Jul 262012

After an unexpectedly long hiatus, editing of MDN has officially returned. Starting a few hours ago, clicking the “Edit” button on MDN automatically reroutes you to the beta Kuma wiki site, which is located at https://developer-new.mozilla.org/. You will have to log in again using Persona (formerly known as BrowserID) when you get to the new wiki, but once there, you can edit to your heart’s content.

While you’re there, feel free to poke around, check out the scene, and file a bug or two if you have any problems. There’s a handy “Report a bug” button at the top right of every page!

For the time being, the existing site will remain the primary site for reading (which means, yes, the content is going to start growing stale). However, we hope to officially launch the new wiki in the next couple of weeks, assuming things continue to go well. My fingers are crossed, because we’re having a team meeting to talk about our successful launch and what to do next to continue to improve the site in the second week of August!

 Posted by at 9:58 PM
Jul 262012

I’ve been here in Porto Alegre, Brazil for a few days now for FISL13 (13° Fórum Internacional Software Livre), where my mission is to get people interested in helping to write and translate developer documentation for the Mozilla Developer Network. There are a lot of people here, and the enthusiasm level is quite high. The Firefox mascot is getting mobbed every time he goes out on the floor, almost like a rock star.

Girls love the fox!

Tomorrow, we’ll be having an MDN Apps Hack Day, for people interested in learning to write web apps. Then, on Saturday, is what is for me the main event: a brief presentation by myself on MDN and how to use it followed by a mini translation sprint, where we’ll hopefully have a bunch of people working on translating documentation from English into Portuguese and Spanish.

As we work toward the eventual launch of Boot to Gecko in South America, it’s becoming increasingly important that we have thorough, current documentation in these languages. So building a documentation community and getting them excited about helping build great documentation in Spanish and Portuguese is very important.

We have a ton of great people here, including both paid Mozillians and awesome, awesome contributors from the local and regional community. It’s really exciting to see so much enthusiasm for Mozilla, Firefox, and Boot to Gecko!

The whole Mozilla gang out for dinner and a show!

 Posted by at 3:30 PM
Jul 112012

We have entirely disabled editing of the current MindTouch based wiki, without enabling the automatic redirection to Kuma, while we deal with a technical issue caused by our script that was automatically migrating every edit on the MindTouch site to Kuma. Once that is resolved, we should be able to enable the automatic redirects of edits to Kuma.

I apologize for the inconvenience, and we will try to get things up and running as expected as soon as possible!

 Posted by at 12:24 PM
Jul 052012

We had originally planned to switch all MDN editing to our new Kuma wiki platform effective today. However, after our go/no-go meeting, we decided that we have a couple of issues that need just a little more baking time before we throw that switch. For that reason, we’re going to hold off until Monday, July 9th to do the switch. We could technically be ready to do it tomorrow, but Friday is pretty much the worst time to do a major launch.

In particular, we want to be sure the new code for handling attached files (viewing only, no new attachment adding for now) is working. It hasn’t even landed yet, but will later today. There are also a couple of caching bugs we need to clear up.

This has the added advantage of giving our scripting team more time to update templates to work on the new platform.

We will then launch Kuma for all users on the following Monday, July 16th. Our development team will iterate rapidly for the next couple of weeks, fixing bugs, adding features, and pushing those changes to the live site as quickly as possible. After that, the entire development team will take a much needed break before returning to a more normal sprint model of pushing updates every two weeks.

We are tantalizingly close to launch now! Things are genuinely coming together; feel free to drop into #devmo on IRC and ask around. Our team seems to be genuinely enthusiastic about our new platform!

 Posted by at 4:54 PM  Tagged with:
Jul 012012

The editing experience on the new Kuma wiki that we’ll be deploying starting on July 5th is not enormously different from what you’re used to, but there are some key differences I’d like to call out.

