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News from MDN: events, migrations, glossary, and platform improvements

Janet Swisher


Here are some happenings in the MDN community that were shared in the most recent MDN community meeting. MDN Community meetings take place every other Wednesday, at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, in the #mdn channel on The MDN Community meetings section of the Mozilla wiki has notes for past meetings; a page is created for the agenda of each upcoming meeting a few days beforehand.


MDN community members Jannis Lidel, Florian Scholz, and Jean-Yves Perrier attended the Write The Docs EU conference in Budapest, on March 31 to April 1st. Jannis gave a talk on Search and Find: Making MDN Discoverable. They reported enjoying it thoroughly, and recommend such conferences to other MDN community members. For example, Write The Docs US is coming up in Portland in May (Ali Spivak is speaking), and OpenHelp is in Cincinnati in June (I am speaking; let me know if you want to attend).

Florian and Jean-Yves also went to a Mozilla German community doc sprint Berlin, which covered both MDN and SUMO. They worked on translating docs for Firefox Developer Tools into German, and on recording translations of the Dev Tools screencasts.

Community members at the April 2014 German doc sprint


Now that Kuma’s support for moving pages seems to be working pretty well, a big push will be happening over the next few weeks to move pages into a more rational structure. This work will be based on the analysis of MDN’s “content islands” done by Florian Scholz, and may include archiving obsolete docs and deleting irrelevant docs.

In a similar vein, work on reorganizing MDN’s “meta-documentation” is nearly completed, except for a few straggling pages. Once that’s completed, we’ll have retrospective to look at what still needs to be done to improve it. Stay tuned to the dev-mdc discussion list for details.

The first phase of the project to revitalize the Learning Area of MDN is now underway, which is to flesh out the glossary. Ideally, each item should have a one- or two-sentence summary, a more detailed “In depth” section, and links to other sources to learn more.


The MDN web development team has greatly improved the experience of the revision dashboard. It’s now much faster and lets you view multiple diffs inline.

On the project to improve compatibility tables on MDN, the data requirements have now been defined and the data schema is being finalized. Follow the tracking bug to stay current. The project leader, Jérémie Patonnier, will start working with the UX team to improve the contribution workflow for compatibility data.

Grow Mozilla discussion this Thursday



If you’re interested in helping new people get involved with Mozilla, join us Thursday for an open community building forum.

OPW community building intern Jennie Rose Halperin

Sean Bolton


Below is a guest post by our fantastic Outreach Program for Women (OPW) community building intern, Jennie Rose Halperin (Mozillians profile | personal website)…

Before my GNOME Outreach for Women internship, I probably couldn’t have defined the word Mozillian, let alone Mozillarian. I started with a big idea back in November: I would find new contribution opportunities for Information Professionals.

Through a structured focus group, contributor research, and lots of talking and writing, I began to understand the issues that face librarianship in terms of volunteering, professional development, the open web, and our shared digital future.
Personally, my contribution to Mozilla is more than just my own development: It will eventually assist new contributors in every discipline to find their own pathways to meaningful contribution at Mozilla.  Librarians are fellow crusaders for the open web, though we face many barriers to entry and access. Information professionals and Mozillians share the goal of open information that serves our users; finding shared affinities can help us become more effective as leaders in our fields.

Last week at code4lib, Sumana Harihareswara gave an amazing talk about tech and libraries that focused on our need to come together, to be hospitable and kind and emphasize empathy as primary to our fields.. My work with Mozilla, though still at its genesis, continues to inspire and delight me.  We try to make every contribution and every person feel welcome, and for that, I am proud to call myself a Mozillian.

My talk, below, focuses more deeply on my projects over the past few months. My work has been varied, exciting, and endlessly iterative. I am happy to share my findings with my community and to recognize the power of inclusion, recognition, and kindness in our shared goals.

Thank you again to Mitchell Baker and the GNOME foundation for making this internship possible. I am excited for future contribution opportunities and pleased to continue helping Mozilla in making the web better for us all.

Links to video and slides.

Grow Mozilla discussion this Thursday



If you’re interested in helping new people get involved with Mozilla, join us Thursday for an open community building forum.

“The best MDN event so far” — MDN Community Weekend, March 2014, Paris

Janet Swisher

MDN weekend participants hacking and talking in the Salle des Fêtes in the Mozilla Paris office

MDN weekend participants in the Mozilla Paris office (photo by Kaustav Das Modak)

Over the weekend of March 7 to 9, about 30 Mozillians gathered at the Mozilla office in Paris to hack on various aspects of the Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) site: technical content, meta content (how to contribute), the platform code, and example code. Florian Scholz, who has been attending MDN meetups since the first doc sprint that was held in 2010, described it as “the best MDN event so far.” It was the first MDN event to bring together contributors with such varying interests, and from so many locations, including North America, Brazil, Europe, India, and Bangladesh.

