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Latest Cumulus MX release 3.10.0 (build 3116) - 26 February 2021 (please see announcement regarding releases since 3.5.0)
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Volunteers Please - Cumulus MX Documentation

Please use this Forum to make suggestions for the future updates additions and general maintenance of the Wiki. Since I am sure most of these will be valid suggestions, so as they are completed in the Wiki the Topic will be deleted from this Forum, and this will act as reminder to anyone updating the Wiki of the jobs still to be done.
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mcrossley
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Volunteers Please - Cumulus MX Documentation

Post by mcrossley »

I am acutely aware that Cumulus MX is badly lacking in the documentation area. I'm busy patching bugs and adding C1 catch-up features, so do we have a small group of people who are willing to put some time into creating this?

I see two areas...
  • A manual type document, with sections on say getting started, different platforms, and the various station configs. Then further sections explaining basic setup.
  • Maybe some short videos showing the "how-to's"
Now a lot of this information is already available spread across forum posts and the Wiki. The obvious solution for me would be a new section in the Wiki, that pulls all the information together, gets rid of old redundant stuff, and presents it in logical manner.

Its a big task, but that's why I cannot do it by myself.

Over to you guys and gals.

ExperiMentor
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Re: Volunteers Please - Cumulus MX Documentation

Post by ExperiMentor »

I'd be happy to give some help, but also cannot do it alone.
I'd need someone else to lead the project and advise how to get started.

Completely agree that the best use of Mark's time is the actual program development (and answering the difficzult questions the rest of us cannot ...)

Ian

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Re: Volunteers Please - Cumulus MX Documentation

Post by prodata »

This is a great idea, albeit one that I don't have the expertise to contribute to myself.

But could I make a plea not to overlook the simple, obvious stuff in any webpage/documentation/video. There are many weather station users out there (not always the most expert of computer users) who are not yet familiar with CMX and might really benefit from a basic page or short video that just explains what CMX is and does; what its main features are; and is illustrated with screenshots. This doesn't need to be minutely detailed - just a summary of the main basics.

Potential users would then find it a lot easier to decide whether to explore CMX further and follow up on any more detailed instructions that may be provided separately. As far as I'm aware, there's no resource out there at present that provides a simple, accessible summary of CMX and its features. The lack of such a summary is very possibly limiting the number of users who reach the point of checking out CMX.
John Dann
Prodata Weather Systems
Littleport, East Cambs, UK
http://www.weatherstations.co.uk

sfws
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Re: Volunteers Please - Cumulus MX Documentation

Post by sfws »

A renewed call for contributors

The Cumulus Wiki has a long history of contributors starting on a big plan of creating new articles, and updating existing pages. The problem each contributor meets is that maintaining the Wiki is a massive task, especially when you have a developer continually moving the target.

D A Jamieson has played a huge role in the Wiki, as explained at https://cumuluswiki.org/a/CumulusWiki:About.

In my own case, I took a few approaches (initially for Cumulus 1):
* I finished off edits that a previous contributor (mostly D A Jamieson) had started, but not finished, reflecting the Cumulus versions up to that which was the latest at the time of my edit
* I continued what various contributors (including Derek Jamieson and Mark Crossley) had started and not finished, taking information in the support forum and copying it into the Wiki so it was easier to find.
* I then tried to create new articles, and edit existing pages, when new versions (this was when several builds shared same version number) were released. As this was too time consuming given that Mark has released 58 upgrades to MX, I abandoned that 6 months ago, (i.e. when I stopped updating to new builds on my Raspberry Pi)

