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ROS.org Refresh

ROS.org Refresh

The current incarnation of ROS.org is getting a bit long in the tooth; in fact the original roll out of the site was some time in 2013. We’re well past due for a website refresh. After some internal discussion at Open Robotics our general consensus is to drop Wordpress in favor of Jekyll and do a full website rebuild for ROS 2. The motivation for using Jekyll is that the posting workflow is much more developer friendly, and it should make it easier for the community to submit events using pull requests.

Currently, we believe that ROS.org serves three primary use cases for the community:

  1. The initial entry point for new users looking to get started with ROS.
  2. A resource for non-technical individuals to find information about ROS and robotics in general (e.g. journalists, investors, educators, etc).
  3. A rough index of ROS resources for the established community.

The current ROS.org website generally suits these users but is woefully out of date. Our proposal is to keep most of the existing information architecture but give it all a solid update and a facelift. In this new version of ROS.org we would also like to address a few things that were overlooked in previous versions of the website like responsive design, accessibility, and localization. We’re particularly interested in hearing from anyone who might be willing to help translate the core ros.org pages into their local language.

One of the aspects of the current ros.org that we would like to keep are the user submitted “cards” for robots.ros.org. These robot/component cards are simply small bits of markdown that can be submitted by a user in a pull request, and we believe that this approach would be a great way for the community to interact with ROS.org. While we generally prefer ROS related information is on discourse, answers, or the wiki, our current belief is that it would be good to help maintain a lightly moderated lists of things like educational resources, robots and components, and companies using ROS.

Below is a rough outline of what we think the new ROS.org would look like. Sections marked with “card based” are sections where users would contribute cards to update the content. Sections in bold are new sections.

  • About:
    • About ROS
    • History
    • ROS Branding Information
    • ROS Media Contacts
    • Contact Information
  • Why ROS?
    • What is it?
    • ROS Architecture
      • ROS 1 vs ROS 2
      • Core Libraries
      • Packages
      • Hardware
    • Ecosystem and Collaborators
      • ROS 2 Middleware (card based)
      • Gazebo / Ignition
      • Move It
      • ROS Industrial
      • OpenCV
      • MicroROS
      • TBD ROS-X Groups (card based)
  • ROS Community
    • Education
    • Businesses / Start-ups
    • Government
    • Research Groups
  • Building A Robot (getting started)
    • Download Now
    • Community Support (HELP!)
    • Education Resources (free and paid classes and tutorials, card based)
    • Professional Resources (list of freelancers and groups, card based)
    • Robots & Components (card based)
  • Get Involved
    • Events (Discourse list)
    • Donate
    • Contribute
    • ROSCon

Before we begin the transition process in earnest we wanted to talk to the community about the future of ROS.org. We have the following requests/questions:

  • Does this outline look sound?
  • Did we miss anything? What would you like to see on ros.org?
  • Are there any accessibility needs over and above the existing W3C standards?

We’re also looking for assistance on this project. In particular we need:

  • Contractors to help with some of the styling and design work. If you have a candidate please DM me.
  • Contributors who would be willing to help with translation or regionalization. Please DM me if you are interested.
7 Likes

I think myself and @youtalk can wrangle up several volunteers to do Japanese.

3 Likes

Should we have something about local user groups in the “ROS Community” section? It could just be cards that copy the category descriptions from the Discourse categories, or it could be something more substantial, but I think that showing there are locally-active members is good for showing the strength of the community.

3 Likes

Hi Katherine!

Under ROS Community, May I suggest the following two additional subheadings, immediately below Education, as follows:

ROS Agriculture

ROS industrial

My reason for making this suggestion is that currently as the website stands it is not easy to locate these two areas. It takes a lot of patience to locate these two areas.

I know this may have been included somewhere, but this may send the unintended message to the effect that these have been removed from ROS.

