Documentation/Dashboard/Help Release Process

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Help Release Process

Current Development and Release Process

The source content of the application help is contained in the CVS module helpcontent2. Currently, the help content is handled like any other source code module with respect to development and release process. Uwe Fischer as the owner of the application help content maintains continuous Child Workspaces to work on constant improvements and bug fixes in the help content. That includes help changes due to small new features or small changes to existing features. These Child Workspaces are usually named hcsharedXX with XX being a consecutive number.

All features with big word count for Help must be documented inside the feature CWS. Owners of feature CWSs must send appropriate information to the Help authors in time.

Uwe fills up the Child Workspace until a reasonable number of issues are covered (reasonable for QA to test), Uwe builds installation sets for four platforms and then hands over the CWS to QA for verification. Some issues are verified by Sun's Docs team beforehand to disburden the QA reps. After handing over a CWS to QA, a successor CWS is created which is used to continue the work. This CWS gets rebased (resynched) to the master once the previous Help contents are integrated.

In addition to this help maintenance CWS, help content for larger features and feature sets is developed inside the feature CWSs owned by the feature owners. The helpcontent2 module is automatically part of all CWSs, so Uwe can work on the corresponding help content there.

Problem Description

There are several problems around the abovementioned process:

Problem Description Possible Solutions
Short Help completion period The release map doesn't leave enough time between feature freeze date and help completion date which is determined by the localization hand-off date Features with big Help word count that will be ready short before feature freeze must be announced to Help authors, so they can start writing early
Short Help translation period The localization period is too short to cover larger help wordcounts Features with big Help word count will only be documented in the feature CWS. This replaces one tight deadline by many smaller deadlines
Large helpcontent module in feature CWSs The helpcontent2 module is large (>2,000 files) and presents a bottleneck for CWS maintenance, particularly when part of multiple feature CWSs. this is no longer a problem with Subversion or Mercurial CWSs
Platform Dependency The helpcontent2 module is currently built per platform which is very costly in terms of performance and time Build the helpcontent platform independently (in common). The helpcontent itself should allow for that.
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