What about a manual?

That would indeed be a good idea, but from an SEO point of view (and for people that read up before they start) an online version should be there as well.

1 Like

Agreed. Not everybody will use the UI and having it on the web means there’s at least a possibility of Google offering to translate it for those that might not know English very well.

1 Like

Wow! Excellent work!

1 Like

Making progress…

Duplicati User’s Manual Rev. 0.2


Yet more awesome work - thanks!

Though I have to ask, do we need permission to use the various logos?

Hmm… I’m not a lawyer, I’m not sure about this. Does the text on the second page allow the use of the logos?

Whoops - missed that copy, sorry. I’d say that’s probably good enough.

It’s not like they’re being used for profit (which I think is usually the sticking point). :slight_smile:

Added Chapter 3 (Using the Graphical User Interface), making the manual a bit useful.
Almost hitting the 100th page. Never thought it would be such an extensive report. Still a lot to add.

Duplicati User’s Manual Rev. 0.3

1 Like

I used to write end training manuals for SAP. Best part of the day was seeing how wide people’s eyes got when seeing the size of the training docs for the first time. 8-O

This is really good; it’s exactly what Duplicati needs. However, you haven’t yet covered the main command line application, Duplicati.CommandLine.exe. It took me some time to figure out how to use the “find” command with my local database. Duplicati really needs more documentation and FAQ’s.

I’ve had so many questions along the way when trying to use it for the first time, like whether I can clone my entire backup to another location (rather than just cloning the configuration); haven’t seen anything on that so I had to run the initial backup sequence twice… I’ve been wondering if it would be possible to hook up common diff tools somehow, if I could somehow commit backups without having to store the uncommitted files first, whether there are potential dangers if I move around the source or destination folders, etc.

Yes, kees-z’s documentation work is pretty good. :slight_smile:

As for the rest, is it stuff you want to know or stuff you figured out on your own?

Documenting a tool like Duplicati can be very difficult because of the various usage scenarios different users might find for it. If we document them all then the manual will be so big it would scare most users away.

That’s partly why the forum was started just a few months ago - to provide a place for users to ask questions not covered by the existing “most common use” documentation.

Most of the stuff I have not yet figured out and still don’t know how (besides just asking each question). People don’t want to bother asking 10 questions just to figure out how to use a product. There’s a certain ratio of botherability, and the less a person has to bother, the more likely they will use and continue to use a product. It will also give them more confidence while they are using it.

You could take the Resilio Sync and Mozilla Firefox approach, which I really like: answer many various questions in the form of mini-articles (about the size of a single category in the existing Duplicati articles up to half the size of those articles) and keep them organized. Then, provide a search function and the ability to submit new questions and give feedback. This kind of help is not daunting at all; it is inviting.


11 posts were split to a new topic: Can I clone my entire backup to a new location?

Revision 0.4 to serve commandline lovers: added commandline tools description, advanced options and a few appendices. Document has grown to 147 pages. Phew!

Duplicati User’s Manual Rev. 0.4


Should I link to it from www.duplicati.com ? Or do you want to write more stuff first?

1 Like

It’s getting more and more complete, but some information still should be added. At the moment I’m working on a description of the Duplicati.CommandLine.RecoveryTool.exe tool. I guess this tool needs some special attention, because it provides some insight how the backup and restore process works. In addition to that, this tool plays a crucial role in disaster recovery scenarios. So what’s available is still a pre-release, some essential info is still missing.

I upload these early versions, hoping that one or more reviewers read the full text and submit corrections. English it not my native language, so there might be some spelling errors and weird sentence structures.

Once complete, I can think of the following uses:

  • Add a link to the PDF on the website
  • Include the manual in the installation packages
  • Somehow convert the PDF to HTML and publish it somehow like this. This also makes it easier to keep the documentation updated. Maybe the online documentation can be easily converted back to PDF for inclusion in the install package.
1 Like

Really a great job!

Regarding publication of the finished document I’d like to suggest three things:

  1. publish the pdf under a single URL, so one knows where to find the latest version (ideally, the url doesn’t change when the document is updated),
  2. publish it under a creative commons license (or the like) instead of copyright
  3. copy and paste each section (or sub-section) into a new topic here on the forum to make it searchable. It’s probably also a good idea to add a link to the pdf manual at the beginning of each post, mentioning that what follows is an excerpt of that manual.
1 Like

I don’t think that’s the best way to put a manual online. There are multiple open source alternatives for this that will make reading through it easier and information searchable. Manual in a forum are always more messy and multiple editors is more difficult to manage.

But the other two points I agree :+1:

1 Like

The point here is not to put a manual online. That is done by publishing the pdf document (or whatever the preferred method may be). The point is to make the information in the manual discoverable for people coming to the forum with a support issue.

That I understand, but what’s wrong with linking to a different part of the website where the manual is available. I think for maintaining the manual its easier to do it from a descent system, a forum isn’t really the tool for documenting a manual.

As a side note: a PDF isn’t really the way to go either. It’s nice if it could be exported for offline and printing purposes but online is better searchable and linkable (same for indexing in search engines).