Kind regards

Collen Gura

from C Gura’s iPad

2 Likes

I could see that being a useful feature. What would this look like exactly? I could see *.ros.org for regionalization/translation, e.g. jp.ros.org. What would a regional page have? Contact information? Generally event announcements should be done on discourse.

Oh, that’s perhaps not clear from my outline. I have that as TBD ROS-X Groups. I would prefer those groups stand up their own web-site like ROS Industrial, but I could see nascent groups having a single reference page to get started (contact info, charter, repositories). Does that sound about right?

I’d also recommend having a page beyond just “Why ROS” and provide white papers.

I somewhat cringe at the thought of white papers from my time in Aerospace / Government, but I think in this case, they have value. A common statement I hear is about how ROS is for research, immature, … and providing some example white papers of people using ROS in real, industrial, or commercial settings could be valuable (I’m looking at you, iRobot, Fetch, [an arm manufacturer]). Additionally, a white paper comparing ROS1 -> ROS2 in that regard for dispelling the claims by critics that were resolved largely in ROS2.

These could be useful first-entry documents. Having something with that content that is citable would have value as well. Webpages are good for getting information, but white papers are more in line with the business-y people when trying to explain things without going into technical details irrelevant to higher-level management.

I think that makes sense too. I think highlighting ROS-* groups on another level would become endless.

My only concern for the Educations / professional / robot & component resources is that it could read as OSRF (or OR in this context?) is endorsing these particular elements over others. Having that content on a Wiki is a different looking and feeling way of adding that information as a Wiki is known to be user contributed and I don’t think anyone reads those lists as official endorsements the way having it on the main ROS webpage would.

I don’t know that that is good or bad, just being up the subject. It may be better to have that link to a user contributed wiki and have some statement on the webpage that these aren’t necessarily endorsed by any given person, unless there’s something actually endorsed by some given person.

Over the years, I’ve spun off a couple mini-projects that I think could be integrated into/linked to from the new ROS.org, namely,

6 Likes

I’m not sure I grok the difference between the “ROS Community” section and the “TBD ROS-X Groups section”?

I also think it’s a bit weird to put ROS Architecture and Ecosystem/Collaborators under “Why ROS?” That type of information is typically found under a “Developers” or “getting started” header. See dockerhub community as a reference.

Suggestion:

  • About:
    • About ROS
    • History
    • ROS Branding Information
    • ROS Media Contacts
    • Contact Information
  • Why ROS?
    • What is it?
  • Download
  • Developers
    • ROS Architecture
      • ROS 1 vs ROS 2
      • Core Libraries
      • Packages
      • Hardware
    • Ecosystem and Collaborators
      • ROS 2 Middleware (card based)
      • Gazebo / Ignition
      • Move It
      • ROS Industrial
      • OpenCV
      • MicroROS
      • TBD ROS-X Projects (card based) for additional package/project resources
    • Robots & Components (card based)
  • ROS Community
    • Education
    • Businesses / Start-ups
    • Government
    • Research Groups
    • TBD ROS-X Groups (card based) for additional interest groups
  • Learn
    • Community Support (HELP!)
    • Education Resources (free and paid classes and tutorials, card based)
    • Professional Resources (list of freelancers and groups, card based)
  • Get Involved
    • Events (Discourse list)
    • Donate
    • Contribute
    • ROSCon

Whenever I visit a website as a developer I like to see a link to the documentation immediately visible somewhere in the main navigation, not to make it too crowded but I think it warrants getting added in there somewhere. perhaps just after ROS Architecture?

1 Like

I agree. I think in my mind “ROS Architecture” was the documentation. Perhaps naming that header “Documentation” is clearer?

I second this. In industry, white papers are essential for convincing business people. The engineers will just read the documentation, but when they need to convince the project managers or other higher ups white papers provide the material and the evidence.

I think that would help, in my mind when I read “ROS Architecture” I just think of a picture of a diagram or something, but might just be me. :slightly_smiling_face:

2 Likes