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!

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!

Birthday-party-slash-Doc-Sprint, Amsterdam, October 12, 2013

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Also, never doubt that a small group can get a lot done at a doc sprint, and the group at the Amsterdam doc sprint, however small, accomplished a lot of work on Web Platform Docs, moved the web forward, and changed the world. A small group, however, does have trouble polishing off a huge, chocolatey birthday cake, and we really could have done with more attendance on that front.

Indeed, the cake was not only not a lie, it was delicious. Careful with the knife, Doug.

The cake, the catering, and the venue, The Hub co-working space, were all orchestrated by our host, Paul Verbeek. Paul also coordinated with the Fronteers organization, which helped publicize the doc sprint, as it followed the Fronteers 2013 developer conference. Everything came off with great panache! Thanks, Paul!

The big story coming out this doc sprint is that we finished some 53 CSS properties, to bring the total number of CSS properties completed to within twenty of our goal for the project. Some of the work on those 53 properties was already done, in other doc sprints and by other contributors, so we mostly reviewed and put the finishing touches on these properties, and we were able to move very quickly through the list.

There are opportunities for us to add value to the web, apart from great documentation. In documenting the new auto value of the outline-style property we discovered that the specification did not describe exactly how the auto value should work as a standard, the spec leaves it up to the user agent, and when we tested it in several browsers on several systems, we were unable to discern a common pattern. This struck us as falling short, so we dispatched a missive to the CSS working group, recommending that the behavior of the auto value be more clearly defined. We’re waiting to hear back from them. But the point is, we took the opportunity to not only document the auto value, but to help shape its specification and participate directly in building the web.

Some prefer to sprint in their socks.

Many of the participants here in Amsterdam have also attended one or both of the other European doc sprints. Rodney RehmVivienne van Velzen, and Francesco Iovine, veterans of the Berlin and Zurich doc sprints, made a mountain of edits to the CSS properties and HTML attributes documentation.

Is it time for cake yet?

We also signed up several new members, one of whom, Tom Schuller won the raffle prize, a Chromebook provided by Google.

Show up at a doc sprint, win free stuff!

The local luminaries also graced us with not only an appearance, they chipped in on the CSS properties and worked on developing automated compatibility information for WPD. Peter-Paul Koch of Quirksmode fame, Ronald Mansveld, and Niels Leenheer of HTML5Test are working with Doug Schepers of the W3C to aggregate compatibility information from across the web and display it on Web Platform Docs.

The Syndics revisited. This time, it’s the fabric of the web.

Okay, one last cheesy mashup featuring the work of Dutch masters of the Golden Age, just to tie up the analogy above, and hopefully put an end to all the silliness of the last three blog posts:

The real Syndics did show up, but left abruptly when we told them the Linen API wasn’t standards-track. [The Syndics of the Drapers' Guild, by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, courtesy of the Rijksmuseum.]

So, even if we couldn’t finish the cake, we certainly took a big bite out of the work on Web Platform Docs. As this post goes to press, the CSS properties are being finished and the last loose ends of that project are getting tied up. We look forward to developing a new JavaScript reference and over-hauling our HTML elements and attributes in up-coming doc sprints. We hope you’ll join us!

Switzerland Doc Sprint sets some new records!

The first ever Swiss Web Platform Doc Sprint is a wrap! Pure stat hunters might have liked to see more attendees: 15 out of 31 registrants attending resulted in a 52% no-show, which is pretty unusual for Switzerland; this was probably due to the current holiday season as well as the pouring rain. But hey, this is clearly about quality not quantity, so let’s talk more about the longest traveller to the sprint: Francesco, who came in from Rome, Italy. Or how about probably the youngest ever Doc Sprint attendee, Samarth (age 13), who made the script tag shine on Web Platform Docs!

Chris Mills from Mozilla presented a guide to using the Wiki, making edits, and what work we aimed to achieve. The fifteen very motivated and skilled contributors were a fairly even mix of Web Platform veterans and newcomers, and jumped head-first in to a variety of tasks ranging from bug investigation to example coding and doc writing.

We’d like to say a special thanks to Mike West (Google) and contributor Rodney Rehm (who already attended the Berlin Doc Sprint) — they helped attendees with 1:1 support on various questions over the day. Next, let’s give a big shout-out to our lovely venue sponsors Colab Zurich, who provided delicious catering for the full day, and to Adobe, who made the event possible by providing everything throughout the day.

Logo of Web Platform Doc SprintWe can report the following work stats:

David Maciejewski from t3n Magazine attended, and, in addition to contributing edits to the site, wrote a nice (german) review about the sprint and its motives, encouraging the community to organize similar events.

A huge thank you to all attendees of this Doc Sprint!

Web Platform Doc Sprint
August 28th 2013, Zurich, Switzerland!

