[PD] PDDP (was: Finding "$0" and dealing with it in messages)

Mathieu Bouchard matju at artengine.ca
Sun Dec 6 19:40:41 CET 2009

On Sun, 6 Dec 2009, Frank Barknecht wrote:

> I was involved in early PDDP discussions (around 2005) as well, so PDDP 
> isn't new to me. I dropped out of PDDP for various reasons after a 
> while. Besides the endless discussion about template layout etc. another 
> reason for my retreat was, that the help system started to require 
> certain externals (pddp_link).

I was never really involved in PDDP discussions because it is definitely 
not right that documentation writers would have to mess endlessly with 
[cnv] sizes and pixel-precise positioning all of the time. Standards that 
require more work aren't as good as standards that require less work. 
Following the PDDP standard requires more work than the traditional way of 
making help files. Following the GFDP requires less work than the PDDP, 
but that's not all, it also requires less work than making help patches 
the traditional way! Especially for people who aren't quite happy with 
approximate layouts.

> I can accept that, but obviously I had to stop contributing at that 
> point. Some other early participants also dropped out, some for similar 
> reasons IIRC.

How many of those PDDP contributors would have dropped out at the point 
that they would have had to use the template that they designed? Obviously 
it's fun getting together on the chatline and talk about each person's 
favourite colours and each person's favourite help-patch width, but living 
with the consequences of those decisions is something different. That's 
why in the end not much was done after the decisions were made. (If 
there's any hidden stash of PDDP docs that *do* follow the PDDP standard, 
I'd like to know.)

> While I'm surely guilty of some anti-Pd-extended puritanism, my retreat from
> PDDP didn't have anything to do with it. It has a different story.

Regardless of stated theoretical differences, there's not much that 
separates anti-extended, pro-portability-across-distribs, and pro-vanilla. 
Why would the distinction matter?

> I believe, a general purpose help file template should not require 
> objects not available in all major Pd distributions.

This is a contorted way to say that you only want vanilla.

In any case, GFDP uses a lot of abstractions, which use a lot of 
externals, and those externals are required for automatic-layout. (GFDP 
doesn't use [pddp-link] or any equivalent of it so far). If you 
acknowledged automatic-layout to be an essential feature, then you'd 
figure out a way to incorporate it that clashes as little as possible with 
your beliefs. Whereas if you start from your existing beliefs, then you 
don't even have to ask yourself whether automatic-layout is a good idea.

In October, I rewrote the GridFlow manual. That's 165 help files as of now 
(actually it should be about 200 help files to be complete). It was 
enjoyable. GFDP made it fun to write docs, and that's how I got myself to 
do it the best I could. I wouldn't have had the same level of fun have 
enjoyed it if I hadn't had the GFDP framework. If I had had to "use" the 
PDDP template (that is, reimplement it by hand in every !@#$ help file) it 
would have taken forever, and I wouldn't have gone back nearly as often to 
add additional notes and rephrase what I had written, thinking «I will 
have to readjust the [cnv]s one more time if I change ANY text in here.»

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| Mathieu Bouchard, Montréal, Québec. téléphone: +1.514.383.3801

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