This is a guest blog post by Chris Williams, the curator of JSConf. We are proud to support the PromoteJS campaign and hope everyone will join us to improve JS docs and make the MDN a better place for all web developers.
PromoteJS – A Worldwide Call For Improving JS Documentation Visibility
This is the first impression of JS by the general masses who are coming to this language and once you see this, you can see why people consider it a “toy language” and understand how so much bad code and disdain can exist for JS. We have hidden the better tutorials, learnings, and documentations away from ourselves AND more to the point, those trying to learn this language. New entrants struggle to learn JS, but eventually just adopt what they know from PHP, Java, Perl, Python and Ruby to a close approximation of runnable code that suffices. They then publish it back out, proud of what they have done, and continue to perpetuate this plague of improper JS coding.
We have failed our fellow designers AND developers in this sense. We have made it almost impossible to learn proper JS, a language with both beauty and warts. Some will say it is not our fault, that browser vendors should provide the API documentation for the implementation or that the standards committee should publish and market it. I am calling bullshit on that. I say that it is up to us to invite, welcome, and most importantly properly educate people looking to learn JS. We, the best and brightest of the field, have an obligation to help those who are trying to learn and understand the complexities of the language. We are the ones that benefit from it most, since those now entering the language will be either extending, morphing, or taking over the very projects we are just now starting. Regardless of library, framework, and even language — if everyone knows how to program proper JS a little better, we all win. Period.
So I challenge you to put down your library or framework preferences and write about some interesting facet about the JS language. Describe how you find the attributes on an object, what the difference between an object and an array is (and how to tell the two a part), anything and everything. If you seek fame and click traffic, write about the entry level stuff. If you seek respect and deep dialogs, write about the difference between implementations and convey the wisdom of when to favor one method over the other. If writing is too time consuming or your muse escapes you, I am announcing today a new campaign, PromoteJS. Through organic guerrilla SEO we can change how search engines present answers to common queries about our language and in doing so improve the visibility of proper educational resources. Our initial target for PromoteJS is to make the proper MDN documentation the first result for standard new JS developer queries.
We need to be the voice of education for our community. We need to promote the proper way of doing things, instead of just ignoring those that don’t “get it” or watering things down. We need to commit to educating our fellow developers on JS, the language, and in doing so it helps all of our frameworks, libraries, meetups, and conferences. PromoteJS is a step in that direction, but by no means the end of the story, be sure to check the site frequently as we continue to add new ways to help improve documentation visibility and the documentation itself.
About Chris Williams
Chris Williams (@voodootikigod) is the Curator of JSConf US and Vice President of Development at OurParents. Much to the chagrin of his wife, he constantly has numerous side projects on-going including: JSConf Live, A Minute With Brendan, and Node SerialPort. All in all he is just trying to get by, nothing more nothing less.
About Jay Patel
I strive to make the web better by making sure those that develop and drive it are happy campers.