Followers of the WebPlatform.org effort will remember that we ran our groundbreaking first European Web Platform Doc Sprint on February 8-9 in Berlin, Germany. This went down well, and a lot of good work was done on the CSS property and API documentation. The latest good news is that we are running another Doc Sprint — this time in Zurich, Switzerland, on August 28th!

Our new Doc Sprint is being run to coincide with Switzerland’s premier front end developer conference, Frontend Conference Zurich, which happens in the two days after the sprint. Use this as a great opportunity to attend a great conference, and make a great contribution to front end web documentation, all in one trip!

Aims of the Doc Sprint

Logo of Web Platform Doc Sprint

Doc Sprints are great places to have a great and geeky time, make new
friends, and meet old ones. At this event:

  • Beginners will learn how to get started as WebPlatform.org contributors
  • Those more experienced can dive in and make great uninterrupted progress on content
  • Great new ideas will form and grow through collaboration, including demos, plugins and more
  • Bugs will get fixed on the spot
  • Food and drinks (including but not limited to: beer) will be provided throughout the day
  • Swag will be tossed into the crowds
  • Winners will be crowned and prizes raffled away
  • A lot of fun is waiting for attendees!

The main focus topics at this event will be CSS properties and HTML elements/DOM, but if you would rather work on something else inside the WebPlatform.org documentation remit, we are more than happy to accommodate you! If you want to check up on what is ok to work on and suggest ideas, please tell us via the public mailing list.

Doc Sprint Venue and Sponsors

This Doc Sprint is organized by Adobe and being held at the awesome Colab Zurich, who are hosting the event as a sponsor and contributor to WebPlatform.org. Find full address details and directions on their website at http://colab-zurich.ch.

Sign me up!

Please sign up for the event at our Eventbrite page. We are looking forward seeing you in late August in Switzerland!

Web Platform Wednesday, Week 9: Layout

Last week we decided to take a small break to give everyone a rest and let you enjoy the holidays, so this week we are coming back in full force to tackle the next batch of CSS properties. This week, we will be focusing on layout based properties, which are fundamentally the foundation properties of all websites.

These properties that we will be covering, range from padding and size to positioning properties such as top, left, right, bottom and float. If you aren’t too familiar with these properties, here are some great reference materials on some of the CSS properties.

Position

Padding

Float

To view all the properties that we will be covering this week, 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 not sure, 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.

Until next week, happy documenting!

Web Platform Wednesday, Week 7: More text properties, shapes and exclusions

This week, we continue to work on text properties, but we’re adding some interesting properties. So if you know how to break out an experimental browser, and test the limits of features such as CSS Exclusions and Shapes, this is the week for you to jump in! And just in time for the latest Editor’s Draft. If you have an experimental browser available, such as Chrome Canary or WebKit Nightly, you can view demos such as The Raven and create your own.

There are some great explanations of CSS Exclusions out there, such as Hans Muller’s Growing and Shrinking Polygons: Round One and Bem Jones-Bey’s Freeing the Floats of the Future From the Tyranny of the Rectangle.

But also, if you happen to be going to the Seattle Doc Sprint this Saturday, June 22, you can ask questions of Alan Stearns, one of the editors of the CSS Exclusions and CSS Shapes specs. He’ll be there, along with other special guests.

Not in Seattle this weekend? No problem. Come chat with us on the #webplatform IRC Channel or on our public-webplatform@w3.org email list. However you join, do join Web Platform Wednesday this week as we continue to provide foundational and experimental content for our community.

Inaugural Doc Sprint for Seattle, June 22!

Webplatform.org continues to grow in all facets: breadth of content, accuracy, community health, and site usefulness. It’s a testament to the vibrancy of our community that we now have almost twenty thousand registered users! And though we are making great progress in building our “community-driven site that aims to become a comprehensive and authoritative source for web developer documentation,” there are still plenty of opportunities to make significant contributions.

Continue reading

Doc Sprint San Francisco, April 3

The Google offices in San Francisco are nestled in a cluster of buildings the erstwhile center of the caffeine universe and the headquarters of Hills Bros. Coffee. It was here, where beans were once unloaded from ships, roasted, ground, canned, and shipped to supermarkets all over the U.S., that we attempted to apply the same level of industry to the production of more modern commodities: Web Platform Docs.

Eschewing the brown water of days gone by, we embarked with (good) coffee and breakfast in the Google cafe, which was right next to our designated conference room.

The Doc Sprint was a lot of fun…and rewarding, too! I probably gained at least five pounds, though, with all the great food. -Dan Stormont

Peter Lubbers had expertly made all the arrangements and had all of the name tags ready for participants, so getting in, grabbing a bite, and getting to work were unhindered.

. . .

