphics
5.7  Object Catalog - Just for fun
5.8  Object Catalog - Multimedia
5.9  Object Catalog - Scripting

The appendix is optional.

What is a Morph?
What do you get when putting Etoys-friendly off?
MIME-Types related to Etoys
What do you when you accidentally delete the toolbar?
Items In need of a Documentor (Not for final publication)
Items Someone is Documenting (Not for final Publication)

Place to find the pictures in case you need one which is not uploaded yet:

To start writing: read the writing conventions on FLOSS Manuals, then pick a chapter which is not edited by someone else.

The Etoys community will be creating the Complete Etoys Reference Manual, a document everybody is waiting for. It will serve as

  • the manual you can look up every part of Etoys,
  • the documentation of what Etoys consists of and
  • the starting point for other, more elaborate materials.

The manual will be available online (html and pdf format), and for print-on-demand. It will be licensed under MIT, so that we can also ship it within Etoys.

We will work on it for a whole week from September, 6 until September, 10. At this point, we are not planning a face-to-face meeting somewhere, so the whole event will take place virtually over the web. We will meet on an irc channel, and we will have regular skype sessions every day to provide the opportunity for a talk.

Here is the link to FLOSS manuals, where our work will be hosted:

Please register to be able to edit the manual.


To create images of objects from within Etoys:

  • turn off Etoys-friendly option in your Etoys (open World menu, help, preferences)
  • right-click object to get halo
  • from Menu (above) click export ... png
  • change name if appropriate
  • you will find the image in your etoys folder

To make screenshots using system tools (e.g. Cmd-Shift-4 on a Mac)

  • turn off Etoys screen scaling! Otherwise the screenshot will be blurry
  • the scaling option is in the World's halo menu ("display mode")

What do we want to do

We start with a basic structure for

  • Introduction (what Etoys is about)
  • Getting Started (short technical description how to install and start it on different OS)
  • User Interface (describing all parts of the user interface)
  • Objects (describing all the ressources you can find in supplies etc.)
  • Tiles (list of all tiles with description)

During this process we can actually examine if we really need all the objects we currently have in the Etoys image. Since this documentation will be a list of all things our users can expect to be working fine in Etoys, we should leave out objects we will not support in terms of maintaining. That doesn't mean we will remove it from Etoys, but we will not include it in the documentation.

Schedule and participants

My suggestion is to start the book sprint on December 7 at 1 pm EST, 10 am PDT, 4 pm Brazil, 7 pm CET. The main reason is that I'm available at that time I also prepare a schedule for the days.

List of participants:

  • Rita Freudenberg
  • Kim Rose (volunteers to be external editor/reviewer)
  • Alan Kay (volunteers to be an external editor/reviewer)
  • Karl Ramberg (volunteers to be a reviewer)
  • Scott Wallace
  • Bert Freudenberg
  • Randy Caton, author
  • Christine Murakami, author
  • Tim Falconer, author

For the sprint, we need to fill out different roles. When you put your name on the list as a participant, please let us know which role you think will fit you best.

  • sprint facilitator - Rita, Cherry
  • local host - normally the local person, but since we are online, sprint facilitators can take on this role, too
  • FLOSS Manuals Expert - thankfully, Anne Gentle from FLOSS Manuals offered to be available at certain times to help us
  • manual maintainer - we need someone who agrees to maintain the documentation after the sprint
  • participants - these are the writers
  • external editors / reviewers - it would be very helpful to have contributors, who read, edit and provide feedback during the sprint
  • designers / illustrators - every book needs a cover and someone should have a look on the page layout

This was a suggestion from when we started to write the manual. I don't think we should structure the manual to fit one full screen Etoys book. This would not work for every object, tile etc. I keep it here for historical reasons. We already have the quick guides from Kathleen Harness within Etoys. I recommend to reference the quick guides in the manual.

PART PIECES (should fit in one full screen Etoys book page, except tip)

heading 2 - part title
quick summary / balloon help (will be replaced with formal description)
formal description (third-object mode)

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  1. Dec 07, 2009

    Rita Freudenberg says:

    That's my desk when I write text for the book sprint. Rita

    That's my desk when I write text for the book sprint.

  2. Dec 08, 2009

    teefal says:

    Here's one of the places I go to write, especially with the new snow.

    Here's one of the places I go to write, especially with the new snow.

  3. Dec 11, 2009

    Randall Caton says:

    This is where I work. It was 25 centigrade degrees below zero last night. T...

    This is where I work. It was 25 centigrade degrees below zero last night.

    Two wolves meet along the road where I go to get the mail.