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  1. Welcoming the new kid: Web Platform Docs

    Documenting the open Web and Web standards is a big job! As Mozillians, we’re well aware of this — documenting the open Web has been the mission of the Mozilla Developer Network for many years. Anything we can do to further the cause of a free and open Web is a worthwhile endeavor. With so many different groups involved in the design and development of new Web standards, it can be tricky to figure out the current right way to use them. That’s why we’re excited to be able to share this news with you.

    Introducing Web Platform Docs

    Mozilla, along with a group of major Web-related organizations convened by the World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C), has announced the start of Web Platform Docs (WPD), a new documentation site for Web standards documentation, which will be openly-licensed and community-maintained. The supporting organizations, known as the “stewards,” have contributed an initial batch of content to the site from their existing resources. The body of content is very much in an alpha state, as there is much work to be done to integrate, improve, and augment that content. to achieve the vision of WPD as a comprehensive and authoritative source for Web developer documentation. The stewards want to open the site for community participation as early as possible. With your help, WPD can achieve its vision being a comprehensive and authoritative source for Web developer documentation.

    Web Platform Docs has a similar goal to MDN: to help web developers improve their ability to make sites and applications using web standards. Mozilla welcomes this effort and joins with the other stewards in financially supporting the Web Platform Docs project, and in providing seed content for it. This new project is very much aligned with Mozilla’s mission to promote openness, innovation, and opportunity on the Web.

    What does this mean for MDN?

    MDN already provides a wealth of information for Web developers and for developers who use or contribute to Mozilla technology. That isn’t going to change. Some members of the MDN community, including both paid staff and volunteers, are actively involved with the Web Platform Docs project. Web Platform Docs incorporates some seed content from MDN, namely tutorial and guide content. Anyone is welcome to use MDN content under its Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license (CC-BY-SA), whether on WPD or elsewhere.

    Licensing issues

    Licensing is where things get a little bit complicated. MDN and WPD use different contributor agreements and different licenses for reuse. By default, WPD contributors grant W3C the ability to relicense their original content under an open license (Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY)). MDN content is licensed by the contributors under CC-BY-SA. The copyright belongs to the contributors, not to Mozilla, so we don’t have the right to change the license. Therefore, content that originates from MDN must be specially marked and attributed when it appears on WPD. If you create an account on WPD and create a new page, you’ll see that there is an option to indicate that the content you’re contributing came from MDN, and to provide the original URL on MDN. If you do copy MDN content (and we would be happy if you did so), we ask that you comply with the license requirements. There is also a way on WPD to mark sections of articles as coming from MDN, for cases where they get merged into CC-BY content.

    Get involved

    We encourage all Mozillians to visit the Web Platform Docs site, take a look, and get involved. By working with the other stewards to jointly build a complete, concise, and accurate suite of documentation of and for Web standards, we can help make the future of the World Wide Web brighter than ever!

  2. The future of Mozilla Hacks

    During the last year, we’ve seen a 330% improvement in the number of unique visitors for Mozilla Hacks, and out of those, we saw a lot of new readers as well. Thank you!

    Here at Mozilla Hacks we are constantly working on improving the blog, and I thought I’d talk a little about us and where we’re heading.

    What Mozilla Hacks is

    Mozilla Hacks is one of Mozilla’s most important channels for developer outreach and engagement, and the goal is to be one of the key resources for people developing for the Open Web; talking about both news and in-depth descriptions of technologies and features. Topics here will range from tips and tricks for developers to technical insights for Mozilla products and upcoming standards.

    Just like with MDN (Mozilla Developer Network), we want it to be a web browser agnostic resource, focused on the Open Web and sharing knowledge with all web developers out there.

    Mozilla Hacks is not a press release channel – it our way to share information and engage in communication with you!

    In line with being Mozilla we want to be as open as possible and share as much information as we can, e.g. most popular posts, number of readers and more.

    Guidelines and goals

    In the Mozilla Hacks blog guidelines and goals document, everything from our goals and visions to author responsibilities and behavior guidelines are covered. We want to be open with how we work, and share the process with you. One very important aspect there is how we treat each other:

    If you ask a question here in a comment or give feedback, you deserve a reply from us. And when we talk about things – even though we might disagree – we should always expect to be met with respect and a proper behavior.

    A dedicated Editor

    I have just taken over as the Editor of Mozilla Hacks, and I will work hard to make it both an excellent resource for you as well as a place where you know you will be able to learn and take part in the conversation. If you have any feedback, good or bad, about the blog, please contact me at robnyman [at] mozilla [dot] com.

    Some of the things we’ve done so far:

    • Removed the CAPTCHA for commenting. We want discussing and commenting to be as easy as possible, and using the CAPTCHA was far from optimal for anyone. Now it’s gone!
    • Guidelines and responsibilities are described in public
    • We created the GitHub repository for developers to look at, fork and use the code we have in blog posts
    • We’re looking into localization, to make the content available to as many as possible
    • We’re working on how to get the best metrics for Mozilla Hacks, and will share data on that as we progress

    Write for Mozilla Hacks!

