Write a "How Do I..." Article

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How do I write a "How Do I..." Article

The "How Do I..." series of articles are designed to provide new users with some basic, step-by-step instructions on how to perform a specific task in Gramps. It is not a tutorial about fully exploring a feature. These articles are about how to achieve a specific task without digressing into interesting distractions.

Articles should be targeted at users who are not familiar with Gramps, and may not be familiar to computing in general. However, rather than explain each step in excruciating detail, it is recommended you link unique Gramps processes to the Glossary term (preferred) or introductory section of the manual.

How do I... articles don't have to be pretty or professionally written.

They just need to make correct & useful information more accessible.

Please be aware every public page may be edited by anyone. Each WikiContributor has pet projects to improve quality of pages... hotlinking, consistency of terminology, grammar, punctuation, order of presentation... all are likely to be changed.

But premature edits can step on an outline being expanded. Include a Warn note at the top if you need a few days without being interrupted by edits to complete your creative process.

Don't take offense because none is intended. When someone edits your page, they are saying that they found value in what you wrote. Enough that it is worth their time to pitch in. They might accidentally mess it up. If that happens, revert the content using the History and clarify what they misinterpreted.

Build a fresh article

Creating a wiki page can be intimidating. But you do not have to start from scratch.

Create a page

The conventional recommendation for creating an expansion pagespace on the wiki is to create a branch from a page where the concept is only mentioned in passing. Just edit the page and add a 'link' to a term on that page.

Simply insert a line like:

[[wiki page name|my page name hotlinked label]]

While this creates a dead link, clicking on it will spawn a new pagespace where you can add the extra information. This new pagespace will show up in the indexing and Categories exactly as in the portion before the vertical bar ("|"). So consider capitalization and wording. (Take a look at other pages listed in the How do I... category for a point of reference.)

This is a good method if you've built the page content offline and just want to paste in the MediaWiki markup language code. But when using the MediaWiki editor to slowly build a page from scratch, this approach adds a dead link in a highly conspicuous way. Once the first edit is saved, the link will be 'live' but might be a crude draft.

Alternately, when starting a new pages, you can create the originating link on your WikiContributor user page or discussion pages instead of from an existing page. You'll be able to find it easily while it is still a Work-In-Progress. It can be a helpful reminder to also include a link to the target page where you intend to cross-reference the finalized new content.

As a last resort, you can create a Work-In-Progress pagespace with a particular name by using the Search box in the left side bar. (Again, the name is important because it determines how the content will be listed in the Category indices.) The search will try to list articles with all the terms entered. But if there isn't a phrase match for the title, the first option will also offer a red link at the top that would create a page.

Add "How Do I..." standard form

Take advantage of template in the How do I... page to create a framework for the article. That framework can be created by pasting the following lines in the newly created pagespace and saving it.



What do these lines do?

Use the template

The double curley brackets ({{ }}) identify a named template. This uses MediaWiki's transclusion (transcribed inclusion) feature for the How do I... template to re-use the content stored in that pagename. It is similar to Server Side Includes.

The subst:Template: before the template name uses the subclusion (substitution transcribed inclusion) feature for templates. This will cause the template content to be processed & substituted into the editable workspace as the page is saved. Because this content can now be refined without changing other pages, it is more "recycled" than "re-used".

Embed your user tag

The row of 4 tilde (˜˜˜˜) characters will add a datestamp line at the bottom with your hyperlinked WikiContributor name.

Not a valid user (talk) 19:36, 23 January 2021 (UTC)

This adds the incomplete page to the page list generated when you click "What links here" in the left sidebar on your WikiContributor page similar to the following:

 What links here:
 Page: Write a "How Do I..." Article Article

You can use this to make a work-in-progress (WIP) page list. When the page is complete enough to be made public & linked, remove the line to remove it from your WIP page list. (The Contributions link will still help you find the page but there would be more clutter.)

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