Improving vtk (was RE: [vtk-developers] vtknew tree and testing / examples)

Sebastien BARRE sebastien at
Wed Jun 27 16:02:46 EDT 2001

At 28/06/2001 00:51, Prabhu Ramachandran wrote:
> >>>>> "DG" == David Gobbi <dgobbi at> writes:
>     DG> of the example.  Also, examples should be far fewer in number
>     DG> than tests.
>Why is that?  Do you mean tests should be treated as examples?

No, but tests help increasing the *coverage* :

I don't think it makes sense to have a "good example" (i.e. not a test) for 
each class, neither does it make sense to cover *all* aspects of a class in 
a "good example".

Hence, ideally there should be more tests than examples, I do agree with 
David, unless I miss something :)

>about readablity for the new user?  Do we want the new users to see
>stuff that is speicfic to testing and confuse them?

David agrees with separating Testing from Examples, and I think too that 
this is a good idea, because "tests" are not written always like "good 
examples" or "apps", as we try to maximize the coverage in "tests" (at the 
cost of some "task logic" sometimes).

>I am not so sure how folks in Europe/US think about buying a book that
>costs $60 in order to understand a library.  I am not talking of a
>company or university but of some average user who wants to do

I do not follow you exactly :) OK, I'm not familiar with these issues, but 
is there a lot of independent programmers using VTK for fun ? OK VTK is 
fun, but there are funnier things to do :) If you are a company or even a 
small group of programmers focusing on VTK, $60 is "peanuts" comparing to 
the other investments. And for a university or a lab, this should be no 

>I think VTK is wonderful for doing just that but
>unfortunately, its hard to get a feel for it without free docs.  I am
>sure you will find more users if there were free docs.

Let's say that it would be cool to have a free "intermediate" doc. 
Something between "nothing" and the "user's guide".

The best that I could do is :
Not enough.

>One of the
>greatest things about most free software is they come with free docs.

Perl comes with free docs. But Jesus, the "Perl Cookbook" (O'Reilly) is an 
incredibly valuable ressource, and I do not regret every buck I put in it.

>That said I wouldnt mind helping with writing these docs.  But as
>David says we all have limited time and I am really no expert at VTK.

A kind of "task-oriented" book would be nice. A joint effort ? But I guess 
someone will have to pay for that.

>We need more stuff like that.  Do you folks have any idea on
>how we can go about improving documentation?  Maybe set up some kind
>of Wiki page where we can add stuff?  Something along the lines of
>what the wxPython folks do?

I will switch my "VTK links" page to a "open portal structure" within the 
summer. I'll try to put a code/snippet section. I'd definitely love to 
achieve something like, which looks like the best 
portal I've seen. A "Code Galley" will be in.

But I'll be honest : if I only I could received as many "Links to valuable 
info" than "How can I do that in VTK ?" emails in my mailbox, we would all 
be happy.

>The other thing that would be nice is for more binary distributions of
>VTK.  Atleast VTK for different versions of linux should be available.
>Nightly rpms built on RH 5.2 arent good enough. :(

VTK will move to Dart this summer (won't it ?). Maybe it can help deploy 
build/test on different platforms ?

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