The new Mozilla Developer Network platform, code-named Kuma, debuted earlier this month. Kuma introduced numerous improvements to the documentation site, including:
- much improved front and back end performance
- no reliance on third-party services vendors
- improved editing and translating interfaces
- enhanced macro creation language called KumaScript
- ability to more quickly push code to production
- ..and more!
In short: we’ve created tools to make MDN easier for anyone to contribute to. There are many ways to contribute to MDN; what follows brief summary of you can contribute to the best documentation site on the web.
Good technical documentation is always in need, especially when it comes to cutting edge web technologies. Solid documentation and detail helps for broader and quicker adoption of those technologies. The Mozilla Developer Network strives to provide the most accurate and detailed documentation on both old and new web technologies. By creating new documentation, updating existing documentation, or simply fixing broken links or typos, you help to improve the quality of documentation on MDN. Your updates will be seen by millions of developers all over the world, thus helping to improve the greater web.
Kuma’s documentation is created via a wiki format, allowing anyone to login and create or enrich documentation. Kuma’s WYSIWYG has been customized for optimal technical documentation purposes, and a separate templating system called KumaScript has been implemented so that macros can be created and used within documentation. New editing features are being created daily and we look forward to continuing that effort.
One of the main focuses of Kuma was to improve the translation API. Translators now get a side-by-side view of existing content, making translating incredibly convenient and fast. RSS feeds which show updates to English documentation are also available so that translators know when an update in foreign translation is needed. The benefit of translating existing content is that you open a world of technical documentation to those who don’t speak English. If you prefer to translate documentation into a language not yet supported by MDN, please let us know and we can add the language to the list of supported languages.
Fix Bugs, Add Features
As is the case with other Mozilla websites and applications, Kuma code has been open sourced and is available on GitHub. Detailed installation instructions are provided and you should have a local MDN install up within minutes. The next step is forking the Kuma repository so you have a repo from which you can send pull requests.
MDN bug lists are available within Bugzilla; lists include Website bugs and Docs Platform bugs. Each bug report provides details as to what should be fixed, enhanced, or created. If you find a bug you’d like to tackle, assign the bug to yourself, create a new branch (including the bug number in the name), and start coding!
When your fixes are ready, send a pull request to the Mozilla repository, providing the bug number and a brief description of your fix. We’ll test your solution and, once proven to work, will merge your code into MDN. You’ll then be able to say you helped code part of the MDN!
The Mozilla Developer Network is not yet perfect but we’re striving for it. If you don’t feel comfortable contributing code or writing documents, but see something on MDN that doesn’t look right, or see room for improvement, please file a bug. Our development team will prioritize bugs provided by the community and fix them appropriately. Any help in identifying avenues for improvement are appreciated!
Spreading the word about MDN encourages others to get contribute and improve MDN. Also recently released is the Promote MDN WordPress plugin; a lightweight plugin which analyzes page content and creates links to pages on MDN that explain the term in detail. You can also build your own MDN badge to promote the Mozilla Developer Network.
There are numerous ways that you may help the Mozilla Developer Network grow and improve. Whether your interests and talents lie in writing original content, translating existing content, coding new features and bug fixing, or simply helping to promote MDN, you can play an important role in making MDN more useful for the rest of the development community. If you have more questions about getting started, please visit the #mdn IRC room and ask questions. We look forward to your help and support!