SasView Tutorials: The Next Generation


We need to replace the dated and monolithic (SasView 2.x) Tutorial (here) that presently ships with SasView 4.x with new materials that are fresh, engaging, and modern.

Several existing tickets relating to the provision of 'tutorials' are now captured on this wiki page and the corresponding tickets closed:

Some of the 'next generation' material will require our SasView documentation build processes to produce PDF files. Tickets relevant to this are:

Once LibreOffice is installed on the Build Servers it will also be straightforward to output the 'next generation' material as HTML and eBook. Tickets relevant to this are:

The issue of 'tutorials' has previously been raised on this Wiki at:

Wojciech has also made some suggestions regarding frameworks and infrastructure for new tutorial material in this document

The Bigger Picture

Any tutorials we produce will be part of a bigger portfolio of 'documentation' comprising:

  • the in-program Help (actually called 'Documentation' in SasView itself) - this is invariably the first place any Sasview User looks for answers
  • the Tutorials themselves
  • the SasView Website - which has a good FAQ page created from actual questions from Users & links to other resources
  • the SasView TRAC site - primarily for the Development Team, but a lot of content should be accessible to 'advanced' Users

Whilst there will be some cross-over between these different strands they should not seek to duplicate material unnecessarily.

So What Is A Tutorial?

A Tutorial is self-paced instruction that provides a step-by-step approach to some learning unit.

It should be interactive, visual (and/or possibly audio), goal-driven, and provide some form of feedback or test of learning (such as through question-answer exercises and/or providing access to comparative results).

The Need For A Philosophy

The problem with the Tutorial definition above is that it potentially encompasses a wide range of delivery mechanisms. Within the SasView project we are, of necessity (given our available resources), going to need to focus on providing the key material in the most accessible form. That means Tutorial documents in HTML, PDF, and possibly (since the production overhead should essentially be zero given the first two) eBook formats.

Anything else simply cannot be a priority for us at the moment. It could, however, be provided by enthusiastic members of the Community if they so wished…

The Tool For The Job

If we agree that we shall provide some Tutorial documents then, to ease production, maximise buy-in, and encourage Community contributions where applicable, we need a production platform that is free(!), intuitive (ie, WYSIWYG), and suitable for version control using TRAC. (The current Tutorial is written in Microsoft Powerpoint which only meets one of these criteria).

After looking around Andrew identified two possibilities:

Both of these are WYSIWYG and both provide output in a 'flat' Open XML format which would allow git to do difference-checking for version control purposes. But only LibreOffice is free.

Steve & Andrew tested git with a LibreOffice Writer .fodt file that they both independently edited and git behaved as expected.

Recommendation: We should use LibreOffice Writer to generate Tutorial documents saved in .fodt format

Getting Started

Click here for the current list of Tutorials and instructions on how to write and contribute them.

Last modified 7 years ago Last modified on Apr 11, 2017 3:52:36 AM