Getting started

  • Revision slug: Project:Getting_started
  • Revision title: Getting started
  • Revision id: 49237
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Revision Content

{{ MDCProjectPagesTOC() }}

Introduction

Helping with the MDN is as easy as using your browser. If you have ever filled in a web form or used a text area to write a weblog post, you have all the browser skills you need to get started.

You are encouraged to help write, edit, review, and translate any documentation you find within these wikis. Please do so in the spirit of cooperative improvement, and do not be disappointed if someone else corrects or improves upon your contributions. We are all here to try to make Mozilla documentation much better (save for a few nasty spammers), so cooperation and helping one another is always encouraged.

Working with the site and community

The documentation community is a group, largely comprised of volunteers, with the goal of providing useful documentation to users of Mozilla products and the web in general. We are always happy to help new writers and editors get involved and encourage everyone to participate in helping to make this documentation the best it can be.

We are all aware that joining a new group can be difficult so here is a short list that may help you.

  • Content is more important than style, grammar and even spelling.
  • It is fine to make mistakes! You can simply edit the page again to fix it. In the worst case every change can be quickly and easily reversed, you can even do this yourself.
  • No-one is going to be upset if you make a change to the page they created. Everyone in the documentation community has the same goal, the best documentation possible.
  • Do not be upset if someone edits the same page you did shortly afterwards. Most likely it is because your edit showed up in the Recent changes list and someone reviewing this list realized there was something they could contribute.
  • Sometimes your changes may be completely reversed. This is a very rare occurrence, and may be a good opportunity to introduce yourself to another member of the community.
  • There are people in many different time zones participating in documentation, so if you do not get a reply immediately from your email, or on IRC please be patient.
  • Mozilla employs a small friendly staff to manage the documentation process. They review all the changes made and will fix any style or wording issues.

The basics

Here is a short guide for creating and editing pages in the MDN wikis. You are welcome to practice your wiki skills in the Sandbox.

Editing pages

To edit a page, you will first have to create an account on the wiki. Do this by going to the User login page and then filling out and submitting the form. Once you have created an account, you will automatically be logged in and able to edit.

At the top of every page, you will now see an "Edit page" link. Clicking this link brings you to the editing form for the selected page, where you can make and preview whatever changes you wish to make, then save them into the wiki. Once you save your edits, you will be able to see them immediately on the page.

You can also point at a subtitle on a page and click the edit button that appears next to it to edit just that section.

Starting a new page

The easiest way to start a new page is to create a link for it on your user page, then use that link to enter the "Edit" mode for the page.

If you do not know where to put a new article, do not worry about it! Put it anywhere, and we will find it and move it to where it belongs, or merge it into existing content if that makes the most sense. You also do not need to worry about making it perfect. We have happy helper gnomes that will help make your content clean and luscious.

To get to your user page, click on your user name in the top blue bar of the wiki. If you have not added anything to your user page, you will be brought immediately into the editing form for the page where you can add whatever content you like.

Using the WYSIWYG editor:

  1. Type the name of the page you want to create in the text of a page, such as your user page.
  2. Highlight the page name, and click the Link button in the editor's toolbar. The Update Link dialog opens, with the highlighted text in the Link To field.
  3. Insert "en/" (or another language code if you're creating a translated page) at the beginning of the Link To field, leaving the rest of the text there.
  4. Click Update Link.

If the page does not already exist, the link will be in red. If it does already exist, the link will be in blue. Should you want to create a new page but the page title you want is already taken, check first to see if it makes more sense to help edit and improve the page that is already there. Otherwise, think of a different title for your new page and create a link for it.

When you want to add content to your new page, simply click on the red link you just created and start writing. Remember to use the "Save" button in the editor's toolbar to save your work (be sure to save often if you are working on a long piece).

Page naming guide

For more information about creating and naming new pages, see our page naming guide.

Wiki markup

MindTouch Deki, the software the Mozilla Developer Network uses, uses XHTML as its markup language for the documentation. If you wish to see or edit the XHTML content, you can do so by clicking the "Source" button in the toolbar while in edit mode. Click it again to return to the WYSIWYG editor.

Writing, editing, and reviewing

Here is a slightly longer introduction to the MDN for writers, editors, and reviewers.

Writers

The MDN is always interested in new content, so you are encouraged to write new articles on whatever topics we currently cover in the wiki. New content can be as simple as a one page tip or as complex as a book-length programming guide or reference. The amount of new content you contribute is entirely up to you.

There are lots of bugs in Bugzilla related to documentation; review the article on Tracking documentation issues for details on how to find and prioritize documentation bugs.

If you are going to undertake a large project, I suggest you join the MDN community and discuss it there first in case someone else is planning to start (or has already started) a similar project.

Refer to our writer's guide if you have questions about style or usage policies within the wiki.

Editors

Copy editing is always welcomed in this wiki, particularly to improve or correct writing style, grammar, or spelling. Please see our writer's guide for more information.

You do not need special privileges to edit the wiki; simply sign up for a free MDN account and dive right in!

