ITK v4 – Crowdsourcing Documentation

The ITK community recently released the Beta version of its new ITKv4 effort. The Insight Toolkit (ITK) is an open-source, cross-platform system that provides an extensive suite of software tools for image analysis.

To help members of the community use the new version of the toolkit, Kitware and the ITK development team designed and implemented a system for crowdsourcing documentation, whose release we are now pleased to announce. The purpose of the crowdsourcing system is to allow the community to suggest changes to the documentation and improve its quality.

How to Use it?

You can access the crowdsourcing documentation pages directly from the auto-generated doxygen documentation for ITKv4. Go on a class page and click on “Edit comments”:

 Figure 1: ITK doxygen page.

You will then be able to dynamically edit the source code of the class by clicking the “pencil” icon on the text editor on the right side of the page, and providing your email address and some comments describing your motivation for the change.

Once submitted, the change will be reviewed by the ITK team.

Figure 2: Documentation edition page.

How Does it Work?

The crowdsourcing page displays the code and documentation that is generated each night  based on the content of the ITK Git repository, including any recent changes made by the developers community:

 Figure 3: Functional diagram of the crowdsourcing documentation system.

 When a visitor to the crowdsourcing page makes an edit, the system creates a doxygen preview and submits a new patch to Gerrit, a web-based code review system. The ITK team then reviews the change directly on Gerrit, and can make further improvements to it, or simply merge it with the main codebase.

The new crowdsourcing system is yet another mechanism for encouraging the participation of the community, and enabling all to help improve the quality both in form and content of the doxygen documentation. We invite and encourage everyone to make use of the new crowdsourcing system and contribute improvements to the documentation that is so vital for facilitating good use of the toolkit. Given the thousands of ITK community members, we anticipate that this venue will become a high volume source of improvements to the documentation.

We’d like to give a special thanks to Arnaud Gelas for suggesting the initial ideas for the system and for following up on the implementation. Thanks also to Charles Marion, who designed and implemented most of the system and Kitware’s team: Matt Bowman, Matt McCormick, David Cole, and Luis Ibanez.

ITK v4 Announcement: http://www.kitware.com/news/home/browse/ITK?2011_10_04&ITKv4+Beta+Now+Available
Download ITK : http://www.itk.org

Questions or comments are always welcome!