Minimalist Online Docmentation

The Minimalist Online Documentation (MOD) format was designed to make it very easy to create and maintain a docmuentation-oriented web site such as this one. The design philosophy is to separate content and structure from presentation, so that multiple people could easily write documents that would all have the same look and feel.

A second philosophy is to favor simplicity over power; someone should be able to create fully functional documentation using MOD with only a minute or two of instruction. By limiting MOD to about ten tags, someone can pick up its full functionality in one sitting. By providing a simple and consistent means of specifying the structure of a document, we can create a consistent finished product even if many people contribute to the content.

Here are some of MOD's strengths and features:

  • Very easy to learn to use.
  • Ability to include as much or as little HTML as you'd like, and still get an attractive, consistent presentation.
  • Easily maintain multiple versions and presentations of the same content.
  • The generated web site can be created in a local directory, uploaded to an FTP server, or archived to a tar file.
  • Incremental updates: only the files that have been affected by a modification will be updated.
  • Since presentation is separated from content, it's easier to have multiple authors collaborating on a single site.
  • With templates, changing the look and feel of the site only requires modifying a single file.
  • MOD is free software. It is available under the terms and condititions of the GNU GPL.

MOD was conceived, designed, and written at the EMS Environment Institute to maintain the web pages for their computing facility, and the documentation for the system administrators. It was through the support of the Institute that this project was possible, and is now freely available for public use and modification. Logo