The weekend began on Friday morning with “idea pitches” where participants described ideas for projects they wanted to work on during the weekend, and, importantly, the concrete outputs to be produced. These were captured on “task boards” — both a physical one on a whiteboard, and a virtual one on an etherpad. Participants then self-organized into groups to work on these projects. As projects were tackled, they moved from the “to-do” area of the task boards to “doing” and then “done.” There were periodic checkpoints for a chance to report on progress and ask for help. At the of the weekend, on Sunday afternoon, we had a “show-and-tell” to demo the results of the completed projects.

It wasn’t all heads-down work. There was slack built in to the schedule to allow for eating some wonderful Parisian food and seeing the sights of Paris. MDN Manager Ali Spivak led a group on a walking tour of her favorite chocolate and macaroon shops in Paris. And of course, being all together in the same place meant we got to make new friends and deepen online relationships with other MDN contributors.

Don’t just take my word for it. Here are perspectives on the weekend from two MDN volunteers: Priyanka Nag and Andrzej Mazur. At the end of this post, you can find a list of all the accomplishments from the weekend.

Priyanka Nag

I am Priyanka, a Mozilla volunteer from India. About a year and half back, when I had attended my first MozCafe meeting, I didn’t understand all of the stuff people were discussing about, but those people were so super awesome and the mission towards which they were working was so very inspiring, I couldn’t help but join the group. Over the time, I fell in love with Mozilla.

I have attended a lot of Mozilla events (both local and global ones) but so far this was the best one for me.

MDN Weekend was my first Mozilla event where I got to work with so many Mozilla staff members. I had met some of them earlier during Summit or MozFest last year, but working with them for three whole days was more than a dream come true.

On the very first day of the weekend, everyone present in the room knew what they wanted to achieve in the next three days. The tasks were all documented in an etherpad and people started working on them in small groups. I was surprised to see that most of the tasks listed down were actually completed by the end of the three days.

The MDN weekend was the perfect example of ‘Work hard, party harder’. We worked all day and at the day break, we were taken to the best possible places in Paris for some awesome dinner and wonderful wine.

For me, MDN weekend was an experience of a lifetime.

Andrzej Mazur

I’m Andrzej, an HTML5 Game Developer and JavaScript programmer involved in various gamedev projects: I’m the founder of indie studio Enclave Games, creator of the js13kGames competition, Gamedev.js Meetups organizer, publisher of Gamedev.js Weekly newsletter and Open HTML5 Games portal administrator. I’m also a big fan of Firefox OS, sharing knowledge and open source projects in general. I speak about HTML5 games and Firefox OS at the conferences, run workshops, write articles, blog posts and books, organize meetups and hackathons, and promote it any way possible.

The atmosphere during the MDN Weekend was very inspiring and motivating, I had the opportunity to directly ask questions about anything I needed because there was so many people way smarter than me just waiting to help. I teamed up with Francesco Iovine and we were working on a similar concept of the game using the accelerometer on mobile — he focused on the technical aspect of implementing the API and created the game from scratch while I built the game using the Phaser framework and focused on the workflow of creating the game itself. We had a lot of fun doing so, and had Chris Mills helping us with the writing.

After the weekend I ended up with a working demo of the game and a finished draft of the article — normally it would take me minimum a week or two to achieve that, but thanks to the awesome atmosphere I managed to do it in only three days! I plan to polish the article a bit, finish the game and publish it in the Firefox Marketplace. I hope it will encourage other people and show them that writing for MDN is very easy.

I’m truly amazed by the way Mozilla treat volunteers — we got ourselves a free flight and stay in a good hotel, tasty food throughout the whole stay from snacks and lunch to dinner in the restaurants and we were spending time in the beautiful Mozilla office in Paris. I’m also really impressed by the friendly and helpful approach — you could feel you’re with close friends and family.

I had the pleasure of flying to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of February where I was demoing Enclave Games’ game Captain Rogers in the Mozilla booth. This, the Mozilla Festival in October last year where I run a workshop about building HTML5 games for Firefox OS, and the lately MDN Weekend are the best three events I ever participated in.

I fell in love with Mozilla. You really feel you’re important — you can get all the help you need to achieve what you want. Contributing and giving back as much as possible seems like not enough for the support you get. I think it’s the best way to engage with the community and the MDN Weekend is a living proof of that. I would gladly go to any Mozilla Weekend in the future if I had the chance to do it, it’s the event where everybody wins. I’m really happy and thankful I was invited, I really encourage others to take part in it to see for yourself what you can achieve if you have a perfect conditions around you.

