About Julee

Julee Burdekin is a content strategist for the Adobe Web Platform team. She is contributing to WebPlatform.org by helping to improve the experience for contributors and visitors.

Fluent Doc Sprint is next week

We have already blogged about the upcoming Doc Sprint at Fluent 2014, but I’ve compiled a few details, in case you have questions. You can also get a sense of what happens by reading about past doc sprints by checking out our previous posts.

First of all, the Fluent conference is hosting the Doc Sprint, providing the space & food. But you don’t have to go to the Fluent conference to attend the Doc Sprint. The Doc Sprint is open to the public. That means anyone can attend.

Yep, that means YOU are invited. So, what will happen when you come? The agenda will go something like this:

MORNING:

  • Welcome
  • Intro to WebPlatform.org docs
  • How to contribute
  • Doc Sprint!

LUNCH (yes, free food!):

  • Working, talking, sharing ideas

AFTERNOON:

  • Special guests Doug Schepers (W3C), Jen Simmons (Jen Simmons Design), and maybe a surprise or two…
  • More Doc Sprint!
  • Swag
  • Wrap-up

No experience is necessary. Seriously. That means you don’t have to be an expert, you need not know how to edit wiki-markup, or be familiar with any build tools. It’s a good idea to be there at the beginning, just so you get the information about getting started contributing. We’ll go over everything you need to know. Bear in mind that you can come for just part of the day, too.

We’ll be in Salon 5 at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis780 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA.

You will need your own laptop and power (and power adaptors).

For any other questions, go ahead and email the webplatform public list. And do sign up at Eventbrite to get the latest information and special treatment.

See you there!

WPW Week 3: What type of contributor are you?

When I first edited a webplatform.org page, I was very nervous. I have experience (I won’t mention the number of years…) with both technical content and editing. So I expected to come to webplatform.org and dig into the content and change it easily. That wasn’t my experience. Whether it’s because of the MediaWiki markup or the expert eyes on the content or the instability of the site, I’m not sure, but I was intimidated. It didn’t help that just about the first contribution I made (after consulting with a couple of folks) was reversed by someone halfway around the world, in the middle of my night.

I’d consider myself a “Nervous Nelly” as they say. Or after that first experience, I’d call that contributor “Tim Idreget.”*

tim idregret_sm

Yes, that was me: timidly pushing ahead only to regret doing so. But that’s ridiculous. No one cared. I made an edit, someone thought it wasn’t correct and changed it back. Someone just as unfamiliar with the site as I was. Someone who wasn’t privy to our discussion around the table. Someone who was trying to get through the tasks he wanted to do.

But what to do? Change it back to my way? Play tug-o-war? Leave it quietly and walk away? What to do?

Ask Shepazu! And of course, that was the best, because he said – and I’m not quoting here, but something to the effect of – This indicates that one of you doesn’t understand what the other is doing. Send a query and get it cleared up. And I did and it did.

rip enburn_smBut that brings me to another type of contributor. Let’s call him Rip, Rip Enburn. His sense of self proceeds himself. He’s not concerned with the page’s history: who edited this when and exactly what did they do – who cares? He’s on a roll, taking no prisoners, going for speed, and all that. Fortunately, I haven’t come across any of these on webplatform.org. But they’re out there. As an innocent lamb, if some of your content has been ripped to shreds, follow up. Make sure you know why. Get a second opinion. Rip may, in fact, not be right, or have even noticed that he clobbered something – or someone – along the way.

OK, I have to say it. Although they will not be given a stage name, there’s another contributor that is hard to take. It’s the armchair contributor.
armchair contributor_sm

Named after the armchair philosopher, they observe, they postulate, they provide commentary, but they don’t edit the actual page! (There’s an interesting discussion on wikipedia.org about armchair philosophy under the heading “Armchair theorizing.” A more visceral definition can be found in the Urban Dictionary.)

And, to tell you the truth, I’ve been one of these myself. It’s so much easier to lie in wait for someone else to make a contribution, and contribute suggestions on how they contributed. I have been to “community” sites and said “this is really bad” or “just bad,” and even left a comment to that effect. But did I stick around to offer a solution or take it to a resolution?

At any rate, what I want to be – what I want for you to be – is a confident contributor, like Connie Fident. She has a lot of hands, because she can work so creatively and smoothly, always knowing what to contribute, and how, within just the right amount of time.

connie fident_sm

But, really the only way we’re going to get there is to actually edit the pages themselves, and share our experiences and help each other improve, and then edit the pages themselves.

Whatever type of contributor you are, please do join us this week as we continue to improve the Array object and its properties, function and methods. We’ve broken out some of the tasks involved with editing the basic facts. So let us know if that takes off the edge to editing a page. Or let us know what type of contributor you are and how we can improve the experience for you. Don’t be shy, just edit a page and let us know how it went by emailing the public list.