Reviewers

Technical improvements and review are always welcome. If you are reading through a page and spot a technical error (be it in code or text), please feel free to correct it. If it is a controversial change, make a note in the "talk" page (accessed by clicking the "Talk page" option in the "More options" menu) and leave a note that outlines your reasons for the change.

Writer's guide

We have a writer's guide outlining preferred writing style practices for the MDN wiki. If you have questions about usage and style that are not covered there, I recommend referring to the Economist style guide or, failing that, the Chicago Manual of Style.

We will be expanding the guide over time, so if you have specific questions that are not covered by the writer's guide, please send them to the MDN mailing list or developer documentation lead.

Migrating old documentation

One longer ongoing subproject at the MDN is to migrate all currently existing developer documentation from the mozilla.org web site into the MDN wiki. The procedure is fairly simple:

  1. Pick a document you would like to migrate from the existing content list.
  2. Refer to the page naming guide and decide what the page or pages for that document should be called in the wiki.
  3. Create those pages and migrate the content, marking it up as best you can using the wiki markup reference as a guide.
  4. Delete the item from the existing content list.
  5. Add the item to the needs redirect list.

If you are keen on doing a comprehensive job on this, you will also:

  1. Use our search system to search for any links to the original document in the wiki, then change those links so they point at the new wiki page.
  2. Check for external redirects to the original document, and flag those redirects for deletion by adding the "Junk" tag to them.

Localizing the MDN

If you are interested in helping translate the documentation in any of the MDN wikis to another language, simply visit the relevant language's wiki and create or edit pages.

Existing localization projects

Currently the MDN has wikis for the following languages: Català,Čeština, 中文(简体), Deutsch, English, Español, Français, Italiano, 日本語, Magyar, Nederlands, Polski, Português, 한국어, 中文(正體), Русский, Suomi, Türkçe, فارسی.

How to start a new localization project

If you would like to start a new localization project for a language we do not currently have a wiki for, please read the localization projects page and follow the instructions there.

Resolving "edit wars" or other conflicts

If for whatever reason you end up in an "edit war" on a page, where two or more people are continually and repeatedly making and reverting changes, please try to resolve the conflict with the people involved first.

Should no resolution be possible, please bring it to the attention of either (ideally) the MDN mailing list or (as a last resort) the developer documentation lead. Other technical experts, writers, and editors will be consulted as required, and their expertise will be used to resolve the problem.

Requesting page deletions

Should you create a page by accident or stumble across a page you think should be deleted, mark it as such by adding the "Junk" tag to it.

Items tagged as Junk are checked periodically by wiki administrators and the pages it contains are evaluated and deleted when appropriate.

Note: Please do not delete other content or categories from the pages you flag as "Junk".

Joining the MDN community

Mailing list / newsgroup

View MDN forums...

{{ DiscussionList("dev-mdc", "mozilla.dev.mdc") }}

IRC channel

We also hang out on the irc.mozilla.org server in the #devmo channel: #devmo on irc.mozilla.org.

Project lead

The MDN and developer documentation is overseen by Eric Shepherd.

{{ languages( { "de": "Project:de/Wie_kann_ich_helfen?", "en": "Project:en/Getting_started", "el": "Project:el/Ξεκινώντας", "es": "Project:es/Primeros_Pasos", "fr": "Project:fr/Pour_commencer", "ja": "Project:ja/Getting_started", "pl": "Project:pl/Na_pocz\u0105tek", "pt": "Project:pt/Como_come\u00e7ar", "zh-cn": "Project:cn/\u73b0\u5728\u5c31\u5f00\u59cb" } ) }}

