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Want to make MDN better but not much of a writer? – Bit Stampede
Dec 032012

The Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) is (and yeah, I may be a little biased here) one of the greatest online resources for Web developers you’ll find online. We’re constantly writing away, trying to make it better, and if you haven’t seen me (or one of our other team members) out there trolling for more people to write documentation, you’ve probably not been paying attention. Which is fine — because maybe you’re not much of a writer, or you prefer to hammer away at code.

As it turns out, there’s more to MDN than writing prose explaining how things work. Here are a couple of things you can do to help out if you’d like to make MDN better but find writing in languages other than C or JavaScript tedious and frustrating!

Make the documentation platform better

MDN uses our very own, open-source, Kuma wiki platform to power its documentation. We’re hard at work to make the software better, with our fabulous and hard-working development team pounding out code at ludicrous speed.

That said, however, there are plenty of things on our development team’s to-do list, and some help is always welcome. In addition, maybe you have an idea of your own!

The Kuma code is available on Github. Feel free to pull it and see what you can do. There are instructions available for how to set up your build environment, as well as for how to contribute to the code.

If you’d like to talk with the development team, get help, and even talk with the writers that are most engaged with the development process, feel free to pop into the #mdndev channel on IRC. You can also keep an eye on what the rest of the development team is up to by checking out their status updates on our site.

Sample code

A key feature of any developer documentation is good sample code. While we have some sample code, we can always use more. Until recently, adding samples was not always easy, especially if you wanted people to actually be able to see what the code does. However, with the recent addition of our live inline sample support, that’s all changed for the better.

Feel free to peruse our documentation and find places where samples would be useful and devise some! Obvious candidates for live samples are the HTML and CSS documentation, as well as documentation about DOM interfaces and functions. You can probably also come up with some helpful examples for the JavaScript docs, too.

Examples don’t have to be fancy or flashy. Indeed, the simpler they are, the better, in most cases. The less extra “stuff” there is for the reader to have to deal with, the more quickly they can get to the heart of the matter and really understand what they’re looking at.

Help me, Coder-wan Kenobi… you’re my only hope

There’s a ton to do! Between documentation (that’s where the writing community comes in), the Kuma project (where our Kuma dev team, hopefully including you soon, comes in), and samples (where, well, everyone comes in!), there’s plenty to be done. There’s something out there for everyone. Can you find your perfect place to contribute to help make the best online resource for Web developers even better?

 Posted by at 1:38 PM

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