Writing documentation or tutorials

Generally, we're pretty open with respect to topics as well as format. You should know however that sending in a Microsoft Word file might be easy and obvious for you, but means additional work for us because it needs to be converted to something suitable for web publishing. Also keep in mind that not everyone has Word installed and the format is proprietary, meaning that importing complicated files into other applications may fail. We prefer open formats, i.e. those not specific to one application. If you really want to do us a favour, use one of the following formats:

current editor's note: The current editor is a LaTeX user, so LaTeX sources can be incorporated directly into this website. Anything in Markdown can be incorporated into the SourceForge wiki site (and linked), whereas anything else will need to be added as attachments, and will not be maintained unless you send updated versions.


This is the format used to be used to generate the page you are just reading. Essentially, it boils down to marking things like headings, emphasis and links using some simple conventions. This reference explains pretty much everything you need to know in order to start writing. Make sure you save your text as plain text (*.txt) when sending it to us.

Here's a short impression of how it looks like:

 1 h1. Introduction
 3 This is my tutorial on the topic of foo bar, which is _very_ *important*.
 4 For some reason that will become clear later in the text, it has to do with "Google":
 6 h2. A table
 8 Still part of the introduction. Here's some numbers for you to ponder on:
10 | x | y | z |
11 | 1 | 3 | 7 |
12 | 9 | 8 | 2 |
14 h2. An image
16 Introducing... the great image I've included:
18 !great_image.png!


Similar to Textile, just as easy to integrate into our website, only with slightly different conventions. See the introduction on the Markdown homepage for how to use it.


This one is considerably more involved than the simple formats above, but in exchange it allows sophisticated documents to written that can easily be converted to HTML (for web publishing), PDF (for printing) or pretty much anything else. This is the format we use for our user's manual.

More information like links to tutorials and editors pending.


Very popular among scientists and easy to convert to a number of formats. Several implementations are available for pretty much every platform. If you don't know it already, see the LaTeX home page or the TeX Users Group.


You can also send in HTML or PDF documents directly, although they severely limit our ability to update your documentation to new versions of SciDAVis and to convert it to different formats. (PDF makes both impossible for all practical purposes, HTML makes it tedious at best). Therefore, we ask you to seriously consider the other formats instead.

Other forms of documentation

You can also help us with non-textual forms of documentation like demo projects, screenshots or screencasts. If you’re thinking about doing the latter, you might want to have a look at Istanbul (a screencast application for Linux) and these cool screencasts of the Plone CMS (for inspiration). For screenshots, you can use the Gimp.

Documentation of the internal APIs

Documenting the source code as such (using Doxygen) is covered here.

Russell Standish 2017-04-06