MDN doc sprint was a huge success

More than 30 contributors from at least a dozen countries, touching approximately 300 documentation pages.

Those are the results from the documentation sprint that started Friday, January 28 at 14:00 UTC. While the sprint was scheduled to end at midnight UTC on Saturday, some participants were still making updates on Sunday.

This sprint provided a couple of instances of cooperation with other organizations that I believe bodes well for MDN’s future as a resource, not just for Mozilla technologies, but for open web technologies in general.

Paul Irish, developer relations dude for Google Chrome, and one of the folks behind Modernizr and HTML5 Boilerplate, helped muster participants, and then during the sprint, added browser compatibility tables for a number of CSS and DOM pages.

Colin Clark and Anastasia Cheetham from the Inclusive Design Research Centre began work on updating and migrating information on accessibility and ARIA from the CodeTalks wiki to MDN. Colin first approached me about the possibility of doing this during the Mozilla Drumbeat Festival, back in November. During the sprint, Colin created An overview of accessible web applications and widgets, and Anastasia created Keyboard-navigable JavaScript widgets.

Below is a summary of the work that was accomplished. Given the massive amount of work that was done, I might have omitted something; if so, please let me know and I’ll correct this post. I am deeply grateful to everyone who contributed, and especially to those who spent large chunks of their weekend free time on the sprint.

  • Jeremie Patonnier created a categorical classification of SVG elements, created pages for 38(!) of the 80 SVG elements and cleaned up some existing elements, thereby covering all the basic elements. He also populated the index page for SVG attributes, and interlinked the element and attribute pages. As a result, the SVG reference now has a structure, and the beginnings of useful docs.
  • Manuel Strehl made significant updates to many sections of the SVG Tutorial, complementing Jeremie’s work on the SVG reference.
  • Tom Schuster created a mapping of HTML Attributes to the elements they belong to, and several other people added descriptions. Tom also updated Array.toString and Object.toString, and cleaned up reference pages for basic JavaScript types, including adding version information and fixing syntax.
  • Marc-Aurèle Darche made improvements to the XUL tutorial Element Positioning article, and XUL attribute dlgtype.
  • wellington7 cleaned up Creating a skin for Firefox/Getting started.
  • Masahiko Imanaka translated some pages about CSS column properties into Japanese.
  • Jonathan Wilsson created pages for CSS page-related pseudo-classes and pseudo-elements, re-wrote the page for pseudo-classes, added examples, syntax highlighting, and tags to a whole bunch of HTML element pages, created the HTMLParagraphElement page, and added a Chrome screenshot to the HTML <progress> element, which isn’t implemented in Firefox yet.
  • Ms2ger improved several HTML element pages.
  • Miles Clark improved several CSS property pages, and expanded the examples for position and float.
  • xakz and shgz translated several HTML-related pages into French.
  • Addy Osmani fleshed out the Introduction to web development page, making it actually (and very) useful.
  • shiawuen added an example to event.currentTarget.
  • brianloveswords edited the JavaScript Getting Started article, and created a placeholder for aggregated compatibility information (which we need to figure out how to automatically populate).
  • Tomislav Jovanovic enhanced the article on JavaScript strict mode. Unfortunately, we didn’t know that Jeff Walden was about to replace that page with the contents of the recent Hacks blog post about strict mode. Tomislav then added examples and other improvements to the post-Hacks version of the page.
  • Florian Scholz continued his work from the October doc sprint, cleaning up the MathML reference pages, and adding the <multiscripts> element.
  • Trevor Hobson updated a bunch of (that is, 11) XPCOM interface reference pages, something he works on regularly, doc sprint or no doc sprint.
  • David Bruant, another doc sprint veteran, considerably expanded the JavaScript Proxy article.
  • Eric Shepherd created templates for tagging items as applying to “mobile” only, for a button to “see this on JSFiddle”, and for embedding a rendered SVG image from an attached XML file. He also wrote documents related to Electrolysis content views and the Toolkit Profile Manager. And he reviewed and copy-edited many of the other articles written and updated during the sprint.
  • Daniel Lopretto added examples to document.activeElement and document.anchors, provided alternatives for document.width and document.height, and expanded the example for CSS attribute selectors.
  • Ryan Olson added a live example for CSS positioning, and added some descriptions to the HTML attribute table.
  • Adam Dane created pages for <time> and <meter> HTML elements and fixed up syntax highlighting and indention of examples for about 50 HTML element pages.
  • Andreas Wagner documented XPCOM interfaces for bug 606966, “Need an async history visit API exposed to JS”, updated Displaying Places information using views for bug 543444, and updated a few XPCOM interfaces for navigation history.
  • Jussi Kalliokoski wrote Creating a simple synth, about using the Audio API.
  • Matheus S. Svolenski and Fabricio Ferracioli each translated some articles into Portuguese.
  • Janet Swisher finished updating the IndexedDB asynchronous API reference pages to match the current draft standard and Mozilla implementation.
  • Garann Means updated parts of Rich Text Editing in Mozilla, added a JSON example to AJAX Getting Started, and added a section on clearing floats to the CSS float property. Since Garann and I live in the same city, we met on Saturday morning for some in-person doc sprinting.
  • Mason Stewart added notes to the legacy attributes that have been replaced by CSS properties, in the HTML Attributes page, and proofread and fixed up several other pages.
  • Alex Lakatos created live examples for the CSS properties background-repeat, background-position, and list-style.
  • Archaeopteryx created the page documenting nsIAppStartup_MOZILLA_2_0.
  • Christian Sonne updated gradient-related CSS properties to include browser compatibility information, added an example to clear, and summary, examples, and “see also” to :visited.
  • Divya Manian added or updated browser compatibility information on over a dozen CSS pages.


  1. Jeff Walden

    nsIAppStartup_MOZILLA_2_O should be nsIAppStartup_MOZILLA_2_0 (number 0 instead of letter O).

    January 31st, 2011 at 00:23

    1. Janet Swisher

      Oops. Fixed. I also revised my estimate of touched pages downward, to take into account multiple people changing the same page.

      January 31st, 2011 at 00:33

  2. Brett Zamir

    I wouldn’t have thought that a posting on what docs people updated would be interesting (especially when the wiki has a history), but it actually was nice to see such a summary (in addition to the effects of having better documentation there), and in some ways maybe indicative of what’s hot in docs.

    January 31st, 2011 at 03:15

  3. Josh T.

    “Archaeopteryx”? Ha! He’s an old friend of mine that I haven’t seen in a while. I wasn’t expect to see him on the Mozilla Dev of all places! Small world, ‘ey?

    January 31st, 2011 at 10:02

  4. Addy Osmani

    I found the sprint lots of fun. It definitely encouraged me to keep an eye on other pages in the MDC and update them if/when time permits. Great job everyone!.

    January 31st, 2011 at 10:31

  5. Mason Stewart

    Agree with Addy. It was lots of fun, but perhaps the even greater value is in making long-term contributors out of most of us. Thanks everybody!

    January 31st, 2011 at 13:43

  6. Ryan Olson

    Great to hear it was a big success! Was super fun to jump in the IRC and contribute even a tiny bit.

    January 31st, 2011 at 21:36

  7. David Wilhelm

    Unfortunately the ‘Explore MDN’ navigation at the top of the page doesn’t work in Chrome. When I click on it, the menu shows up, but when I move down it disappears! Most frustrating.

    March 6th, 2011 at 18:22

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