MDN Web Docs Call For Participation
Written by Sue Gee   
Tuesday, 27 October 2020

There's a new editorial strategy for MDN Web Docs and a radical platform change is on the cards. Meanwhile the call has gone our for the community to rally round and help out with day-to-day tasks on MDN.


The last few months have been something of a roller coaster for MDN, Mozilla Developer Network, which is a key source of information for web developers. Back in July it celebrated is 15th Anniversary and then in July its entire team of technical writers was among the layoffs made by Mozilla in its cost-cutting exercises. So its good to have a new post from Chris Mills on Mozilla Hacks - and BTW I'd never noticed the sign of stress and strain on its banner before. When you hover the cursor on it the K in hacks sort-of pivots as though it's about to drop off! Which in the current times seem more appropriate than ever.


You would expect MDN Web Docs to be under pressure after the layoffs but Mills doesn't refer to then and concentrates on the short to mid term future.

The updated editorial strategy consists of two main parts: the creation of content pillars and an editorial calendar. Regarding the former, Mills writes: 

The MDN writers’ team has always been responsible for keeping the MDN web platform reference documentation up-to-date, including key areas such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Web APIs. We are breaking these key areas up into “content pillars”, which we will work on in turn to make sure that the significant new web platform updates are documented each month.

The editorial calendar, which is to be maintained in association with the MDN Product Advisory Board is intended to prioritize general improvements to MDN documentation going forward.

Mills writes:

For example, we’d love to create more complete documentation on important web platform-related topics such as accessibility, performance, and security.

This leads on to an appeal for help from the MDN community in order to share the burden of moderating content, answering queries on the Discourse forums, and helping to fix user-submitted content bugs. In order for more volunteers to get involved the guidelines for Contributing to MDN have been re-written so that it is simpler to find instructions on how to perform specific tasks.

Mills writes:

The main tasks we need help with at the moment are:

He concludes this appeal with: 

We hope these changes will help revitalize the MDN community into an even more welcoming, inclusive place where anyone can feel comfortable coming and getting help with documentation, or with learning new technologies or tools.

The final piece of news is that MDN content will soon be moving to GitHub. To facilitate this radical platform change, the MDN engineering team is leaving behind its Wiki approach with the content in a MySQL database, and adopting a JAMStack approach with the content being hosted in a Git repository. 


Mills writes:

This will not affect end users at all, but the MDN developer team and our content contributors will see many benefits including a better contribution workflow (via Github), better ways in which we can work with our community, and a simplified, easier-to-maintain platform architecture. 


So you've heard the call, now is the time to step up and help with the MDN backlog and ensure that it continues to be the useful resource that developers value.


More Information

MDN Web Docs

Related Articles 

Mozilla Layoffs Include MDN Team

MDN Is 15 - How Did It Reach Top Of The Docs?


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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 26 January 2021 )