From little things, big things grow...

by Jared Morgan

PressGang started life as a simple procedures guide for the Mobicents project called the Mobicents Community Documentation User Guide (MCDUG).  It contained grammar and XML usage tips for the team, and procedures relating to the Mobicents documentation lifecycle. This guide helped the Mobicents team move from Red Hat managed community documentation to self-managed, Developer-sourced XML user documentation.

Once the guide was released to a wider audience, I started to get feedback that the contents of the guide could be useful for other JBoss community projects.  I began to rework the MCDUG by removing the documentation lifecycle information, and incorporating some excellent stovepipe information written by various Engineering Content Services (ECS) Red Hat associates (thanks Darrin and Sean).

From the MCDUG, the PressGang Documentation Guide (JDG) was born.  Not only was the PDG aimed at the JBoss community, it was adopted by ECS as the canonical source for DocBook XML element usage.  ECS also used the instructions for creating cross-compatible publican and maven jDocBook upstream in various JBoss community projects that expressed interest in making productization easier.  

Helping projects make their community XML documentation compatible with the publican build system was an important milestone.  The cross-compatibility enabled community projects to benefit from enterprise documentation translations.  By having XML documentation that was compatible with Maven and Publican, Red Hat could contribute changes back upstream in to the community projects.

I was just about ready to announce the project to the JBoss community, when I received feedback from a Red Hat associate: "What you're doing here is way bigger than just a standards guide; you need to become a project".  And here is where the fun really began.

There are a number of requirements you must meet before you can be granted project status: a unique project name, a unique project logo, and approval to use both of these from Red Hat legal.  I worked with ECS to agree on the project name, used the awesome design skills of JBoss Branding to realise the textural logotype and "Monkey Typewriter" logo, and Red Hat Legal to ensure I wasn't infringing on anyone's rights.

The result is PressGang.  The first project on to be dedicated to documentation, and not software.  C'mon, join the 'Gang.