As we start ramping up toward working on the documentation for Gecko 1.9 and Firefox 3, I find myself looking at it in a rather different way. When work was ongoing on Firefox 2 documentation, I was just a writer. Now that I’m leading developer documentation, I have to look at the big picture (and actually a whole stack of pictures of various sizes, some of which are blurry, some in black and white, and some of them just downright scary).
To my surprise, the most difficult part of this process is learning how to gauge my productivity again. I’m used to gauging it by how much documentation I write. But right now, I’m so busy planning and reading and investigating that I’m not really doing any writing. So I find myself feeling like I’m not getting anything done, despite the fact that, in fact, I am.
I need to recalibrate my expectations a bit.
I also need to learn how to find things to say when I don’t know what to say. Case in point: this is my first blog post in a week. Not because I’ve not been doing anything, but because it didn’t occur to me to talk about the planning work that’s underway because in my mind that’s not productive time.
That’s silly, of course. I’ll try to do better going forward.
Hopefully as we go into the summer, we’ll have some interns to help with various aspects of the documentation. In particular, we’re hoping to find someone to work on migrating documentation from mozilla.org to MDC, and another to do organizational and investigative work on the wiki; for example, we’d like to have someone figure out what docs are used the most, build a definitive list of what’s missing, do surveys to find out what’s most desperately needed, and so forth.
Work is also ongoing on the internationalization organization front.Â I talked to himorin today for a while about the tools MDC Japan has for watching for changes to MDC pages in the English wiki as compared to the Japanese version. Sancus and I have also been talking about developing a more general tool for helping to track changes across all localizations.
Ideally we’d have something that would let us keep track of when a change in one language has been reflected into each other language’s wiki.
There are certain complications involved. Automatically detecting when a revision is propagated from one wiki to another is complicated because other changes may be happening in the interim. So you have to rely on editors marking things off on a list, which can be problematic in that people tend to forget to do things like that (I know I do!).
I’d love to hear more suggestions for ways to monitor changes across all languages’ wikis and to track propagation of changes.