* Persons depicted herein are fictional and do not represent any real persons living or dead, except for Shepazu.

Fluent 2014 Doc Sprint (& You’re invited too!)

A group of us working on WebPlatform Docs will be hosting a Doc Sprint at Fluent 2014, in San Francisco, on March 11th! O’Reilly has generously provided the facilities and experts through the Fluent conference, but the doc sprint is open to the general public.

We receive content from various sources: companies, individual contributors, standards groups, and more. When we get the content, we review it, improve it, and add “that little something more.” For example, right now, we’re concentrating on JavaScript language reference content. A doc sprint is a period of concentrated effort by a number of people to improve that content, or really, any part of the site that you’d like to work on. It’s like a hackathon for documentation.

No experience is necessary! At a doc sprint, beginners can learn how to get started. We have some basic tasks that anyone can do with support. And we’ll be there to support all contributors. Folks with more experience can make great progress on deeper tasks. We’ll all collaborate on the site: extending it and building the content, itself. Bugs get fixed on the spot. We do usability testing. We eat and drink and… Well, doc sprints are great places to geek out, make new friends, and meet old ones. To get a sense of past doc sprints, check out our previous posts.

Just go to Eventbrite to sign up. We look forward to seeing you there!

WPW Week 1: Array

Here we are at Web Platform Wednesdays Week 1 for the JavaScript language reference! There’s a reason why organizations and individuals have come together to document the web platform here. The content can be used and reused anywhere, without complex terms. What you contribute is for everyone’s use. It’s sort of documentation neutrality. So while this may appear to be just another JavaScript reference that we’re embarking on, it really is different.

We’ve got the scaffolding down, thanks to Microsoft, but let’s add some magic — that special something that comes from giving a gift, unconditionally.

We’re starting with Array this week, focusing on the object, itself, the constructor, and those few properties that make Array a special object, such as length and isArray. When working with basic reference content, we have the opportunity to add some wise words (such as, unless there’s a reason not to, create an array using literal notation). And let’s up the ante with examples. What kinds of code helps you when you’re learning a new feature? What did you wish you knew back way back when you were starting with JavaScript?

There’s plenty to do, even if you’re not a JavaScript expert: check the values against those in the spec, make sure all of the content from the MSDN page were imported, or find great blog posts and articles. Join us this week as we get the facts down, provide clear information about the language, and share the magic. Check out the language elements and how the activities break down, then let us know what you want to do by emailing the public list.

Web Platform Wednesdays, meet JavaScript!

You’ve been waiting for a space to share your most treasured thoughts on JavaScript? Well, the wait is over. We’re ready for the second content project on webplatform.org. The JavaScript reference pages that Microsoft donated have been imported. That means we’re ready to make them ours! So, we’ll start up Web Platform Wednesdays again. There are about 350 language parts to review and improve.

Next week, we’ll have a list of JavaScript language elements that folks can add their wisdom to. We’ll publish the lists on Tuesday evenings PST, so that folks in Europe can start their Wednesdays with a fresh list.

Email the public list <public-webplatform@w3.org> with the pages you want to work on, and what you’re taking on (basic facts, explanations, samples, 3rd-party links…). If you’re interested in working on something not listed, no problem. Just let us know.

And if you’re particularly talented, we could use your help constructing what we call a gold standard page — an example that all other contributors can reference to see what we consider a great page. If you’re available now to work on a part of the gold standard, just email the public list <public-webplatform@w3.org> to sign up.

We’ll be live on the IRC channel #webplatform to help out on Wednesdays — we’re actually there a lot of the time — so join the channel and don’t be shy.

See you next week!

WPW: a maker’s manifesto, revised

Last night, the HTML5 meetup in Sacramento, California, invited Rebecca Hauck, Larry McLister, and myself to talk about Test the Web Forward and WebPlatform.org. We met up at the Hacker Lab, where there is also a maker’s lab. So while we were talking about the Open Web, there was a laser-cutting workshop going on in the back. By now, the relationship between the rise of the maker’s movement and hackerspaces has been codified in Wikipedia. But the Sacramento Hacker Lab summaries it nicely on their meetup page: “Hacker Lab is a collaborative workspace and organization of hackers, makers, and entrepreneurs. We foster technology through community education and mentorship. Together we are building a startup community and innovative ecosystem! Join us! BUILD CODE UNITE!”

BUILD CODE UNITE! I don’t know where that manifesto came from, but sign me up! Whether you were wandering around Silicon Valley electronic surplus stores in the 70s or have recently encountered NodeBots, you know how addictive it can be to gather up components and create something of your own. And that’s what hackers/makers/creatives are doing every day. And open web designers and developers are definitely part of this movement.

Of course, I’d like to insert a little edit into that manifesto: BUILD CODE DOC UNITE!

