QGIS Planet

Results of the user questionnaire from Sep’19

Last month’s user question focused on QGIS documentation. More specifically, we asked how you learn how to use QGIS. And many of you answered our call. Indeed we collected 824 responses over a period of two weeks:

The answers to the first question show that the top three first sources of information on how to use QGIS features or solve problems are: 1. search engines, 2. Stack Exchange, and 3. the QGIS User Manual:

The answers to the second question show that most respondents look for information around 2-3 times a week:

The third question asked specifically about the official QGIS documentation and answers revealed that most users sometimes or often find answers there:

Overall respondents use the official documentation rather rarely:

Finally, there was an open ended question:

You can download the full responses if you’re interested in the details.

The results and lessons we can learn from the responses are currently being discussed on the community mailing list.

New PyQGIS documentation

We are proud to announce our new dedicated documentation of the QGIS Python API (also called PyQGIS) which is now available at https://qgis.org/pyqgis:

While the QGIS API has long been documented, Python developers in the past had to work with the general C++ documentation that wasn’t always straightforward to use. The new PyQGIS documentation presents the API in an accessible pythonic manner.

Of course, creating a good API documentation from source code in an automated way, is not trivial. A key challenge was to automatically create Python bindings files (or SIP files). A custom Perl script known as “sipify” now enables us to automatically integrate the C++ documentation into the Python bindings and keep them up to date. Another challenge was to create the documentation itself using Sphinx. Two detailed reports containing all the technical details of the first and second generation of the documentation are available if you want to learn more about the underlying architecture.

This has been a really important infrastructure project for QGIS that has been made possible by support from our donors and sponsors, as well as the generous in-kind contributions of our community members.

Call for applications: QGIS Manual Update and Improvement

Dear QGIS community,

In the last few years we have been steadily improving the amount of funding we are able to accumulate in the QGIS project. Our goal in obtaining funding is always to ‘make QGIS better’. Up until now we have focussed funding on high profile aspects of the project: Funding regular hackfests, paying for bug fixing work prior to releases, funding infrastructure such as servers, domain name registrations etc.

With improved funding levels we now have the opportunity to also start addressing some of the many less obvious components of QGIS that badly need attention, but often don’t attract volunteers. In our PSC meetings it was agreed that we would start this initiative by funding one or more experienced users to improve the QGIS manual. Here, briefly, is the vision:

As an experienced QGIS user you currently have two main resources: The QGIS manual and the QGIS training manual. In this call we focus on the manual, which is already an excellent resource on available functionality in QGIS.

  • The challenge is to keep it synchronised with all new features, and examples and figures often run the risk of being out of date. This is the case already for several chapters of the manual for the latest QGIS releases and we want to start optimizing this.

    We would love to see the QGIS manual providing a readable narrative explaining the purpose (with images and illustrations if needed) of each feature. It can also provide short sample snippet where useful, which in many cases you can simply cut and paste into your code and then tweak to get started.

    For this funded effort we are thus seeking one or more individuals to lay the foundation for this work:

    * verify and improve the norms and guidelines of the documentation and
    especially its update process together with the PSC.
    * update the manual to include all features that are available within the latest QGIS release (2.12).
    * update figures, if necessary according to the defined guidelines (size, desktop-environment, resolution,…).
    * populate the manual with further short examples and improved descriptions, without competing with the training manual.
    * do these in a nice clear and concise writing style, taking inspiration from other software manuals, if available.

    If you think this is something you are able to do, please contact the QGIS PSC using this form and let us know!

    Best wishes,
    Otto


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