When the MX Beta was first released generally, Derek Jamieson (daj) made a start on trying to split the Wiki by identifying which articles were specific to Cumulus 1 by adding a category of Cumulus 1, but he never finished that task. As daj was an administrator, and I don't have those rights, I can't ensure that category is only applied where it should be. Nor can I edit https://cumuluswiki.org/a/Main_Page so it makes it clear that there are separate sections for material only for MX, for material only for C1, and for common material. daj started creating new articles for MX specific issues, and Mark Crossley added further MX articles (using information from forum posts by Steve Loft) when Steve Loft ceased work on the the MX beta.
*I attempted to finish off that MX work started by other contributors, but as I was using Cumulus 1 (C1) at the time, it was difficult.
*When Mark took MX out of beta, I attempted to move a lot of material that was on beta pages onto the main pages (in the same way as previous contributors had done when each new Cumulus 1 version moved from a beta build to the stable build).
*Subsequently, when I tried out MX myself, and discovered how Cumulus 1 and MX diverged, I was able to revise articles making the flavour applicability clearer. Again, as mentioned earlier, I struggled because several pages were locked against editing by me, including some I have previously contributed to!
* I added some new articles just for MX, based on my experience as I tested out MX and later abandoned C1, but again the restrictions on what I can edit have made it extremely difficult to make a coherent MX experience for Wiki readers.
* More recently, all I do is correct spelling mistakes (and I introduced a lot of those), or restructure articles making it easier for someone else to update them, in some cases I have inserted messages about the article being obsolete with suggestions for future contributors.

Mark and other contributors have done some updates, but in a piecemeal fashion, and all too often inserting information relating only to latest MX versions, without making it clear that it does not apply to someone running an old MX version. In other cases, the information relating to Cumulus 1 has been overwritten by MX specific text. Please remain aware that the Wiki is supposed to be documentation that helps all Cumulus users regardless of which flavour, and within that which build/version they are using. Although I have tried to restore Cumulus 1 information and restructure pages so it is clearer what applies to which flavour, I have not updated all older pages that are Cumulus 1 specific to make it clear they do not apply to MX, and I can't edit the index page or all category pages to make it easier to navigate to C1 or MX specific pages.
My most recent task of this type is recorded in viewtopic.php?f=40&t=18869&p=150088#p150088 as I corrected 3 articles to resolve issues.


Please can someone volunteer for the big job of working through release announcements and updating articles. In particular, https://cumuluswiki.org/a/Webtags and https://cumuluswiki.org/a/Cumulus.ini have not been fully kept up to date by the developer, he is busy resolving bugs in both Steve's beta MX, and any introduced in Mark's releases!

Remember, the Wiki was originally developed when only the original Cumulus existed. Because of the piecemeal updates for MX, and because those were started when MX was still in beta, the Wiki next tried to cater for those moving from Cumulus 1 to MX, because this is what Steve Loft was doing in the support forum. Although there are still a huge number of people using Cumulus 1, I believe it changed from a majority to a minority when during 2020 Mark introduced new functionality that got a lot of people swapping from C1 to MX. There are many people who have not yet made the transition, so it is right that the Wiki supports this transition. There are pages, such as https://cumuluswiki.org/a/About_Cumulus and https://cumuluswiki.org/a/Moving_from_C ... s_1_and_MX that are designed to help people understand what particular flavours of Cumulus do.

The Wiki is currently not friendly for newcomers who only have experience of MX. What is missing is a total redesign of the Wiki, especially the main page, so that it can also act as an entry point for people with no experience of MX, who are considering whether to use the Cumulus software or other software and need a comparison between them. That is a huge task, but there are people out there who have knowledge of rival weather software, who should be able to document the pros and cons of MX, and https://www.wxforum.net/index.php?board=118.0 might give some hints.

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Re: Volunteers Please - Cumulus MX Documentation

Post by saratogaWX »

Dear sfws,

I've heard your plea above. Since you are active, involved and knowledgeable, I've added you to the Administrators group on the Wiki. You now have the power to change/reorganize as needed. Thanks for your continuing efforts to make the Cumulus Wiki a useful knowledge base.

Best regards,
Ken (hoster, admin for cumuluswiki.org)

sfws
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Re: Volunteers Please - Cumulus MX Documentation

Post by sfws »

saratogaWX wrote:
Fri 22 Jan 2021 10:43 pm
Dear sfws,

I've heard your plea above. Since you are active, involved and knowledgeable, I've added you to the Administrators group on the Wiki. You now have the power to change/reorganize as needed. Thanks for your continuing efforts to make the Cumulus Wiki a useful knowledge base.

Best regards,
Ken (hoster, admin for cumuluswiki.org)
Thank you for all those points.
I have reorganised the "main page", and although I have not been able to get column widths looking sensible, I hope people will agree it is a big improvement.

There was one of my points not aimed at you, I am really trying to persuade others with fewer other demands on their time to take up the chore of keeping the Cumulus Wiki up to date (both catching up with the consequences of Mark's releases in last 6 months, and what he may release in future.

