New User Guide in Development

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We are happy to announce today that the user guide has had some significant improvements, and the first commit of these changes were just pushed today.

As many of you likely heard at CICON 2011, the Reactor team has had an internal project going on for some time to move the user guide to Sphinx.  In addition to handling the tedium of generating page and document tables of contents, or maintaining internal links and references, the documentation is now easier to write, as you can simply focus on the content instead of markup and presentation.  Don’t forget syntax highlighting of PHP, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in code samples.  Based on ReStructured Text, it’s also more human readable in a text editor than HTML is, which is likely where you spend most of your time.  As an added benefit, Sphinx can output HTML, PDF, and even EPUB formats all from the same source files.  We will likely be taking advantage of that at a later date.

But we didn’t stop there, we also enlisted the thunderous powers of EllisLab’s Chief Creative Officer, James Mathias for a style redesign.  They are clean, easy to read, and beautiful.

Setting up your dev environment to work with Sphinx (if you want to render and output locally) is very easy, and takes about five minutes.  For those that want to geek out, we have added a readme file to the user guide source folder so the step by step instructions are available right from GitHub.

Today marks the first commit with the new user guide to the unreleased develop branch, so you may encounter some bumps.  Most notably are the code blocks, which pandoc lost our line breaks on, and some navigation issues as we experiment with different table of contents presentation and depth.  We’ll be cleaning these up prior to the next release (much is as simple as some line breaks and tabs), but feel free to pitch in and submit some pull requests if you see anything out of whack.

And lastly, for the first time ever, we have live nightly builds of documentation for the develop branch available at the CodeIgniter web site.  Enjoy!

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