[Owasp-leaders] Proposal for changing OWASP Documentation

Jim Manico jim.manico at owasp.org
Wed Feb 17 05:04:05 UTC 2016


This sounds very reasonable to me, Johanna.

If folks are willing to put the work in at GitHub or any other modern 
repository to build substantial application security content- then rock 
on. I am eager to see the fruits of your and others work.

Best,
Jim




On 2/16/16 9:59 PM, johanna curiel curiel wrote:
> Hey Jim, no one has implied to delete the wiki .
>
> Just to provide these documentation projects an opportunity to start 
> moving their content and make it more cohesive and sharing.
>
> The wiki is the actual OWASP portal so before there is a full 
> replacement it will take some years.
>
> But as people work on more cohesive , collaborative way and managing 
> content wise with Github markdown as proposed by Gary, I believe that 
> you can take out a lot of redundant content and automatically, this 
> will become 'obsolete'. A lot of the possibilities of exporting 
> content and collaboration are much better with Github markdown (such 
> as transforming content automatically to other formats or reusing it). 
> We start over on the Github.
>
> We are planning to do the same with the Project's portal as the 
> content has become unmanageable and not so user friendly. It does not 
> support many of our necessary processes.
>
>  Like the legacy app, you can't just get rid off it from one day to 
> another but it requires a transformation and migration ;-).
>
> Hope this clarifies the purpose and goal.
>
> Cheers
>
> Johanna
>
>
>
> On Wed, Feb 17, 2016 at 12:48 AM, Jim Manico <jim.manico at owasp.org 
> <mailto:jim.manico at owasp.org>> wrote:
>
>     Johanna,
>
>     There is plenty of good content on the wiki. I think "migration of
>     content" is probably more realistic that "starting over". Just a
>     thought, but please do as you wish as long as you do not delete
>     the wiki. It's in heavy active use.
>
>     Aloha,
>     - Jim
>
>
>     On 2/16/16 9:41 PM, johanna curiel curiel wrote:
>>     >>I do not think - at all - that starting over is a good idea. There
>>     are thousands of hours of work in the wiki that should not be so
>>     quickly dismissed. And there are plenty of people still actively
>>     working on the wiki.
>>
>>     Jim, Jim... you sound like a dev in love with his legacy ;-p.
>>     Sometimes, you need to kill your darlings. I like hearing
>>     solutions and unfortunately revising 8000+ content and hiring
>>     skilled force for that is not feasible imho.
>>
>>     I respect and understand your pov but the documentation projects
>>     have their own set of necessities and appropriate experts/authors
>>     to carry on these task. Also, they have the materials and scope
>>     that need proper revision. If they start with these set of
>>     projects (OpenSamm, Code Review, Developer guide, Security
>>     Framework) and implement many of the things in the Testing guide
>>     ,it will provide cohesive content, something that we are missing
>>     from the wiki. With the support of Security Framework project
>>     leaders to manage the system, I think this consider a feasible
>>     solution.
>>
>>     One that I think deserves the try.
>>
>>     On Wed, Feb 17, 2016 at 12:30 AM, Jim Manico
>>     <jim.manico at owasp.org <mailto:jim.manico at owasp.org>> wrote:
>>
>>         I do not think - at all - that starting over is a good idea.
>>         There are thousands of hours of work in the wiki that should
>>         not be so quickly dismissed. And there are plenty of people
>>         still actively working on the wiki.
>>
>>         Keep in mind, starting over means folks need to build all
>>         this new content from scratch. It is not easy to find skilled
>>         folks to add all that new content, which takes us back to
>>         square one.
>>
>>         One page at at a time. If you see any content that is out of
>>         date, please continue to inform me directly and I'll do
>>         something about it as quickly as I can with the help of the
>>         other editors who continue to work on the wiki.
>>
>>         - Jim
>>
>>
>>         On 2/16/16 9:26 PM, johanna curiel curiel wrote:
>>>         >>Good stuff. I think the best way to approach this is to
>>>         get a team to walk through our 8000+ page wiki
>>>         and categorise pages that need categorizing.
>>>
>>>         I believe in divide and conquer but also , at a certain
>>>         moment, you need to focus on the approach.
>>>
>>>         I don't think walking through those 8000+ is realistic,
>>>         cheap or feasible not even for a hired qualified team.
>>>
>>>         I  think this problem is similar to having a very old, big,
>>>         legacy application no one understands and no one wants to
>>>         work with. What most business do?
>>>
>>>         /Start from scratch, a new one./
>>>
>>>         I think the focus here is for documentation existing
>>>         projects to markup their documents and work form there.
>>>         Focusing on those 8000+ is not feasible.
>>>
>>>         As Jim said, the people that wants to edit seem  not to be
>>>         /qualified/ enough to edit and the people that are
>>>         /qualified/, well, they do not have time nor feel like
>>>         editing on the wiki ;-P
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>         On Tue, Feb 16, 2016 at 11:53 PM, Jim Manico
>>>         <jim.manico at owasp.org <mailto:jim.manico at owasp.org>> wrote:
>>>
>>>             Gary,
>>>
>>>             Good stuff. I think the best way to approach this is to
>>>             get a team to walk through our 8000+ page wiki and
>>>             categorize pages that need categorizing. That would
>>>             "bucket" content as you suggested in prep for any move
>>>             into "folders" (and make the wiki a better place as it
>>>             is). We already have a wiki template system to help mark
>>>             old or dead content (
