Earlier this year I was made a member of the DotNetNuke core team, and with this designation I have been able to help make some of the changes that I have been encouraging over the past few years. Since the new DotNetNuke core team structure was identified teams within the core have been established to help create smaller groups that can more easily tackle specific deliverables. I jumped at the opportunity to work on the "Reference" team which was created to work on reference materials and documentation.
The first deliverable that I have been working on with the support of Cathal and the others is to improve the quality of the DotNetNuke Developer API and the way that its information can be used to support the developer community. People may be familiar with the efforts that Ernst Peter has put into the "DNN Help System" project on codeplex, which is part of what we are working to incorporate into a truly supported system that comes out of the core team. The following is a listing of the different goals/actions that we will be working on, future blog posts will be completed by myself or Cathal as we start rolling out the actual implementation of these items.
1. Provide a download with Visual Studio Intellisense files
One common limitation when working as a developer within the DotNetNuke environment is that Intellisense support is not something that is readily visible for developers. Although easy to get intellisense support by simply compiling the core, and copying the generated xml files, starting with the 5.2.x releases DotNetNuke corporation will be publishing the xml intellisense files as a separate download. This will allow developers to easily copy the xml files along-side their DotNetNuke.dll file and they will then have intellisense support within Visual Studio for all custom development activities.
At this time, most core API methods have at minimum a "summary" description which will add value for the intellisense support.
2. Provide a Hosting Location within DotNetNuke's Website
The first thing we are going to do is to make the creation of the compiled HTML documentation a regular process and establish a location for an online copy to be made available. This will be done in a manner that will be very similar to MSDN style documentation and will be updated as we continue to improve the quality of documentation.
The exact publish location of this information has yet to be identified, but within the next few weeks as we continue to improve the quality of documentation we will make the official announcement when the information is available.
3. Improve the quality of existing internal documentation
Starting with the initial release of documentation with item #2 above, we will start working to improve the quality of the API documentation. With the initial release we will be fully documenting one class within the API, the UserController class. This will be done to show the new standard of documentation that will be targeted for all core API code. Once we have established the standards the team will work quickly to continue commenting the rest of the code and publishing updated documentation files as soon as possible.
This updated documentation will include improved summary comments as well as full sample code where applicable to ensure that proper use of methods is documented and readily available.
So, stay tuned to the blogs here on DotNetNuke.com as we start to roll out the first deliverables from the Reference team.