Thoughts on documentation going forward

• Jul 13, 2020 - 17:30

As we start planning MuseScore 4, I think we have an opportunity to rethink our overall documentation picture a bit. Right now we have the Handbook, the outdated MuseScore in Minutes videos (produced for 2.0 and never updated), my equally outdated Mastering MuseScore book, my more up-to-date online course, a mish-mash of various How To and Tutorial articles, and any number of other resources one can find online.

I am starting to form some of my own thoughts about what I personally might like to see and want to try to make happen for MuseScore 4. But I'm curious what thoughts others might have as well.


In reply to by Shoichi

That would be a good idea (lowercase x, though, please, and a visible period in between number and ‘x’).

In fact, the MuseScore developers expect users to keep the old versions around for old scores due to the whole layout engine change, so having the old documentation around would be not just immensely helpful but also necessary. (Perhaps add the 1.x docs, too?)

Also: stable URLs, so that links never break. I think you did that already, with handbook/ vs. handbook3/.

The handbook is generally very good, and comprehensive, but is more of a reference guide than a how-to guide. Maybe a whole chapter on common scenarios would be helpful. Sometimes, I know what I want to achieve and I know it's in the manual but I can't quite make the connection.

In reply to by DanielR

Yes, I definitely want see something like this return. Although I think they can be improved to be less "feature" and more "use case" oriented - so one can see a bunch of features all relating to, say, creating a vocal score, or piano score, at once. One doesn't necessarily need five minutes just on articulations & dynamics - might be more depth than one needs. That's one of my thoughts, anyhow.

Hi Marc,
I'm a satisfied user of the Mastering MuseScore book, which I'll agree is more of a reference than a how-to course. But I look things up in it all the time, and find it useful. I also see the challenge in keeping it up to date with a dynamic program such as this. I would welcome updated tutorials and online help topics, but I also see the wisdom of maintaining Mastering MuseScore as a comprehensive document. Perhaps the purchase of a new edition in PDF form, or a new web-based document, entitling the user to updated versions, accompanied by summaries of changes, for a reasonable fee or subscription rate would solve this. I know I would buy it. I hope you'll consider this as you develop the next form of documentation.

In reply to by JoeJazz2000

Thanks for the feedback! I agree having a printed manual available is a great thing. At the time I wrote it, the free online Handbook was rather skimpier than it is now. Over the years the Handbook has gotten better and better, and it generally stays up to date well. But it too will need to be largely rewritten for MuseScore 4. So what one thing I am thinking is, maybe as part of the rewrite of the Handbook that is going to be necessary anyhow, we go the extra mile and make it as good as Mastering MuseScore. So, we could still offer it online for free, still offer a PDF for download, but could also make a printed version of that PDF available for purchase as well. Then there is only one document to need to keep up to date, and a whole community of people helping do so.

Of course, as soon as we talk about selling something there is the question of how to handle the finances. I have some ideas there too, but that's not something that has to be decided right now, we're really brainstorming right now.

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