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On Overhauling the German Website Landscape

March 30, 2011
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During the last few weeks I tried to get an overview of what kind and number of German websites we have in KDE. So what do we have?

kde.de vs. de.kde.org

My intention started when some user in #kde on Freenode LOLed (yes, it’s a proper English word now) about the outdated contents of the German KDE website at kde.de. After some browsing through the www/ folder in the KDE SVN I found the right place to update those contents. It is all in /trunk/www/international/germany/. I only had to request write permission to that location to actually being able to update it.

Then I found out that this location in SVN does not directly update kde.de but de.kde.org. kde.de points to a separate external server that is syncronised with de.kde.org (or rather the SVN folder) regularly.

After successfully adding the latest news I decided to change the page design to the newer one used on kde.org. On de.kde.org everything worked nicely but then kde.de broke. So I rolled it back to the older design.

I tried asking for help on the German WWW mailinglist but it was dead for over a year. Then I remembered who was updating the website back then and contacted him. Mark was in the process of moving to another location so we talked about a week later on the phone. It was my first phone contact to another KDE (ex-)contributor and it was a nice little chat. But he also did not control that server and just gave me another name to contact, Martin. I wrote him an email but got no response yet. Hope for the best. I heard he is a nice guy, though, so do not worry too much.

My plan is to convince him to close down that external instance of kde.de, hand-over the domain name to the KDE e.V. and let the KDE sysadmins point it to de.kde.org. If that is done, I will prepare a proposal for a radical website cleanup, that will most likely end up in an 80%+ content decrease. The current contents are just not maintainable without long-term commitment of more than one guy. But more on that when the time is right.

Things to keep an eye on: -1

de.l10n.kde.org

This is a team page for the German translation team. Its contents can be updated in the KDE SVN in /trunk/www/areas/l10n/teams/de/, where I also had to request write permission for. After the sysadmins granted me those, I started updating the pages, when I suddenly realised that it was a really old team page not used in years. The index page was just a redirect to another team page which for me was the actual official one. So I removed all the content except for the index page and the screenshots/ subfolder, which is used on yet another team page. That one is not so much for coordinating but for presenting the team and its work. I added README files explaining the situation.

Updating the screenshots is already in progress on the German translators mailinglist.

Things to keep an eye on: -1

oss.erdfunkstelle.de/kde-i18n

This is the German translators team page I was introduced to when I started contributing five years ago in 2006.
It runs on an external server administered by Thomas, the former German team coordinator. As he had to resign for real-work reasons some time ago, I planned to migrate this page over to the KDE wiki infrastructure, to decrease the overall maintenance workload.

Things to keep an eye on: -1

http://community.kde.org/KDE_Localization/de/

So this will become the new team page for the German translation. The contents from the previous team page are almost completely migrated. Rewriting from one wiki syntax to another is rather tedious but I did not find a tool for that which would run without admin privileges on both side’s databases. Furthermore did the manual approach give me the opportunity to update some parts of the pages. Wile the migration is almost completed, there are quite some open tasks in the updating department. Goal here (and partly done already) is also a little reduction of its extensive contents in some places.

The German KDE Forum

As I wrote earlier today, I requested a German subforum on forum.kde.org. I am not that much of a forum guy. I prefer mailinglists and IRC. So why did I request said subforum?

The appraisal I did during the last few weeks also uncovered some things I did not like very much. There is a German KDE forum already (no link here). And it seems quite active. We were even linking to it in several places. However, the operator of that forum runs a lot of similar sites with some rather dubious link advertisement attached to the bottom, supposedly to push the rankings of those linked sites.

So after talking to Ingo from KDE’s WWW team, we decided that opening a German subforum would be a good idea.

Conclusion & Acknowledgement

If everything I currently wish (and work) for succeeds, the German website landscape will be a much nicer and cleaner place for those who have to maintain it now and will continue to do so in the future.

I want to thank Ingo for all his assistance and advice, the KDE sysadmins (in this special case mainly Tom and Ben) for doing a great job handling requests, Mark for explaining to me how stuff around kde.de currently works and for maintaining the website for such a long time almost alone, Thomas for being a great coordinator and for hosting the German translators team page and all the others who answered one of the whole bunch of questions I asked here and there and everyone who is helping with this cleanup endeavour.

The last few weeks were not easy but showed me again what a pleasure it is to work with KDE folks. Kudos to everyone. :)


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