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From "Jeff Smith" <>
Subject Re: [OT] Learning Curve Management or Confusions of a Newbie
Date Fri, 07 Mar 2003 16:40:49 GMT
I understand the problem of volume. I'm not suggesting that we try to index
the entire internet for all apache-related information.

I'm suggesting that we explore a mechanism that ensures that everything
hosted directly in the apache infrastructure be tagged at creation/posting
time so that an automated FAQ engine can index it on a more meaningful level
than a simple key-word search. I call it a key-question search.

Imagine the difference between searching the apache site for all documents
containing the words "logging", "ant" and "config". You would get spanked by
the number of hits.

But now consider how many responses you would get if you were searching the
site for all the QUESTIONS (in that "what questions are answered by what
documents" index) that contained those words. Suddenly your response volumes
go way down.

Furthermore, the site could tag each document with a "Add another question
answered by this document" feature that would allow people to log the
questions they are finding usefully answered by particular documents.

Such a system is not particularly complex. And it relies on existing
"business" processes to populate and manage the index, once the
comparatively simple engine is integrated.

I have created similar systems in the past for integration with help systems
in desktop software packages. It allows a corporate user to develop
context-specific help for their staff that is more directly relevant to
their business and job functions than a developer can possibly hope to
anticipate at help-writing time.

And when you think about it, one way to view the apache site infrastructure
is as a giant help system.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Simon Kelly" <>
To: "Struts Users Mailing List" <>
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2003 2:01 AM
Subject: Re: [OT] Learning Curve Management or Confusions of a Newbie

> Jeff you are not alone in this.  I've been at this for six months and have
> gone through pretty much the same set of problems.  The thing with what
> are suggesting (and this is only my opinion) is, "Who will do it *AND*
> after it?".  The trouble is (and I have found this through searching the
> net) the shear volume of papers, documents, examples and postings (150+
> day) that would have to be referenced and collected to make this of any
> to people.  And I have to say, I DO NOT want the job :-)
> Cheers
> Simon
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Jeff Smith" <>
> To: "Struts Users Mailing List" <>
> Sent: Friday, March 07, 2003 9:05 AM
> Subject: [OT] Learning Curve Management or Confusions of a Newbie
> I have to confess, I'm a newbie. I've been a C/C++ programmer for 20
> but after dinking around for a few months with ASP, VBScript, PHP and a
> other technologies, I decided that Java was the language to build my web
> apps in.
> A month ago I was completely cold. Didn't know the first thing about any
> this stuff. But I knew I wanted to learn it, so off I went, marching into
> the high weeds. First I had to learn Java. Then came servlets and JSPs and
> Tomcat. And along that path I also had to absorb Ant. And JUnit. And
> And then there was a bunch of time lost exploring
> before settling on JEdit as my environment of choice.
> Then came Struts, and all the various taglibs. An experiment with Cayenne.
> And Cactus. And god-knows what else I've explored.
> And through it all, I am continually amazed at the strength and breadth of
> the resources and support available. And equally frustrated by it. I can
> never remember where I saw a particular bit of information. So when I
> finally learn enough to understand what Ted was talking about in his
> monograph on Connection Pooling, I can't remember where I saw it.
> And when I want to learn enough about EJBs to figure out if I need to care
> about them, or if they are relevant to my planned project, I have to wade
> through another day of voluminous coverage before I have enough of a
> on what they are to make some intelligent guesses about where to look
> My point is that I believe the Apache/Java/Struts/... universe is quickly
> reaching a point where its very breadth is becoming a barrier to entry for
> people who don't have a couple of months to devote to bootstrapping
> themselves.
> Is there any thought being given to creating a higher-level resource
> interface that could serve as a single point of reference for all things
> Apache? (I realize that "all things java" would be going way too far.) As
> simple solution, if every document in the Apache infrastructure had a meta
> tag that listed the questions answered by the document, then a very
> powerful, automated FAQ could be maintained. And such a system would make
> much easier (I believe) to find things quickly than simply searching the
> site for key words.
> This may not be the best (or only) solution, but I do believe that for all
> the very specific support and discussions there are, there is really very
> little over-view material to assist newcomers or people looking for
> information outside of their core area.
> Or maybe I'm the only one who feels overwhelmed by it all. :-)
> Jefficus
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