Getting into the editor

Let’s take a look, first, at differences in how you get into the editor. Once you’ve logged in using BrowserID, you’ll still see your old friend, the “Edit” button, at the top right corner as usual:

Screenshot of primary edit buttonYou can simply click that big blue “Edit” button to begin editing the entire page. Easy! But if you want, you can edit just a single section. Each header line has its own edit button off to the right, like this:

Screenshot of the section editing button.

Clicking that pretty blue “Edit” button to the right of the section heading will open an editor just for that section.

Changing page information

Once you’re in the editor, you can edit both content and page information. At the top left you see the title of the page:

Screen shot of the heading box.

Clicking on the “i” icon gives you access to edit page metadata:

Screen shot of the metadata editor.

You can then edit the page’s title (that is, the text displayed as the title of the individual page, and the slug, which is the URL component below the parent page (which you can’t edit; there’s a separate move feature for that).

The “TOC” checkbox lets you toggle whether or not the page displays its table of contents of its headers.

Saving and previewing

Then, at the top right of the editor screen, you’ll see these buttons:

Screen shot of the bar of save/discard options.

These are pretty self-explanatory. The first gives you the option to save your changes without leaving the editor; this is a feature we’ve wanted for ages, but finally have. The second button saves your changes and closes the editor.

The “Preview Changes” button actually opens a new tab showing a preview of the page. We finally, finally, have the ability to double-check our use of scripted templates before saving your edits. This is a huge deal for us!

Finally, the “Discard Changes” button lets you throw away your edits. Hopefully that’s pretty obvious.


The editor is essentially the same CKEditor we’ve always used on MDN, although it’s a newer version. Most of our keyboard shortcuts are the same as they were before. The most notable difference is that Ctrl-S no longer toggles source mode; instead, it does a “Save Changes.”

One thing we’ve done is revamp the toolbar to be more useful for the types of work we do:

Screen shot of the MDN editor's toolbar.

This is very reorganized from what we had before, with fewer unneeded buttons. Immediately below the toolbar is a block hierarchy bar; this shows you the hierarchy of elements that leads to your current cursor position. This is helpful, for example, to know what heading level you’re on, or how deeply nested your list is, and so forth.

We also now have handy buttons for the heading levels, and a button for preformatted text. To the right of the <pre> button is a menu that, when opened while your cursor is in a <pre> block, presents a list of syntax highlighting language options:

Screen shot of the MDN syntax highlighting popup.

This list is much simpler than the old one, and is certainly easier to read!

The style drop-down menu is pretty similar to the old one, with an assortment of styles we use regularly:

Screen shot of the styles drop-down menu.Tagging articles

Currently, the only way to tag articles is from within the editor screen. This will be changed at some point, but for now, you will find the tag editor at the bottom of the edit page:

Screen shot of the MDN tag editor.

You can delete tags by clicking the “X” in each tag’s box, or add new ones by simply clicking to the right of the tag list and starting to type.

There’s currently a bug that makes it impossible to enter tag names with spaces in their names. This will hopefully be fixed before we deploy Kuma.

Requesting reviews

We’re in the process of building a new, formal review system. While not all of the support for tracking reviews is in place yet, you can establish review requests using the checkboxes at the bottom of the editor page:

Screen shot of the review checkboxes.

For new articles, both the technical and editorial review requests are enabled by default. You can set or clear these as appropriate based on the type and number of changes you’ve made (and, of course, your confidence in your work!).

The “Template” review request is used to indicate that a template has been changed and needs a code review. This won’t affect very many people, because template editing is now under a tighter set of permissions than most editing, for security reasons.

Onward and upward

We will continue to iterate on the editing experience going forward, to make it even better. There are lots of things we want to do to make Kuma amazing!

Sometime in the next couple of days, I’ll share a look at the new localization tools we provide in Kuma. They’re not finished, but they’re already much, much better than what we had with our old system (which is to say: none at all).

 Posted by at 7:54 PM