>>>             https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Template:TaggedDocument
>>>             ) and wiki markup makes content categorization easy by
>>>             adding a wiki category to any page.
>>>
>>>             I am personally a big fan of the wiki and wiki-markup. I
>>>             would hate to dump the many thousand people-years of
>>>             work in there.
>>>
>>>             > *Big downside*: there’s a large piece of work to start
>>>             it off.  All content would need to get organized, put
>>>             into sensible structure, converted to markdown, argued
>>>             over, ‘experts’ defined and assigned, etc.  I doubt this
>>>             would be a volunteer effort, and may need contractor
>>>             involvement.  Could this be combined with the OWASP wiki
>>>             redesign?
>>>
>>>             Yea, exactly. The process of trying to update the wiki
>>>             (or at least handle dated content that others are
>>>             concerned about) is already in place and some folks like
>>>             myself and members the wiki editorial team have slowly
>>>             been going over wiki content and trying to make it more
>>>             honest on a page by page level. The problem is the sheer
>>>             volume and the lack of tools to aid in the process.
>>>
>>>             Another problem is how do we hire? We need content folks
>>>             who understand application security, these are not cheap
>>>             hires. We've made the call for volunteers to help with
>>>             wiki cleanup, but only found a few volunteers to help
>>>             and only 2 are active.  Any honestly, we need rather
>>>             thoughtful and skilled volunteers who really get
>>>             application security, and they are hard to find in 2016.
>>>
>>>             I'm not sure what the best path is to handle the wiki
>>>             mess before us, so in the meantime I'm crunching through
>>>             one page at a time, one request at a time, and one
>>>             cleanup at a time. If anyone wants to help accelerate
>>>             this with hands-on help and assistance, I'm all ears and
>>>             am eager for your help. In my experience a lot of folks
>>>             have ideas and plans to make the wiki better, but very
>>>             few are willing to do the work. I mean that
>>>             respectfully, I understand how busy everyone is.
>>>
>>>             I think the best kind of leadership is getting your
>>>             hands dirty and leading by example. If you want to help
>>>             dive in and start looking at the scope of the wiki
>>>             problem with me, sign up at
>>>             https://lists.owasp.org/mailman/listinfo/owasp-wiki-editors
>>>             and introduce yourself and expand on your plan. I'd be
>>>             glad to give you a tour around the wiki and show you
>>>             whats up. I do not blame you if you bail. Several folks
>>>             joined with enthusiastic desire to help, but then bailed
>>>             once they saw the scope of the problem. In the meantime,
>>>             one page at a time is all I got. :)
>>>
>>>             Aloha,
>>>             Jim
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>             On 2/14/16 1:30 PM, Gary Robinson wrote:
>>>>
>>>>             Hi Folks,
>>>>
>>>>             I want to reach out to the leaders and bring up the
>>>>             subject of OWASP docs projects, in fact all OWASP
>>>>             documentation including wiki and text available to our
>>>>             code projects as well.  I’ll try to keep this e-mail
>>>>             brief so won’t get bogged in details, but generally I
>>>>             want to know if the community experiences the same
>>>>             pains, see the same opportunities, or has other
>>>>             suggestions for improvement.
>>>>
>>>>             The issues that can arise from our current method of
>>>>             developing our various docs include:
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>              1. Draft content that exists in the wiki.  This may be
>>>>                 in varying states (correct, incorrect, lousy,
>>>>                 confused, etc.) and is visible to the internet and
>>>>                 typically not clearly labelled as draft.  Google
>>>>                 ‘owasp purple monkey dishwasher’ for an example of
>>>>                 a draft wiki page visible to the internet.  This
>>>>                 content also needs to get cleaned up after a
>>>>                 project release.
>>>>              2. Substandard descriptions/content can get into our
>>>>                 docs.  Getting people to review every
>>>>                 line/example/diagram/appendix is difficult with a
>>>>                 volunteer organization (as other threads have
>>>>                 discussed)
>>>>              3. Duplications happen, as 10 different projects
>>>>                 create/copy/paste their definitions of topics such
>>>>                 as XSS, SQLi, CSRF, etc.  This wastes effort in an
>>>>                 organization already constrained of active volunteers.
>>>>              4. Content gets out-of-date. The work to create a new
>>>>                 version of a doc project takes years.
>>>>
>>>>             I’m sure some readers will be mentally adding their own
>>>>             issues to this list.
>>>>
>>>>             Proposal:
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>             Bringing together discussions with a few people over
>>>>             the last few years (you know who you are), I’m
>>>>             proposing the following: we write our docs with
>>>>             reusable resources. What would this mean?  Something
>>>>             similar to the following:
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>              1. We dump all of the content from our wiki, current
>>>>                 docs, descriptions in code tools, etc.  We put it
>>>>                 into markup (as some projects are already doing)
