Posts about python (old posts, page 48)

Nikola Logo Contest!

So you have design skills? Want to make a little money while doing a good thing? Then join the contest! there is a 200 US dollars guaranteed prize, and the contest will be judged by a group of Nikola developers.

Some guidance:

  • The name Nikola comes from Nikola Tesla, so think concepts connected to that
    • The Wardenclyffe tower
    • Tesla Coils
    • Lightning
    • Electricity
    • Early 20th century
  • I hope the logo works well in a variety of formats so, keep it simple. B/W is good.
  • A drawing without the word Nikola is good, but a good design with the word in it could be good also.

The contest lasts a week, you have 4 days for the qualifying round.

And remember: it has to be better than these

Nikola is now more compatible with Sphinx

Sometimes, you need to use the same text in more than one place. For example, you may want to use fragments of your software manuals in your software's site.

If you are part of the Python-verse then it's likely that your docs are written using Sphinx. Ǹikola and Sphinx share roots in reStructuredText so they are already compatible in many important ways.

However, Sphinx adds a whole bunch of extensions to reStructuredText and Sphinx users use them. So, what's a dev to do? He'll write code. So I wrote a nikola plugin which adds support for a large chunk of the Sphinx-specific markup.

How big a chunk? Quite big since it adds support for over 35 extensions, roles and directives (no, toctree is not one of them yet).

This way, you may be able to enjoy a good documentation-specific tool and a (if I may say so myself) good website tool from common sources.

Enjoy!

Preview of Nikola Webapp

I have already made a few attempts at turning Nikola, a static site and blog generator into a webapp, with varied success. One of the bigger problems was, I think, one of scale. I was thinking of something to replace http://wordpress.com ... something where everyone could host his own blog in very low cost infrastructure.

But then again... why not try to replace all those self-hosted wordpress instances out there? So, here's the webapp plugin!

It's very early stages, no support for pages, only supports markdown, no configuration changes, and you can't even really delete things. But hey, you can post, which is 95% of the usage this will get.

UPDATE: if you are running Nikola from github master, you can install this using the plugins repo: http://plugins.getnikola.com/#webapp and it supports a lot more than on the video above.

Being an Inclusive Project (and how GitHub saved my day)

I have posted over 50 posts here about Nikola and most of them contain something like "Nikola, my static blog/site generator". Well, that's not the case anymore. From now on I will say "a static blog/site generator". Why? Let's see.

For starters, it's no longer true that I wrote it. Although I am still pushing more code that anyone, there are 54 other contributors. That number is astonishing. Why? Because I estimate there are around 200 Nikola users. That means the ratio of contributors to users is incredibly high.

That is probably explained because the way you build a site using Nikola is very programmer oriented. You could describe a static site generator as a sort of "site compiler" and not be far off the mark. Many of the benefits, like you can host your page sources in github! are completely misterious to non-programmers. So, I expected that number to be high, but, having a 25% user=>developer conversion rate? That's bizarre.

So, I suspect I did some things well with this project [1], and wanted to think them out loud, and try to further them.

One thing I think I did well was that it's an inclusive project. If you propose something you are getting heard and I am giving the proposal a fair shake. I may reject it, but not out of hand, but instead after some thought. And if I am unsure, it's accepted. I would rather get something I am not fond of than drive out a contributor [2] because I may change my mind, but a contributor that's gone is not coming back.

Same thing about granting commit rights: want them? You get them with the first successful PR by just asking.

Today there was another step on this direction: I am not the sole admin anymore. No longer is https://github.com/ralsina/nikola the canonical repo, it's now https://github.com/getnikola/nikola. The website? Not http://nikola.ralsina.me but http://getnikola.com, paid for 5 years. Added two admins to everything (the awesome damianavila and Kwpolska). Gave up sole control of a loooong list of things [3] and now I can get run over by a bus and things should not bitrot.

It protects those 54 other contributors and few hundred users from my ever losing heart or interest, which is a real risk, and should be alleviated.

I think the most important bit about converting users into contributors though, is that you just need to be friendly. And Nikola is largely a friendly project. And that's made it a lot of fun for the past year or so.

I once read that if you refused to use code written by assholes you could not boot any OS. Well, that may be true, but that doesn't mean being an asshole is OK. This is a small project that does a small thing. But at least I feel confident it's not written by assholes. And that's a victory in itself.

OTOH there are some major defficiencies still. Diversity is good in some areas (geographically, for instance) but AFAIK the percentage of women contributing to the codebase is 0% and I have no idea why, and I would love to improve that.

So, lots of work done, lots more to do. That's a good position to be in, I think.


[1] Alternative explanation: I did some things so badly I have driven out 99% of the user base.
[2] Within reason.
[3] Github's checklists on Issues are great
[4] Within reason.
[5] Optional.
[6] Not really.