Prezmyslaw says the advantages are that "doclets" (small combinable chunks of documentation) can be slightly more easily edited from within a web interface, allowing local admins to maintain their own documentation for everything. And also texts can have version numbers. (Prezmyslaw, forgive me if I've misrepresented it here - please correct me if necessary).
As I see it we would lose some advantages of the current system, where:
- CVS maintains versions and a history of changes for us.
- CVS allows many people to fix things (and this happens a lot).
- Having documentation in files also allows blocks, modules, etc to carry their own documentation along with them (in lang subdirectories) which easily migrate to being part of the main core documentation when the module does
- The help files are bundled together with the string files currently, which is very convenient.
The only way I can see to try and maintain these advantages in a database version would be to develop an XML format for documentation, concatenating all the help files inside them.
There will have to be some serious coding applied to deal with help files in blocks and other modules, handling different versions by importing/exporting data to/from the database and the XML files. These will have to be written into the Moodle tree anyway (somewhere), so they can be made distributable...
It's all possible with work, but I'm not sure it's worth all the trouble, particularly as I'm not convinced of the doclet approach in the first place ... I don't know of any other documentation for any system that regularly combines fragments of documentation onto one page, and I'm still not sure of the benefits of orienting the whole documentation effort towards this ...
Prezmyslaw, can you convince us this is the way we need to go? I think before moving ahead with this you need to really clearly lay out the plan in all its details for us, otherwise I see potential for a lot of time to be wasted on yet more development and a big change in direction for all developers instead of just creating documentation.
I still like the Wiki idea ...