Things we accomplished

Here is a summary, pulled out of the “master” etherpad, of all the projects and tasks that were finished during the MDN weekend.

MDN platform development

MDN content

MDN events and contributor onboarding

And in addition, Havi Hoffman seized the opportunity of having many localizers in the room, to demo and get feedback on Mozilla’s pilot project for app localization. Their input will be invaluable in improving the project, to help app developers like Firetext’s Joshua Smith localize their apps.

Looking back, I’m stunned by quantity and quality of these accomplishments. Like Priyanka and Andrzej, I found the weekend to be amazing and inspiring, and I agree with Florian that it was the MDN event (so far!). Many thanks to everyone who participated! It will be exciting to see if we can top it in the future.

Firefox 28 New Contributors



With the upcoming release of Firefox 28, we are pleased to welcome the 54 developers who contributed their first code change to Firefox in this release, 48 of whom were brand new volunteers! Thank you to Sezen Günes for gathering the data for this release. Please join us in thanking each of these diligent and enthusiastic individuals, and take a look at their contributions:

News from MDN: Paris Weekend meetup, Badges, and meta docs

Janet Swisher

Here are some happenings in the MDN community that were discussed in the most recent MDN Community meeting:

The MDN Weekend is coming up on March 7 to 9. MDN community members, including staff and volunteers will be meeting at Mozilla’s Paris office to work on projects to improve MDN. This meetup differs from a doc sprint in that the projects to be worked on are not only documentation content. They can include written idea proposals, designs/mockups, new docs, code, or new tools or processes. The weekend will start with “idea pitches” for possible projects to work on, and participants will then form into teams to work on the ideas they’re interested in. You don’t have to be in Paris to pitch an idea (though it would help to be an a European time zone). If you want to pitch an idea to be worked on, add it to this tracking etherpad. Further details about the weekend event are on the MDN section of the Mozilla wiki.

The MDN development team has implemented support for awarding and displaying Open Badges. So, now comes the hard part: deciding what badges to offer, at least initially. The Open Badges project provides lots of guidance, but ultimately the MDN community has to decide what’s right for us. A few folks have drafted some ideas for various possible types of badges on MDN. Check the spreadsheet tabs to see the different categories. Discussion about this is happening in the mdn-drivers discussion list.

We’re working on better “meta” documentation — docs about how to make docs (and other stuff) on MDN. The current plan for the structure is in this etherpad. Part of the idea is to separate out info for newcomers (steps to guide you through your first task) from detailed reference info for experienced MDN contributors. The place to discuss this effort is on the dev-mdc discussion list.

MDN Community meetings take place every other Wednesday, at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, in the #mdn channel on The MDN Community meetings section of the Mozilla wiki has notes for past meetings; a page is created for the agenda of each upcoming meeting a few days beforehand.

Grow Mozilla discussion this Thursday


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Tag. You’re Recognized!


The Crafty Group wants YOU to help recognize contributors! We are making a special effort to make some  handmade love for our amazing contributors. We have gotten some cool craft supplies that anyone can use. Here is how:

Step one: Pick a person to recognize! Or just decide to make one with a more generic message that can be shared. Your message should be short, but personal, an IRC handle or group or both can be perfect. Even just ‘Thanks’ will bring a smile to the face of a Mozillian. Someone hacked a fox, I mean really … props for being awesome whoever did that?!?!


Step Two: Go find the supplies. If you are in Mtn View, or San Francisco ask a Larissa! Larissa Co in MV and Larissa Shapiro in SF have the supplies. We will be getting more supplies out to more offices soon (If you want to be the supply host for your office please let me know (binab on IRC) or just join Crafty!


Step 3: Hammer. It really is that simple. Well, make sure your letters are right-side-up. It usually take 3 solid whacks, If you whack with greater enthusiasm maybe only 2, if your whack veer towards timid then maybe 5, you get the idea.


Step 4: Holes, there are tags with and without holes.


Step 3.5 (for those with no holes in thier tags) Don’t feel bad, you get to use the cool little screwie thingie! Just set it and tighten down until it is through. Then you will need a ‘jump ring’. This will connect the ball chain and hole you made.

IMG_3822 IMG_3830

Step 4: Attach the chain. Mostly these are cool key chain/luggage tags etc. so 3″-4″ of chain at good, if you think they might want a necklace, add more. Cut the chain with pliers or scissors, you could probably brake it in a pinch if you channel your inner Hulk.


Step 5: Use the little connector thingie. I know there are a lot of ‘thingies’, I’m technical like that.


Step 6: Mail it! Write a nice note to be included. If you need help with this step please ask your Crafty Office Helper. They should be equip with awesome handmade cards. But you need to get the address, we aren’t psychic. I know I know I should know everything, but I still haven’t perfected my psychic geo-location powers. I’m working on it.