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SCP-008: Maintain scala-lang, docs.scala-lang, scala.epfl.ch websites

Proposer

Proposed by Lightbend, November 2016

credits:

  • initial draft: Seth Tisue
  • feedback: Adriaan Moors, Dale Wijnand, Eugene Yokota, community

Abstract

We propose that the Scala Center assume responsibility for updating and maintaining the scala-lang.org, docs.scala-lang.org, and scala.epfl.ch websites, including supporting external contributors.

These sites are Scala's public face to the world. It's vital to the health and growth of the Scala language and the Scala community that we show the world the best face we can.

Note that we are not proposing a wholesale redesign and/or rethink of the sites, or any substantial expansion. The scope of the current proposal is limited to updating and maintenance of existing content, aiding contributors, and making whatever modest, targeted, specific additions and improvements that can be done at limited cost.

Proposal

Major areas of concern include:

  • All three sites have outdated content
  • Comments need ongoing attention
  • Infrastructure updates are needed
  • External contributors should be supported and encouraged

More detail on all of these follows. The specifics below aren't meant to be binding; they're examples.

  • All three sites have outdated content
    • scala-lang.org looks great and has a lot of valuable content, but it needs ongoing refreshing, with an emphasis on guiding newcomers to welcoming material that will get them up and running quickly. For example, ongoing updates are needed regarding available courses and books, upcoming conferences, getting-started instructions, availability of alternative back-ends (Scala.js, Scala Native), Scala Fiddle, IDE and editor and build tool support, etc.
    • scala.epfl.ch was in good shape when the Center launched, but now lacks information about recent Scala Center projects and activities (visitors are unlikely to stumble across the advisory board meeting notes, which are too detailed for casual visitors anyway. there is Center news in scala-lang blog posts, but scala.epfl.ch doesn't link to those)
    • docs.scala-lang.org is the most neglected. Outdated content exists through the site. The single most important feature, the "Tour of Scala", frequently gets very negative feedback from visitors new to the language; it needs an overhaul. The look and feel of the site should be brought in line with scala-lang.org.
  • Comments need ongoing attention
    • The Disqus comments on docs.scala-lang need to be moderated for spam, tone, and relevancy. Not all comments can or should be directly responded to by Scala Center personnel, but some should, for example when obvious flaws in content are pointed out.
    • We might also consider alternatives to Disqus. For example, questions could be directed to Gitter; feedback and edits could be directed to GitHub issues and pull requests.
  • Infrastructure updates are needed
    • scala-lang.org and docs.scala-lang use different versions of Jekyll, are inconsistent about whether bundler is used, etc. scala-lang.org is hosted on a legacy EPFL server shared with other sites and applications; it could be independently cloud-hosted. The docs site takes a long time to build, which is discouraging for contributors; this should be fixed.
  • External contributors should be supported and encouraged
    • Scala Center and Lightbend personnel have reviewed and merged contributors' pull requests for the sites, but no one is primarily responsible and the handling has been intermittent and inconsistent. This is discouraging for outside contributors.
    • Beyond the minimum of responding to issues and PRs, new contributors could be sought out and encouraged. Increased Scala Center involvement and increased community involvement should go hand in hand.

There are GitHub tickets on some of these issues. Tickets also exist on many issues not specifically mentioned here.

Cost

Since the scope of this proposal is reasonably limited, probably 0.5 FTE would be sufficient? (Either by one person, or split among multiple Scala Center personnel.)

Lightbend staff would continue to help out, as we have in the past.

Timescales

The timescale is open-ended, as the proposal is for permanent ongoing maintenance.