MDN Contributor of the Month for April 2015: Julien (Sphinx)

As part of the recently launched recognition program for Mozilla Developer Network, I’m pleased to announce that our first Contributor of the Month, for April 2015, is Julien (a.k.a. Sphinx).

Julien (in the Batman t-shirt) with other Mozilla Francophone contributors at a localization sprint

Julien (in the Batman t-shirt) with other Mozilla Francophone contributors at a localization sprint

The MDN Contributor of the Month is selected from among those users who have been awarded an MDN Star badge for a “significant” contribution. Julien’s MDN Star badge was awarded for doing the “lion’s share” of effort to translate the entire JavaScript section of MDN into French. Many other contributors also helped in this effort, but Julien spent many nights and weekends over several months, translating JavaScript articles.

The following is a lightly-edited interview with Julien, conducted via email.

When and how did you get started contributing to MDN?

When? During Spring in 2013 when I was studying in Edinburgh, where I had some time for my personal projects.

How? I had already done a translation project with a French association called Framasoft (which closely related to Mozilla in terms of community here in France) and from one pad to another I ended up translating a small piece of article for mozilla-fr (mostly thanks to Goofy who was part of both projects). One thing leading to another, I discovered IRC, the nebula of Mozilla projects, and then MDN. After some edits, I discovered that the article about the <img> HTML tag was not available in French, so I localized it and that was it πŸ™‚

How does what you do on MDN affect other parts of your life, or vice versa?

I’m not a developer but I have some background in IT and my job is about organizing projects with software, so I’d say it feels like two complementary part of what I want to learn and discover. With MDN, I can learn new things (like up-to-date JavaScript while localizing articles), see how an open project works, contribute to what I want, when I want. While at work, I can picture how this sometimes differs in companies where culture and methodologies are more classical. Both are really complementary in terms of skills, experience and knowledge.

Regarding the time I spend, I tend to contribute during evenings, almost every day (instead of watching TV πŸ˜‰ ) Of course, it doesn’t have to be every day! One should just find the rythm he/she is comfortable with and go with this.

And technically, MDN is affecting me with travels recently πŸ™‚ From Paris, to Berlin [for the Hack-on-MDN weekend] and Vancouver [for the Whistler work week], this is very exciting to meet people around MDN, whether they are employees or contributors and I’m very lucky to have these opportunities.

What advice do you have for new contributors on MDN?

Do hang out on IRC and ask questions [in the #mdn channel]. Do send an e-mail on the dev-mdc mailing list saying who you are and where you’d like to contribute. There are many people waiting to help you. If you prefer Twitter, go for it.

Contributing to MDN (and to Mozilla in general) can be a bit confusing at the beginning since there is a lot of stuff going on: don’t worry about that!

The MDN team is very helpful and looking forward to helping you πŸ™‚ See you soon on #mdn

If you don’t know where to start, you can contribute to the Learning Area or localize the glossary in your language or simply go to the Getting Started guide.