The RIPE NCC is currently revising the RIPE Database documentation as requested by the community at recent RIPE Meetings. The goal is to produce one complete and accurate set of documentation that fully describes all aspects of the RIPE Database. The documentation will be a collection of small documents that will be published as soon as they become available. Over the coming months, you can expect to see a steady supply of these new documents. The current documentation will be available until the new set is complete.
The Current Documentation
The publicly available RIPE Database documentation currently consists of two major documents, the RIPE Database Query Reference Manual and the RIPE Database Update Reference Manual, as well as a collection of web pages on the ripe.net website. With every new release of the software to the Release Candidate (RC) Test Environment, these reference manuals are revised and a new version published.
There is also a “Getting Started" user manual for the RIPE Database. This is outdated and has been marked as obsolete. The other documentation webpages on ripe.net contain a mixture of relevant and obsoleted information, which need to be reviewed, cleaned up, and the relevant information integrated into the new documentation.
The Routing Policy Specification Language (RPSL) version of the RIPE Database was released in 2001. Due to the advancement of the Internet and increase in issued resources since then, the RIPE Database has grown in complexity with more features and tighter business rules to maintain accurate data. In turn, its documentation has changed. In particular, the reference manuals now consist of many pages and are not necessarily easy to search or understand, particularly for newer users.
We believe that the RIPE Database is used by many members of the RIPE community on a day-to-day basis and therefore, we want to provide documentation that addresses practical usage.
There will be a full set of documentation linked to every software release. If you are still running a previous version of the software locally, you will still be able to access documentation that is specifically related to that release via ripe.net.
Regarding the documentation itself, the main goal is for this to be better organised and easily searchable. All documents will be indexed and cross-referenced from one place - a “master” index page serving as a table of contents.
To make the information even more accessible, particularly for newcomers to the RIPE Database, we are splitting up sections within both the current reference manuals and publishing these on ripe.net as individual web pages. However, we appreciate that some RIPE Database users may prefer the option of one complete manual and are therefore implementing this option to export the full set of documentation as a single .pdf document.
We will develop a glossary of terms defining common words, phrases, acronyms and abbreviations used when talking about the RIPE Database and the data.
We will also provide helpful information about business and syntax rules that will help you to maintain the accuracy of your data.
We invite community feedback regarding these changes to RIPE Database documentation and particularly welcome any suggestions as to how we can make the documentation more appropriate for your day-to-day operations. Please send any feedback or content requests to the Database Working Group Mailing List by Wednesday, 30 July 2014 so that your input can be incorporated into our planning. You can also leave a comment under the article.