State of the Docs, November 9, 2011

This is the first in a series of posts about new or recently improved content on MDN. This series will alternate with Wiki Wednesday posts, which will switch to every other week.

The purpose of this series is to highlight articles that have changed recently, as well as to recognize the contributors who did the work. This doesn’t include every change, just “significant” ones. Future posts may be a bit shorter, as they’ll cover only the two weeks since the previous “state of the docs” post.

Web standards docs

Jean-Yves Perrier documented the <bdi> element. It allows inserting spans of text with unknown directionality, like text coming out of a database, in the middle of text with a known fixed directionality. He also updated the CSS unicode-bidi property to describe the two new values: isolate and plaintext, which are used to implement correctly bi-directionality for each HTML element (including, but not only, <bdi>, <bdo>, <pre> and <textarea>).

Jean-Yves rewrote the docs for the CSS property text-overflow, to account for the new extended two-value syntax and the new allowed string values, as well as adding new examples.

Jean-Yves also added pages for columns, updated column-width and column-count, and Using CSS multi-column layout.

Paul Irish made a rash of updates:



  • Linked to a <canvas> polyfill for image-rendering for crisp-edges/optimize-contrast
  • Added an example to show how to easily prettyprint with JSON.stringify().
  • Created the page for node.contains().
  • Added a compatibility table for <a href=”>img[crossorigin]
  • Documented that getComputedStyle can get pseudo-element styles. Also it can be used from the window object.
  • Documented creating and triggering custom events (which he had always wanted spelled out)
  • Added a compatibility table to table.insertRow().
  • Kevin Lim continues to improve the IndexedDB docs:

    fusionchess added a code example to Using files from web applications.

    Aaron Leventhal updated the ARIA page with lots of doc and resource links, and wrote new articles on:

    If you’re interested in ARIA and accessibility, please help out with these docs. If you’re not an expert, you can help identify where there are gaps, or things that don’t make sense. Accessibility geeks might also be interested in the free-aria Google Group.

    New pages!

    Help wanted!

    Want to write an article on CSS positioning? That is, how positioning properties for margins, padding, etc. work together. MDN does not have this topic covered yet. Or, if you’ve already written such an article, would you be willing to contribute it to MDN under a CC-BY-SA license?

    Check out the MDN Getting started page. If you have questions, drop into #devmo IRC channel on, or post to the dev.mdc discussion forum.

    Mozilla-specific documentation

    Henri Sivonen wrote about HTML parser threading in Gecko.

    jbeatty improved Patching a localization, Create a new localization and several other localization-related pages.

    Tom Schuster added to the SpiderMonkey JS API reference for:

    Eric Shepherd wrote up complete reference docs for the new JavaScript Debugger API. However, the user guide for the Debugger API needs a lot of attention. We don’t have any examples at this point. A sample add-on that uses the API should be written, but even the JSAPI team hasn’t done one yet.

    Firefox 8 was released on November 8, and Firefox 8 for developers is complete except for a few lower-priority items.

    decoder created an article on Testing with Linux on ARM architecture using QEMU.

    Jorge Villalobos updated several pages of the XUL School tutorial.

    Eric Shepherd created an article for the Mozilla Developer Guide on Getting documentation updated.

    About Janet Swisher

    Janet is the Community Lead and Project Manager for MDN Web Docs. She joined Mozilla in 2010, and has been involved in open source software since 2004 and in technical communication since the 20th century. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and a standard poodle.

    More articles by Janet Swisher…

    One comment

    1. Manuel Strehl

      Great to see what has happened. Thanks for the overview, Janet!

      The “Help Wanted” section is a good idea. Gives people an idea where to start.

      The post is a good reminder, too, that it is about time, that I get a move on and work on the SVG compat charts.

      November 10th, 2011 at 05:46

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