    When it comes to content here, we have a good mix of authors and knowledge. However, to make it even more diverse, if you have skills within a field and want to reach a large audience, please contact me about writing for Mozilla Hacks!
    And if you are interested in sharing something, but not sure about the writing or comments, please talk to me! I’m here, and I will help you make it happen!

    What do you think?

    We hope this sounds good to you! I would also love to hear from you what you like or don’t like with Mozilla Hacks, and any idea you have of how it might improve.

    Just write a comment below or e-mail me at the above address. Let’s talk!

  3. Hack the News: Apply for an OpenNews Fellowship

    How would you like a job where every day is like a hackathon, and you are helping to reinvent a struggling industry? If that sounds intriguing to you, you should apply to become a Knight-Mozilla OpenNews Fellow for 2012-2013. If selected, you’ll be embedded in a world-class newsroom, where you’ll write the code that exposes the data that tells important stories, both as they happen and for longer-term feature articles.

    Want to know more? Dan Sinker profiles current Fellows, who share what’s exciting about developing code in a newsroom. Dan also talks about two current Fellows who got bylines on their work on the same day. Erika Owens describes the types of people who might want to do this: hackers, adventurers, international developers, techie activists, etc.

    Of course, journalism is deadline-driven, and the deadline to apply for a Fellowship is coming up fast: August 11. Besides providing your contact and portfolio info, you’ll need to answer five questions and describe three projects you’ve worked on. Get started on your application, so this deadline doesn’t just make a whooshing sound as it flies by.

  4. Hacking Innovation: At WebFWD, Lean Startup Methodology Meets Open Source

    WebFWD is Mozilla’s accelerator and incubator program for Open Innovation on the Web. It launched at the start of the summer, around the same time I joined Mozilla as a writer and wrangler of content, so I feel a personal stake in helping the program flourish and thrive.

    In the lean and rapid style of development it advocates, WebFWD has been evolving and iterating since the moment it was announced: responding to feedback from Mozillians and the entrepreneurial community at large, and listening to the needs and dreams of interested participants. In the last couple months, WebFWD has grown to include a creative and influential network of technologists, mentors, friends, and partners, who share our vision and commitment to moving the Web forward.

    Just last week, Pascal Finette, WebFWD’s Director, announced the first Fellows: CASH Music, a non-profit that’s building a free and open platform for musicians to promote, distribute,and sell their music, and the OpenPhoto Project, an open source photo hosting and sharing platform which gives users complete ownership and portability of their photos. He also announced three bonus projects that came in through a serendipitous partnership with Teens in Tech, via our “Friends of WebFWD” program.

    Through Teens in Tech, we’ll be providing support to the young founders of Bubbls, a mobile app and website for young adults to share activities and plan events;, an online code editor that makes it easy to code on the go; and MySchoolHelp, a place where high school students can find and share notes from school.

    Keep in mind that the big red Apply button is always open, you can be located anywhere in the world to participate, and admissions are rolling, so it’s always a good time to submit. Remember, we’re looking for ideas that use existing open standards and push for standards where they are missing, and products that are essentially “of the Web” – decentralized, interoperable, secure, privacy- and people-centric. Onward and FWD!

  5. Want to hack the news? Join the Knight-Mozilla news tech community

    The 2011 Knight-Mozilla news tech challenge is drawing to a close on Sunday, June 5th.

    The Knight-Mozilla partnership, affectionately called “MoJo,” is a program for hacks and hackers to pair up and develop fresh ideas for the news business.

    This is an opportunity to demonstrate your skills and harness the transformative potential of the open web. To get started, simply submit an idea to one of the following three challenges before Sunday, June 5th at 11:59 Eastern Time:

    •Unlocking Video
    How would you bring the best qualities of the web to news video?

    •Beyond Comment Threads
    How would you create more dynamic spaces for news discussion?

    •People-Powered News
    How would you improve the way we create and consume news?

    We don’t need a full proposal—just a good idea. A back of napkin sketch. How would you use open web technologies like HTML5, CSS3, WebGL, node.js, and others to give the news business a much needed shot in the arm? What are the possibilities inherent in the open web platform to connect news producers, consumers, and sharers?

    Submit an idea before Sunday, June 5th and you could qualify. The rewards are many—a 4-week class with John Resig, Aza Raskin, and other talented hackers to develop your news tech ideas. A multi-day development sprint in Berlin to prototype your innovative news technology idea. Even a well-paid (and prestigious) fellowship inside the newsrooms at Al Jazeera English, the BBC,, the Guardian, or Zeit online.

    If you have a passion for news and a knack for hack, head over and share your idea!