Welcome to our Apache project called cTAKES. May we direct your attention to the resources in the navigation section on the left.
<<< Those right over there.
If you need to know what cTAKES is, the About page in the General section will give you a cursory look at what cTAKES can do. Downloads is best left alone until you are directed there by the documentation.
The Community section is where you can interact with other people who use cTAKES as well as the people who contribute to the documentation and the code base. Use that part of the site to see how you can participate.
Next you will see sections for Users and Developers and PPMC (which includes Committers). Apache has their own definition of users matching these:
The ASF (Apache Software Foundation) section has to do with administrating Apache projects in general.
The bulk of the cTAKES documentation is on the Apache cTAKES wiki. You will eventually be directed there when you begin. The following sections will help you begin depending on how you see yourself interacting with the cTAKES code and the community.
Users are typically looking for the fastest way to get set up and try out the code. For this use case, cTAKES distributes a binary file (combined with resources from a separate site) to get you started. The downloads page is where you will go to find the latest stable binary distribution.
If you feel comfortable installing from README text then you can go right to the downloads page and get started. If you would like step-by-step instructions then look to the User Guide. The FAQs are very helpful for initial questions.
Being an Apache project, the source code is open to all. If you care to, you can download the source distribution from the downloads page or simply point your browser to the cTAKES source code.
Developers can also take a look at the code as a user does, but to do development you are going to need to checkout the code. Anyone can checkout the code, but you must get involved as a committer to actually check in code (or work closely with a committer who can).
Developers will need a development environment of some kind. Eclipse is popular, but your favorite command line tools or other IDEs will also work just fine. cTAKES builds are based on maven (another Apache project), so your IDE must support maven.
The Developer Guide and FAQs are where you want to start. You will find an extremely short set of install and build instructions, for those that have been through this many times, as well as step-by-step install and build instructions. Before you get started you'll want to know the conventions of how the Apache cTAKES committers use the trunk, branches, and tags.
So how do you get use out of cTAKES, in a nutshell? cTAKES is based on UIMA (another Apache project). UIMA brings a couple of GUI tools to the table for you to start getting an understanding of what the annotators do. The install guides will show how to launch these tools (Developers your guide shows how to launch from Eclipse) and then how to process some test text. After you understand what is going on you will be able to take out the GUIs and process large amounts of clinical text to meet your needs. In the end that's what this is all about.
Before you are authorized to check in code or modify web pages you must go through a short process. This process is defined in the FAQs for the PMC. For each part of cTAKES you will need some experience or be able to learn it. Code is maintained in subversion and built using maven. The documentation is maintained and served via Confluence. This web site is build from Apache's CMS which is a markdown syntax and build process. Issues are tracked via JIRA. Communication is done via unique email distribution lists.