Re: Documenting YP Development Environment in more detail

Bruce Ashfield <bruce.ashfield@...>

On 13-06-20 04:40 AM, Rifenbark, Scott M wrote:

Recently, Paul, Ross, Richard and I had a video conference meeting where we had some initial discussion on how to satisfy YOCTO #2808 (, which calls for an illustration showing source and destination directories during a build using YP. This bug originated from a discussion Dave Stewart and I had a while back around an idea of a more detailed "flow diagram" that would go into greater detail than the now famous and ubiquitous "The Yocto Project Development Environment" illustration, which appears in the YP Quick Start ( and has been used in many other places and in many other forms (some quite elaborate).

We can't really create a completely accurate, all-encompassing illustration that breaks apart the entire build process. It is not a static thing and it is quite complicated inside the BitBake process. We can, however, show where metadata comes from, how it is provided, what it defines, where and how source files are found, what processes occur, what output is produced, and where it ends up. We can also provide some sort of idea of how key BitBake and environment variables affect things along the way. The idea here is to dig deeper into this conceptual figure and root out the details to a level that would be useful to the user but not impossible to maintain or develop. This type of information can be communicated through a mix of several illustrations with supporting text.

This first meeting started with some detailed discussion of the configuration inputs for a typical YP build but soon migrated to discussing the bigger picture and possible ways to provide more information. It became obvious we were not going to dig the solution and all the needed information out in one short meeting. Consequently, I am sending out this email to help open up some discussion on the issue and to also solicit information for some basic blocks of information.

Two things are needed at this point: 1) a presentation solution for this new and more detailed information, and 2) a starting point on some of the information itself.


Here are some thoughts on how to present this information. There are disadvantages and advantages to each of these methods of which I will not list. I would like to see what people think about them:

* Manual - Create a section in the "Technical Details" Chapter of the YP Reference Manual that holds this information. The section would be pretty much self-contained and would consist of several illustrations that would stem from an overall figure that is similar to the figure we now have in the YP Quick Start. However, we would use a drill-down strategy that would progressively reveal more detail through subsequent figures. This method is similar to how hardware devices used to be documented where functional blocks would be connected and described in one area and then subsequent areas would elaborate more deeply on a particular block. Linking within the manual could connect up the various functional blocks (inputs, outputs, and tasks) that comprise the overall flow.

* Manual / Website Mix - Devise a mix between the YP Reference Manual and some pages in the YP Website that provide the information. Create a section in the "Technical details" Chapter of the YP Reference Manual that covers this information at a high level. For example, the overall flow of the system with its "big-block" inputs and outputs and tasks could be discussed at some length. Links in the text could go to the YP website where more detail would be revealed. This strategy effectively splits the content into "overview" and "details" between the manual and website, respectively.

* Website - With this strategy, everything is pretty much in the YP website. This area would exist in a stand-alone fashion. However, you could link to the website from within the existing YP documentation set from existing areas that deal with the build process. Several exit points from within the manual set already exist. We would obviously add a primary one as well that would likely originate from the YP Reference Manual's "Technical Details" Chapter.


We can get started now on this by starting to define details for some obvious points or large areas of the flow. What would be nice to get would be some graphical breakdowns of these areas of concern:

* User-defined layers
* YP provided layers
* User configuration
* Machine Configuration
* Policy Configuration
* Patches
* YP provided recipes
* User provided source code
* YP provided source code
* SCMs
* Generated images
* Generated SDKs/toolchains
* Package Output
* Source fetching process
* Patch application process
* Configuration process (fragments, etc.)
Hi Scott,

Just so I'm clear .. are you looking for graphical breakdowns to be created and sent,
or information offered so graphical breakdowns can be created ?

The reason I ask, is that if there's any interest in the linux-yocto
(for lack of a better term) flow being described graphically, I'm
happy to offer up information, but my graphical skills are limited
to what you find in a typical hackers bag of ticks :)



* Key variable use and effects
* User-initiated commands along the way

Much of this list is directly from our existing "The Yocto Project Development Environment" illustration.

Scott R.

Scott Rifenbark
Intel Corporation
Yocto Project Documentation
503.341.0418 (cell)

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