There may be a way to help, a bit. Here are my suggestions. (I realize some may have been made before.):
* Have a central repository for screen shots of all the interface panels for Blender. The repository should be organized by version number and variant. So, for instance, there might be a directory structure like:
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./blender/docs/scrn/if_panels/248/common ./blender/docs/scrn/if_panels/248/win/common ./blender/docs/scrn/if_panels/248/win/32 ./blender/docs/scrn/if_panels/248/win/64 ./blender/docs/scrn/if_panels/248/linux/common ./blender/docs/scrn/if_panels/248/linux/32 ./blender/docs/scrn/if_panels/248/linux/64 ./blender/docs/scrn/if_panels/248/linux/Ubuntu/810 ./blender/docs/scrn/if_panels/248/volumetrics ./blender/docs/scrn/if_panels/250/beta ./blender/docs/scrn/if_panels/250/common ./blender/docs/scrn/if_panels/246/common
Then, we'd want to provide pictures of each of the panels in each state needed for documentation. That way, if I'm writing a bit of new documentation, I don't have to produce my own graphics. I can probably grab one from the std graphics directories. If I do need to add one, I put it in those directories in order to make it easier for someone who is updating the documentation.
Ideally, we would find some way to create the various panel graphics programatically. Since the I/F is mostly Python, that should be doable, shouldn't it? Perhaps each I/F widget needs to have an accompanying framework that can be used to provide a graphic of that widget in any specified configuration. Then, when changes are made, the process of updating the panel graphics could be automatic.
This also might make it easier for patch authors to produce customized versions of the documentation for their respective versions. That might make it easier to get good testing, acceptance, and merging into the regular branch.
I also think we should have a standardized approach to doing certain kinds of documentation. For instance, in trying to figure out how to use the particle system, it would have been really helpful to me to have small examples given, in text and perhaps in a graphic, that would show how each of the various options. Billboard is noticeably absent in current docs. (I still haven't figure out what it's used for.)
These are not easy things to do. They will take a lot of work. If I had the time and energy to do it all myself, I would, but like everyone else, I have multiple demands on my time.
So, what do you think? Is this all fantasy, or do some of you think this is doable?