Also somebody else, with video making experience, should take up the much needed challenges suggested by prodata (John Dann).

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Re: Volunteers Please - Cumulus MX Documentation

Post by sfws »

Wow

Having admin rights in the Wiki greatly speeds up my productivity, maybe 25 times over.

I am sure everyone appreciates the work David A. Jamieson (DAJ) put into creating the Wiki, and the work that both he and Steve Loft put into adding lots of text. I certainly believe creating a Wiki (even just to cover the original Cumulus software) was a lot of effort. DAJ subsequently started extending for Cumulus 2, and later on he reappeared to start transforming it for MX. Without meaning to be unkind to DAJ who fitted, around his proper work, various periods of being active in the Wiki, it does seem that each of those periods did end with proposals left mostly unfinished when he "vanished" again. My first contributions to the Wiki were largely during times when DAJ "vanished". I thought someone should complete pages he had started to edit. I also created many of the new pages he mentioned in a "Pages to be written" article (that is now transformed into the "How_you_can_contribute" article at https://cumuluswiki.org/a/How_you_can_contribute). Consequently, I am very grateful to David for his pointers on what was needed, and I hope he was not upset at how I implemented his ideas.

I don't have full understanding of all aspects of how DAJ set up the Wiki. I do know some of the pages I have created have picked up a template that puts them automatically into a "Cumulus 1 category", In the last week, I have assigned pages both to the "Cumulus 1 category" and/or "Cumulus MS category" which may help people get to pages that are not mentioned in my revision of the "main page" links, although it is possible some categorisation is wrong.

David Jamieson, Mark Crossley, and I have all copied into the Wiki, useful information from posts in the forum, as in the Wiki it can be generally be found more easily (especially where the posted information was not directly related to the forum topic title). I have been updating the Wiki since November 2012, and in those previous 8 years I found making changes always took longer than I expected, and often left me wondering whether I was actually improving the Wiki, as I turned some very small pages into very long ones by wherever possible keeping to the skeleton structure created by David Jamieson.

Any updating I did in 2018-2020 was particularly slow as its new ownership, adding protection against bots, forced me to learn American English terms like "sidewalk" in order to solve the CAPTCHA image query that appeared whenever I tried to put a Cumulus support forum link into the Wiki. Consequently, I was tempted to copy from forum and paste large quantities of text into Wiki, making some pages so large that, even with my introduction of lots of sub-headings, people stopped reading them.

During this last week, I have achieved a large transformation in a few odd moments[/b] grabbed before starting work in my garden, largely because I don't get those CAPTCHA questions now to delay saving of new text. Some of this editing has even been done on my tiny mobile phone, so I have not even had to struggle with my Windows PC. [Apart from my PC being prone to freeze, or to decide it needs to pester me to let it do a Windows update, it also constantly require settings to be reset].
I have created several new pages, moving content into them (revised where necessary) from those long pages, and used the global replace my admin status gives me to update internal Wiki links to point to those new pages. There still may be scope to split further pages, but that may be for other contributors to do.

I have not attempted to read all the forum release announcements to bring the Wiki up to date for any work Mark has done in last 7 months, I leave that for others who keep their MX software up to date. Nor have I yet revisited all the pages created when only the original Cumulus software existed. I have some ideas for some of these, but not the odd moments needed.

In creating a new design, with information in many cases now on different pages to where it was before, people who have used the Wiki before might struggle to find information they saw before (possibly some only exists in older updates to pages), and indeed many Wiki references in the support forum may no longer go to the specific entries they once pointed at (when I have time I might revisit some of my old forum posts and revise any Wiki links).
I have (I believe) greatly improved the experience for those who seek MX documentation in the Wiki. There are still many places where other contributors can fill in sections I have created just as headings, but I hope you agree the new skeleton for the Wiki structure means it is easier for new contributions to be added. I certainly believe many of my efforts in past years would have been far easier with the new skeleton I have now created.

I do encourage all readers to have a look at the Wiki now. Whether you have visited before and been put off, or never looked, you should find the Wiki a more friendly place, but I hope you want to help to make the Wiki even better[/i] (perhaps you believe I have done it wrong), as Ken True says at the foot of the Wiki main page It is your Wiki ... and you are invited to contribute.

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