[ros-users] ROS Diamondback Release Candidate 1

Patrick Bouffard bouffard at eecs.berkeley.edu
Sun Feb 13 17:22:39 UTC 2011

Congrats on RC-1. The Tools page is a good start. One suggestion: add
a 1-sentence blurb on each tool above its corresponding video. The
blurb should be geared towards functionality--what can you _do_ with
this tool?

Also it occurs to me that the front page on the wiki could use
refreshing. It's very busy and this might contribute to new users
being confused about where to start. Given that ROS is becoming more
widely used, the very first statements on the front page should
probably make sense to the widest possible audience. So right now the
first text is:

ROS is an open-source, meta-operating system for your robot. It
provides the services you would expect from an operating system,
including hardware abstraction, low-level device control,
implementation of commonly-used functionality, message-passing between
processes, and package management.

.. which is already full of technical terms that I would guess a large
percentage of first-visitors to be page are not familiar with (at
least, not yet). I would suggest that this text remain under the
Documentation heading, but before that, a higher-level description
such as:

ROS (Robot Operating System) is software for robot makers and users
that makes it easier to create new robots and extend existing ones, by
providing a unified, modular architecture.

I would suggest that this be followed by an introductory video that
highlights some of the uses of ROS and introduces the highest level
concepts (Runtime Graph --Nodes, Topics; Filesystem (Packages/Stacks);
Community (Repositories, Mailing Lists, Wiki)) in as visual a way as
possible. For the runtime graph this is pretty obvious--just a cartoon
version of rxgraph's output. The others would require a bit more
creative thought on how to bring across the point visually and
succinctly but I think it is possible. The video should conclude with
a very brief teaser on the tutorials, with the aim of encouraging new
users to actually go through them.

The other thing that I think people always look for is a screenshots
page. This should be easy to do and the candidates are obvious--rviz,
gazebo, rxplot...

My $0.02..


On Sat, Feb 12, 2011 at 2:26 PM, Ken Conley <kwc at willowgarage.com> wrote:
> Thanks to all of your help, we're getting close to the official
> release of Diamondback.  Eigen 2/3 rollout is complete and we have
> received many patches to improve compatibility on various platforms.
> How you can help:
>  1) We want to make it easier for new users to figure out what the
> common ROS tools are.  We've put up a new "Tools" [1] page as a start,
> but feedback and contributions are welcome.  We would also appreciate
> feedback on our "APIs" [2] page.  In other words, "What do you wish
> the wiki helped you find out about better, and how?"
>  2) We are creating new robot 'portals' to help users of particular
> robot platforms.  We would appreciate feedback on the current pages as
> well as your own contributed portals.  Examples: [3], [4], [5]
>  3) Patches, bug reports, etc...
> More here:
> http://www.ros.org/news/2011/02/ros-diamondback-release-candidate-1.html
> thanks,
>  -- your friendly neighborhood release candidate
> [1]: http://www.ros.org/wiki/Tools
> [2]: http://www.ros.org/wiki/APIs
> [3]: http://www.ros.org/wiki/Robots/Care-O-bot
> [4]: http://www.ros.org/wiki/Robots/NXT
> [5]: http://www.ros.org/wiki/Robots/PR2
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