We need to document what we’re doing: we need to build and code the web, but also, communicate, introspect, customize, and improve the web. So, please join us. Help us build this site. Share some of your coding best practices. Write an article about a topic you know and love. Edit a reference page so it is clearer to that genius child who is tinkering with — or inventing — the next web technology.

That genius child just may need a quick reminder about the latest layout properties, which is where our focus is right now. To help with the CSS properties project, visit the Web Platform Wednesdays page. Go through the Web Platform Wednesday past reports and choose one that hasn’t been completed. Coordinators are ready to help you help others, so hop on to the #webplatform IRC Channel or sign up for the mailing list. Let us know you’re ready to join the movement!

Web Platform Wednesday, Week 15: Finishing round one of CSS properties

Ding-ding! This week, we finish up with the first round of editing and adding samples to CSS properties. We’ll need to go back and pick up properties that weren’t completed or were recently added. But this is a great week to pick up a random property and add some quality to it. Position, clip, visibility, and other properties are waiting for basic facts, useful explanations, examples, and links to great articles.

So, head on over to the Web Platform Wednesday page and see where you can help. If you find any properties that you want to help contribute to, have any questions or even are not sure where to start, come and chat with the coordinators in the #webplatform IRC Channel or via email on the mailing list, as there is always someone who will be happy to help.

WebPlatform Wednesday, Week 14: Grids

A lot of folks are vacationing now, far away from gridlock. But wait! Grid layout needs your help!

Up to this point, our main focus was to edit content graciously donated by Microsoft, updating it to match the latest specs, and adding more examples and details. With this week’s properties, we’re mostly starting from scratch. We’ve created the pages, but there’s no content at all. So when you go to contribute, you have a tabula rasa – a blank slate – or should we say a template rasa, because the template is there. You get to fill it in.

As NicdaCosta mentioned in an earlier blog post, these new properties allows developers to create fluid grids without having to resort to older techniques. And here’s a great article to get you started on Grid Layout. Also, make sure to check out a fantastic new editor’s draft on CSS Grid Layout that explains the background and motivation, and provides many enlightening examples.

What’s better than a fresh start and a good reference? Well, maybe a few things, but here at WebPlatform.org, we rank these pretty high.

So, head on over to the Web Platform Wednesday page and see where you can help. If you find any properties that you want to help contribute to, have any questions or even are not sure where to start, come and chat with the coordinators in the #webplatform IRC Channel or via email on the mailing list, as there is always someone who will be happy to help.

Web Platform Wednesday, Week 12: Emphasizing text properties

This week, we’re putting an emphasis on text properties. That’s right: text-emphasis, text-emphasis-color, and text-emphasis-style. We also want to cover some text decoration properties. Learn how to fine-tune your text while contributing to Web Platform Docs.

We’re coming to the end game for this project. We’re doing a lot of work behind the scenes to make sure the properties pages are looking good. You may see some slight changes to the pages as you’re editing them. For example, we’re adding an infographic to the top of the page to make it easy for the user to identify the status of a spec. If you notice some of these changes, and you want to provide feedback, please email the public list with your comments.

It’s Summer, we know. But we have one contributor who is working from the beach with the sun, the surf, the kids, the beach balls and Web Platform Docs! You can pick a task, such as Basic facts, Explanatory text, Examples or Links, and do it while you’re taking a break from the sun under that umbrella. Cool off while earning that fire starter badge.

To view a full list of all properties we will be covering this week, head over to the WPW page, pick one or more properties you find interesting. Then contact the coordinators through the #webplatform IRC Channel or on the public email list to ensure you won’t be doing duplicate work. There is always someone willing to help, so feel free to contact us if you have any questions, problems, feedback or just want to tell us what you did on your summer vacation!

Web Platform Wednesday, Week 11: backgrounds, borders and transforms

From the simple to the advanced, CSS has a lot of effects to offer with a little bit of code. This week we’re documenting background, border, and transform properties. And looking around, there’s a lot of great advice and tools out there.

For instance, did you know there’s a site out there just to help you create a border radius? The site’s name? border-radius.com, of course. And at the other end of the spectrum, Mike Sierra’s article on CSS transforms takes a deck of cards and shuffles them every which way.

Shay Howe also has a straightforward transforms tutorial that takes you from the basics to a 3D cube demo, before you even know how far you’ve gone. And then there’s the hoedown with backgrounds from Rob Fletcher, who shows out to do CSS background transformations the right way. While you’re at it, check out Chris Coyer’s introduction to animation.

With so much help from such a creative community, it’s really fun to beef up the reference pages for these properties. Head on over to the Web Platform Wednesday page and see where you can lend your creativity. If you find any properties you want to work on, or have questions about, come and chat with the co-ordinators in the #webplatform IRC Channel or via email on the mailing list, as there is always someone who will be happy to help.