Is anyone interested in a reference handbook?

(Bwiechering) #1

I just want to ask if anyone would be interested in a reference ebook for every module in Rack. This will be in German :wink:

(Joopvanderlinden) #2

Sounds interesting. PDF or paper?

(Joopvanderlinden) #3

Oh, sorry. Missed the “ebook” part. (because it looks so real) Yes, interested!

(Nik Jewell) #4

I can’t say I’d be very interested in a German version myself, but that aside, I’m sure you must appreciate the sysiphean nature of the task if you are intending to keep it upated.

A little over a year ago I began a website, spent money on commercial WordPress plugins, to build a types based online database of all the modules. Unfortunately I had to abandon the project mid way through due to my partner becoming seriously ill.

There were about 400 modules then; I have 1447 in my Rack installation now. It took me an age just to screen shot those modules, and many of those have had changes since and would have needed it again.

Don’t let me discourage you - if you pull it off then you have my utter respect. If you do attempt it, if you search the FB group, Frank Buss published a Rack fork way back with a Python script, that could auto generate all the module faceplates (that was after all my screenshot extravaganza !). That will save you a heap of time if you can get it working.

Best of luck !

(Bwiechering) #5

Yep, you’re right. It is something you could not do in a few months. And I think I have to filter out some stuff :wink: … I was also thinking about an online version, because it’s easier to keep it up to date…

(Richie Hindle) #6

Would a lightly-structured wiki be better? Authors and/or fans of particular modules could create and maintain pages for those modules.

Pages could contain:

  • A text summary of the module (which would make them all searchable in one place).

  • A list of the tags for the modules, again for searchability. (I have a thing about searchability - the current Plugins Store offends me. :slight_smile: )

  • Links to:

    • the module’s home page, manual, etc.
    • related modules.
    • videos that use the module (and/or embedded videos)
    • patches that use the module.
    • forum posts that discuss the module.

With the new metadata in Rack 1.0 plugins, some of this information could be populated automatically from the plugins themselves.

(Nik Jewell) #7

@richie Absolutely. If the faceplates and all the metadata can be automagically extracted then we’re half way there already.

I rapidly appreciated that this was a job beyond any one person !

(Bwiechering) #8

Yep, a wiki would be the best option :+1: …and I think English might be the better language…

(Skrylar) #9


(Andrew Belt) #10

In order to contribute your German documentation effort in the most constructive way, you should focus on the following things

  • do not manually curate anything that can be automated.
  • keep the content generic and unopinionated, so your readers can develop trust in you as a documentation authority.
  • keep it up-to-date so the project does not exist only in a blip of time.

The only way I see that this could be done, in a way that will help a significant number of people, is to collaborate with someone who wants to tackle the task of creating the future “Modular Grid” for Rack plugins (which should use the plugin.json metadata files), convince them to internationalize their site, convince them to add a comment or wiki section, and write about each module in those boxes.

IMO any information you write now without forethought of the distribution, organization, and updating, will be seen by no more than a couple hundred people and then be buried and lost to time. It’s harsh, but that’s the nature of writing. It must be organized and “advertised” (i.e. by posting on the likely-popular “Modular Grid”-like database). People will not come running to download your book—you have to give them a reason.

(Bwiechering) #11

Ok, I decided for an online resource … a wiki. Something where every module page looks some kinda like this:

Short introduction, picture, some data and links, a little bit of information to the parts of the module.
I know it’s a lot of work, but I’m really passionate and love to edit stuff like that. It’s a good idea to automate some stuff … I will see what’s possible. I’ll do it as a reference for me, in the first place. But to make it more accessible to other users, it’ll be in English.
As soon as there is enough content I’ll post a link…

(Omri Cohen) #12

Oh wow… Looks good! Thank you :slight_smile:

(Soothsayers) #13

very cool, merci vielmals

(Nikolai V. Chr.) #14

I think a wiki is a good idea.
My anti-virus warns me about if thats where you are hosting it. But could be false positive.


Try take a look at
Its is also free and its run by open-source and donations, but without the same limitations you have on slimwiki (1 admin, 1GB etc).
I made a wiki there, and I was quite satisfied with it.

(Bwiechering) #15

Thanks for your tipp. No, I don’t want to use SlimWiki. I was just dabblin’ a little bit. I think I will self-host a MediaWiki. But I like the look of SlimWiki … very nice.

(Stephan) #16

great idea :+1:
I’m looking forward to it
would have loved a german version too :wink:
but I understand youdecision to do it in english
and a wiki is good for this imho

(Norbert Denninger) #17

Hi Bernd, vielleicht können wir zusammenarbeiten oder uns zumindest abstimmen, denn Deine Idee sieht meinem laufenden Projekt sehr ähnlich.

Herzliche Grüße aus Coburg

(Rainer Birlin) #18

Hallo, das ist ja mal eine tolle, und wie mir scheint vernünftige Idee mit dem Wiki. Ich habe schon vor über einem Jahr damit angefangen die englischen Dokus der Module (im wesentlichen mit “deepL”) ins deutsche zu übersetzen und habe so aktuell von 37 Herstellern insgesamt ca. 400 Module übersetzt und nachbearbeitet. Die Texte und Screenshots etc. der Module habe ich dann in “OpenOffice Writer” Dateien abgelegt. Der Übersichtlichkeit und Größe wegen für jeden Hersteller in einer separaten Datei. Suchen, sortieren und aufrufen kann man die Dateien, mit entsprechenden Sprungmarken zu dem gewählten Modul, dann innerhalb einer “OpenOffice Calc” Datei (Wie Excel). Das ist ja eine sehr zeitaufwändige Sache und wenn ich mit diesen Dateien bzw. Übersetzungen (oder sonst irgendwie) zu dem Projekt beitragen könnte würde mich das sehr freuen.

Herzliche Grüße aus Karlsruhe

(Nikolai V. Chr.) #19

In my opinion it is a good idea to setup a wiki if its something we can all edit in, keeping up to date with 1000+ modules is a little daunting for 1 person.
And if you host it, will you supply regular backups of the entire wiki to the community, so all can not get lost? I think that needs to be done to give confidence that all our edits and uploads wont suddenly be gone if you lose interest in VCV and pull the server down.
Maybe also could also ask Andrew Belt to use as domain.

I also think such a wiki could hold not only references on modules, but also info on Rack, developing info and help, maybe news etc. And it could be multi-language.

Just my 2 cents.


I think Andrew’s larger point is that at least some aspect of this will need to be automated in order to remain current — and therefore trustworthy to your target audience — without the ridiculous amount of effort it would require to manually update a module’s page every single time the module or plugin is updated.

A wiki would be perfect for this task, since it is a dynamic and constantly changing application which doesn’t require much effort to update, unlike a static PDF document which would need to be exported and redistributed every time any minor detail needs to be updated or corrected.

If you figure out some way to automatically import and parse the plugin.json files for each plugin, then use that information to update the affected module’s wiki page automatically as details change, your project would already be halfway finished. All that would be left for the users to do is edit the resulting pages to add usage instructions, tutorials, example video/audio, etc.