>>>>                 and add it to source code repositories.
>>>>              2. We share doc markup files _across ALL docs and code
>>>>                 projects_. For example, imagine we have a folder
>>>>                 for SQLi. This directory contains the OWASP ‘golden
>>>>                 source’ for SQLi definition, examples, code, tests,
>>>>                 etc. Repeat for all other AppSec issues (CSRF, cert
>>>>                 pinning, etc.). We use a mechanism to ‘compile’
>>>>                 these markdown files into PDFs and integrate into
>>>>                 code project HTML pages.
>>>>              3. Similar to good coding projects, we control who can
>>>>                 edit the files under certain directories – people
>>>>                 we know have expertise in an area.  Edits get peer
>>>>                 reviewed before submission.  Other people can
>>>>                 suggest edits and prove their experience to the
>>>>                 existing team to join it.
>>>>              4. We allow anyone to ‘include’ this markup file into
>>>>                 their project.  So if the Code Review Guide wants
>>>>                 to add a section on SQLi, and needs a definition, I
>>>>                 don’t write it (or copy from wiki), I simply
>>>>                 include the relevant markup file.  Same for testing
>>>>                 guide, dev guide, ZAP hints page, security shepherd
>>>>                 info page, cheetsheet, and on and on.
>>>>              5. We allow all of our docs, plus the wiki, plus all
>>>>                 code projects, to dynamically use an markup file
>>>>                 update.  We make this ‘real time’. This needs an
>>>>                 example.  Say in March a massive change occurs in
>>>>                 the world of SQLi.  Right now any project that
>>>>                 talks about SQLi would need to manually go in and
>>>>                 update, and those updates will be of varying
>>>>                 quality and content.  If, instead, one (true)
>>>>                 source file was update, all those other projects
>>>>                 could spot the change and automatically rebuild
>>>>                 themselves, meaning the next person to download a
>>>>                 development guide PDF, or view the wiki, would get
>>>>                 the updated SQLi information.
>>>>                  1. This is a big change.  This may be a
>>>>                     controversial change. _However it would greatly
>>>>                     reduce our workload_ (only one markup document
>>>>                     needs to get updated).  It will also _greatly
>>>>                     reduce review tasks_, as everyone is sharing
>>>>                     core content which is reviewed once. It also
>>>>                     improves our image to the world, as all
>>>>                     projects have the same great descriptions and
>>>>                     content.
>>>>                  2. This change also improves our responsiveness.
>>>>                     Imagine a heartbleed type issue being reflected
>>>>                     in all OWASP code and documentation projects,
>>>>                     as well as the wiki/cheetsheets, within a few
>>>>                     days?  (simply the time for the team to agree
>>>>                     updates to the text/examples/descriptions,
>>>>                     review, and submit)
>>>>              6. We should also make these markup files available to
>>>>                 anyone on the internet (read only).  This way the
>>>>                 source descriptions become an OWASP resource it
>>>>                 itself, and anyone out there needing to spread the
>>>>                 word on AppSec has easy access to rock solid,
>>>>                 up-to-date definitions.
>>>>
>>>>             This changes the model, from people like myself who run
>>>>             ‘projects’, to smaller expert teams who know
>>>>             ‘technologies’ (such as SQLi or IIS secure
>>>>             configuration).  It focuses people where they want to
>>>>             be on docs projects, but easily shares that knowledge
>>>>             across all OWASP (and more) projects.  It also means
>>>>             there’d never be another need to clean-up the wiki – it
>>>>             would always be based off the markup content.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>             *Big downside*: there’s a large piece of work to start
>>>>             it off.  All content would need to get organized, put
>>>>             into sensible structure, converted to markdown, argued
>>>>             over, ‘experts’ defined and assigned, etc.  I doubt
>>>>             this would be a volunteer effort, and may need
>>>>             contractor involvement.  Could this be combined with
>>>>             the OWASP wiki redesign?
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>             So… the ask from the community, what are your thoughts?
>>>>             Could this be a viable option to save us time on
>>>>             docs/descriptions and increase quality?  Would there be
>>>>             funds to perform the initial conversion of everything
>>>>             into markup pages?  Would there be resistance to
>>>>             working in this new model?
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>             Gary
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>             _______________________________________________
>>>>             OWASP-Leaders mailing list
>>>>             OWASP-Leaders at lists.owasp.org
>>>>             <mailto:OWASP-Leaders at lists.owasp.org>
>>>>             https://lists.owasp.org/mailman/listinfo/owasp-leaders
>>>
>>>
>>>             _______________________________________________
>>>             OWASP-Leaders mailing list
>>>             OWASP-Leaders at lists.owasp.org
>>>             <mailto:OWASP-Leaders at lists.owasp.org>
>>>             https://lists.owasp.org/mailman/listinfo/owasp-leaders
>>>
>>>
>>
>>
>
>

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