Apr 052013

We have a lot going on these days! Obviously, Firefox continues to surge forward, with new features all the time. That alone would keep us busy, and indeed it does. Jean-Yves Perrier has been heading up Firefox developer documentation work for the last couple of months, and I expect he’ll keep doing so for the foreseeable future.

Of course, there’s more than just Firefox. The developer tools team has been cranking out amazing new tools to help Web developers (and, in turn, Firefox OS developers), and those need lots of documentation work. Will Bamberg has taken over that work from me, since I’ve been completely swamped lately. This fits in well with the work he’s already been doing with the Jetpack documentation, since many of the same people are involved.

Mark Giffin, working under contract (although he’s been working with us so long, it’s hard to think of it that way!), has been working hard on the open Web apps documentation. This documentation obviously plays a key role in our plans for Firefox OS, and it’s great to have him pounding away at that.

Janet Swisher has been so busy for so long being “distracted” away from writing by her work organizing doc sprints and other community activities that it’s in the process of becoming official; she will become our MDN community manager (although I’m not sure precisely what title is involved). She’ll be working full-time on building our developer community and helping to organize events. This is going to be fantastic to have someone doing that for real, and I know Janet will continue to do it well — especially once it’s her “real” job!

In the meantime, I’ve been sliding more and more into organization work. There are two kinds of organization involved.

Content organization. I’ve been working, gradually, on rearranging content on MDN to be more logically structured. The Web apps documentation has been rearranged, as has much of the WebAPI documentation. In addition, I have cleaned up the structure of the Firefox OS content as well. This work will continue for some time, but it’s a relief to finally be making some amount of headway. We have big plans for rearranging the so-called “DOM Reference”. For details, you can see the article Web platform documentation hierarchy.

Team organization. As the MDN docs team has grown — both in terms of paid staff and in terms of our awesome army of volunteers — it’s become more difficult to keep up with what’s going on. This is, of course, exacerbated by the fact that we have so many projects to work on. So going forward, more of my time is going to be spent organizing and coordinating the writing team. I’ve been doing a lot of writing about documentation processes, and gradually we’re nailing down plans for ways to improve how we do things.

One thing you should expect to see soon is pages you can visit to see what each team member is currently working on, as well as a list of upcoming documentation projects and their status.

I’ll be blogging more soon specifically about the organizational work we’re doing, once the actual plan documents are finished and posted onto MDN.

In addition to organization, I’ve been working on the MDN Style and User Guide documents. These suites of documents will help us bring new contributors into the fold, and will help us produce better, more consistent documentation in the future. On top of all that, the style guide is going to be used to help inform the design team as they work on designing the next generation UX for the MDN web site. The new design is going to be spectacular, but only if we participate in the process.

I’ll blog more about this once these documents are farther along; however, one thing you can look at and help with right now is the MDN page types list. This article is meant to list all the basic kinds of pages we have on MDN, and to list the features each needs to offer. Eventually this will be detailing each type of page all the way down to which visual styles are needed in order to construct them, so that the design team knows what CSS we will need. This information will also be used to help us build better toolbars and to improve the editing experience in general, so if you have frustrations with editing on MDN, this page is a place you should go and contribute to!

So that’s what we’re up to, in brief.

 Posted by at 12:46 PM

  2 Responses to “Mozilla Developer Network docs team news”

  1. Hi there! Just a note to say your link to the FirefoxOS docs on MDN is broken and should be: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Firefox_OS

  2. Fixed. Thanks for letting me know; stupid typo. :)

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