Last week in Brooklyn, a Mozilla meeting took place around MDN, aka the Mozilla Developer Network, the Website where the Firefox documentation is made available. But in a true Mozilla fashion (or spirit?), the documentation is free to use (of course), built in an open way, and with the open Web in mind, not for the sole benefit of Mozilla and its ecosystem. Let me elaborate:
The documentation is built collaboratively using a wiki-based system, by the community, with is comprised of volunteers and paid staff, in a way similar to Wikipedia, but on a smaller scale. This is why during our last meeting in New York City, we had a mix of employees and volunteers coming from Poland, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, Sweden, France, Canada and at least 5 different US states, no less! Volunteers are an integral part of the team and participate to weekly conference calls, sharing the same mailing lists as employees and — budget permitting — are invited, all expenses paid, to documentation in-person meetings.
Just like the Web, MDN is a work in progress. For now, the CSS documentation is the most successful part of the effort, with close to 100% covered for all browsers. It’s worth noting that some other browser vendors, particularly Google, are helping with the documentation effort on MDN, showing that competitors in the browser space can join forces in order to write documentation. Mozilla, with its paid staff, its community (including some competitors) is showing once again that it’s working on documentation not only about its products (like Firefox), but the whole Web, staying true to its non-profit values and its Manifesto.
Now, you could help MDN to help the Web, in different ways:
- If you own a Website, you could link to MDN , in order to boost its visibility and help Web developers find valuable and more actionable information, compared to vendor-specific documentation. We even have a Promote MDN wizard to help.
- Help localize documentation. Not all Web developers understand English, and if we want the Web to be universal and an opportunity for all, we need localized documentation. Head to our How to help page and use the ”Languages” drop down menu to get to localized versions of this page. (including French, German, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Greek, Traditional / Simplified Chinese, Japanese…)
- Help write documentation. We maintain a list of topics and people who could help you getting started (You may notice that not all of them are paid staff…). In order to learn the rope, one could start by proofreading articles or write code examples.