Oct 192006

Among the many things on my plate for documentation is this: I want to produce a number of articles providing code snippets and how-tos for extension authors helping solve assorted problems often run into as they develop. The thing is, I don’t actually know what people commonly need help with. Any suggestions?

I’ll also be poking toward making real headway on migrating the Mozilla hacking guide into MDC finally. Not sure when content will actually start showing up on MDC, but I’m poking through it to figure things out.

We pretty badly need another writer on staff at Mozilla. There’s a huge amount of documentation to be written, and while we have lots of awesome contributors, we could really use more full-time help. Anybody in the Mozilla community interested? :)

 Posted by at 1:21 PM

  10 Responses to “Docs, docs, docs, docs…”

  1. One good place to start would be the extension development documentation project:


    Particularly the example code section:


  2. Most docs there are fine already, they just need to be copy-edited and migrated to MDC.

    The right thing to do is to monitor the newsgroups/forums/IRC. In case you haven’t seen it, I started http://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/User:Nickolay/FAQ . I’ll try to add the FAQs I notice to that page.

  3. I really think pretty much everything is covered between mozillazine and devmo, so if you just got all the mozillazine docs on devmo, it would be helpful.

  4. One question that comes up again and again is “how do I make my extension react to page loads?”. There are subtle differences — an extension like “How’d I Get Here” wants to know when the current URL changes, so it wants to be notified at the beginning of a page load and when you switch tabs, while an extension like “Search Keys” wants to react at the end of loads and be notified even for background tabs.

    There should be detailed instructions for creating toolbar buttons, if there aren’t already. Extension developers need to know which sizes are needed, what CSS is needed to make them work, how to use -moz-image-region, design hints to make them fit in with other buttons (e.g. become slightly darker when hovered over).

    Also, there’s the problem of installing an extension that adds a toolbar button, but not having it appear on the toolbar automatically (see bug 242071). Are extension developers supposed to put the button on the toolbar for you, and if so, how and where on the toolbar? Pop up the “Customize Toolbar” window upon first run with the extension? Pop up a dialog saying “Please add the ‘How’d I get here’ button to your toolbar”?

  5. I maintain a little blog called xulsolutions (see link in my name) where I try to solve mundane and small problems in XUL development. It’s not for the advanced developers, nor is it intended to be a full guide. Just a series of snippets and explanations. Maybe this is something like what you’re talking about.

  6. “There should be detailed instructions for creating toolbar buttons”

    There already are:

  7. Are you really looking for a tech writer, and are y’all willing to pay?

  8. I wouldn’t have said we were looking to hire another technical writer if we weren’t willing to pay them. :D

  9. Contact me @ figmo at rahul.net.

  10. I’ll be contacting you shortly.