Julee Burdekin spent the day helping contributors on the CSS Properties project: Macy WongCarlos Araya, Heather White, Emuvente, Angela Lau, Dan Stormont, and Doug May touched 47 properties, including reviewing existing properties, adding samples, and working on new properties. The status of 32 properties was updated, including 6 moving into review, and 16 reviewed. Great work!

Other outstanding contributions:  Richard Trott cranked out more small-but-indispensable edits than should be humanly possible; Tony Sukiennik, explained the WebVTT format in the audio-video API ; Jack Chi, cooked up a nice XHR example; Romain Briand translated our main page to French; Pius Uzamere pushed a lot of bits for HTML span and other elements; Linda Sager improved the Web Typography and other conceptual articles. Folks found lots to do on the site, and they chipped in some great content!

. . .

Ryan Lane, our man at MediaWiki worked on the Evil Session Bug, made an initial site map of WPD, published the skin in Wikimedia’s Gerrit, and got an initial development environment set up in Wikimedia Labs to run experiments. [Late breaking update: I dare say, it looks like Ryan fixed the infamous Evil Session Bug!!!]

After a delicious lunch (again in the Google cafe, gourmet all the way, etc.), Michael Mullaney, CEO of Sencha delivered a rousing presentation on SVG filters. (Doug Schepers is kicking himself for not being there as you read this.) Michael’s presentation followed the detailed article he contributed on the SVG feColorMatrix element with several image and code examples. People use the word, “awesome” too much, yes. But Michael’s contribution to WPD and the wider community is dictionary-definition awesome.

. . .

More celebrities: Christian Heilmann came by to chat with us as we drank (Californian) beer and munched on finger foods in the Google cafe over-looking the Bay bridge. Always fun to hang out with Chris!

I am glad I participated in the Doc Sprint. It feels great to make a contribution and learn in the process! Now I’m hooked. :) -Angela Lau

We raffled off a ChromeBook, and Carlos Araya took home the prize. Congratulations, Carlos!

. . .

Thanks to everyone who came to this event! In all we had 43 participants at the local doc sprint and several who were there in spirit via TCP/IP. Our stats are incomplete because I was only able to gather three hours of data – and if I missed your contributions in the items above, please accept my apologies.

Having great fun doing this and it’s a nice feeling to contribute and being part of this exciting and important endeavor. Great lunch at Google SF campus is a cherry on top! Thanks, Google for hosting. -Linda Sager

Also, we especially thank the 20 participants who contributed their responses to our survey. These results are encouraging in that they show some improvement in this doc sprint over previous sprints, and they offer many pointers to where we can continue to up our game. Keep the feedback coming!

. . .

So on this, the birthday of Herb Caen, champion of three-dot journalism and old-school canned brown water (that’s right, Frisbeetarian that I am, I just couldn’t resist a paean to Caen; for those of you who didn’t grow up in San Francisco, that’s why the elipses between paragraphs appear above), we humbly submit for the times yet another collaboration of Web Platform Docs, and dedicate it to Herb.

 

How we’re working, at WebPlatform.org

I thought I’d share some thoughts this week on how we are working towards making web standards documentation rock more here at WebPlatform.org! We knew it would be challenging to deal with this much content, especially as we are mostly volunteers with only a finite amount of time available to work on the project. We’ve already achieved much, working towards our goal of making WebPlatform.org the definitive client-side web technology documentation site, but there is still much more to do. This is why we opened it up to the wider community as an alpha.

The plan has always been to include the public as early as possible. The web does, after all, belong to all of us. To facilitate getting things done, we have a number of communication means at our disposal. We have a number of discussion methods available including IRC and a mailing list. These are mostly used for general communication, such as announcing in-person Doc Sprints, soliciting feedback and discussing current and future work. For focusing on particular tasks, we:

  • Identify specific tasks to work on. To make the work more manageable, we have started to split it into manageable chunks and we work on each item in turn.
  • Discuss these tasks via our regular communication means, and also have more involved discussions at our regular weekly meetings, simultaneously held on teleconference and IRC.
  • Record task priority lists and who is working on each task, at our beta requirements page.
  • Create detailed task plans to outline how the work will be done, with subtasks, and people assigned to complete them.
  • Get on with the tasks!
  • Speed up task progress with intensive bursts of work at Doc Sprint events.

Current priorities

At the moment, the main topics we are focusing on are CSS properties and JavaScript APIs. Our plan is to perfect the topic pages for these two major areas over the next two to three months. This is where you come in! If you are knowledgeable and passionate about these areas, please get in touch with us to find out how best to contribute. If you don’t wish to contribute to either of these focus areas, and wish to work on something else instead, get in touch anyway, as we will be able to find something for you to do.

The next Doc Sprint we have coming up is in Berlin, Germany, this week — we expect to make a lot of progress on our priority tasks there!