Revision Source

<p>{{ MDCProjectPagesTOC() }}</p>
<h3>Introduction</h3>
<p>Helping with the MDN is as easy as using your browser. If you have ever filled in a web form or used a text area to write a weblog post, you have all the browser skills you need to get started.</p>
<p><strong>You are encouraged to help write, edit, review, and translate any documentation you find within these wikis.</strong> Please do so in the spirit of cooperative improvement, and do not be disappointed if someone else corrects or improves upon your contributions. We are all here to try to make Mozilla documentation much better (save for a few nasty spammers), so cooperation and helping one another is always encouraged.</p>
<h3>Working with the site and community</h3>
<p>The documentation community is a group, largely comprised of volunteers, with the goal of providing useful documentation to users of Mozilla products and the web in general. We are always happy to help new writers and editors get involved and encourage everyone to participate in helping to make this documentation the best it can be.</p>
<p>We are all aware that joining a new group can be difficult so here is a short list that may help you.</p>
<ul> <li>Content is more important than style, grammar and even spelling.</li> <li>It is fine to make mistakes! You can simply edit the page again to fix it. In the worst case every change can be quickly and easily reversed, you can even do this yourself.</li> <li>No-one is going to be upset if you make a change to the page they created. Everyone in the documentation community has the same goal, the best documentation possible.</li> <li>Do not be upset if someone edits the same page you did shortly afterwards. Most likely it is because your edit showed up in the <a class="internal" href="/Special:Recentchanges" title="Special:Recentchanges">Recent changes</a> list and someone reviewing this list realized there was something they could contribute.</li> <li>Sometimes your changes may be completely reversed. This is a very rare occurrence, and may be a good opportunity to introduce yourself to another member of the community.</li> <li>There are people in many different time zones participating in documentation, so if you do not get a reply immediately from your email, or on IRC please be patient.</li> <li>Mozilla employs a small friendly staff to manage the documentation process. They review all the changes made and will fix any style or wording issues.</li>
</ul>
<h3>The basics</h3>
<p>Here is a short guide for creating and editing pages in the MDN wikis. You are welcome to practice your wiki skills in the <a href="/en/Sandbox" title="En/Sandbox">Sandbox</a>.</p>
<h4>Editing pages</h4>
<p>To edit a page, you will first have to create an account on the wiki. Do this by going to the <a href="/Special:Userlogin" title="Log in">User login</a> page and then filling out and submitting the form. Once you have created an account, you will automatically be logged in and able to edit.</p>
<p>At the top of every page, you will now see an "Edit page" link. Clicking this link brings you to the editing form for the selected page, where you can make and preview whatever changes you wish to make, then save them into the wiki. Once you save your edits, you will be able to see them immediately on the page.</p>
<p>You can also point at a subtitle on a page and click the edit button that appears next to it to edit just that section.</p>
<h4>Starting a new page</h4>
<p>The easiest way to start a new page is to create a link for it on your user page, then use that link to enter the "Edit" mode for the page.</p>
<p>If you do not know where to put a new article, <strong>do not worry about it!</strong> Put it anywhere, and we will find it and move it to where it belongs, or merge it into existing content if that makes the most sense. You also do not need to worry about making it perfect. We have happy helper gnomes that will help make your content clean and luscious.</p>
<p>To get to your user page, click on your user name in the top blue bar of the wiki. If you have not added anything to your user page, you will be brought immediately into the editing form for the page where you can add whatever content you like.</p>
<p>Using the WYSIWYG editor:</p>
<ol> <li>Type the name of the page you want to create in the text of a page, such as your user page.</li> <li>Highlight the page name, and click the Link button in the editor's toolbar. The Update Link dialog opens, with the highlighted text in the Link To field.</li> <li>Insert "en/" (or another language code if you're creating a translated page) at the beginning of the Link To field, leaving the rest of the text there.</li> <li>Click Update Link.</li>
</ol>
<p>If the page does not already exist, the link will be in red. If it <em>does</em> already exist, the link will be in blue. Should you want to create a new page but the page title you want is already taken, check first to see if it makes more sense to help edit and improve the page that is already there. Otherwise, think of a different title for your new page and create a link for it.</p>
<p>When you want to add content to your new page, simply click on the red link you just created and start writing. Remember to use the "Save" button in the editor's toolbar to save your work (be sure to save often if you are working on a long piece).</p><h4>Page naming guide</h4>
<p>For more information about creating and naming new pages, see our <a href="/Project:en/Page_Naming_Guide" title="Project:en/Page_Naming_Guide">page naming guide</a>.</p>
<h4>Wiki markup</h4>
<p>MindTouch Deki, the software the Mozilla Developer Network uses, uses XHTML as its markup language for the documentation. If you wish to see or edit the XHTML content, you can do so by clicking the "Source" button in the toolbar while in edit mode. Click it again to return to the WYSIWYG editor.</p>
<h3>Writing, editing, and reviewing</h3>
<p>Here is a slightly longer introduction to the MDN for writers, editors, and reviewers.</p>
<h4>Writers</h4>
<p>The MDN is always interested in new content, so you are encouraged to write new articles on whatever <a href="/Special:Tags?tag=All_Categories&amp;language=en" title="Special:Tags?tag=All_Categories&amp;language=en">topics</a> we currently cover in the wiki. New content can be as simple as a one page tip or as complex as a book-length programming guide or reference. The amount of new content you contribute is entirely up to you.</p>
<p>There are lots of bugs in Bugzilla related to documentation; review the article on <a href="/Project:en/Tracking_documentation_issues" title="Project:en/Tracking documentation issues">Tracking documentation issues</a> for details on how to find and prioritize documentation bugs.</p>
<p>If you are going to undertake a large project, I suggest you join the <a href="/Project:en/Getting_started#Joining_the_MDN_community" title="Project:en/Getting_started#Joining_the_MDN_community">MDN community</a> and discuss it there first in case someone else is planning to start (or has already started) a similar project.</p>
<p>Refer to our <a href="/Project:en/Writer's_guide" title="Project:en/Writer's_guide">writer's guide</a> if you have questions about style or usage policies within the wiki.</p>
<h4>Editors</h4>
<p>Copy editing is always welcomed in this wiki, particularly to improve or correct writing style, grammar, or spelling. Please see our <a href="/Project:en/Writer's_guide" title="Project:en/Writer's_guide">writer's guide</a> for more information.</p>
<p>You do not need special privileges to edit the wiki; simply <a class="external" href="/Special:Userlogin" title="https://developer.mozilla.org/index.php?title=Special:Userlogin&amp;register=true">sign up for a free MDN account</a> and dive right in!</p>
<h4>Reviewers</h4>
<p>Technical improvements and review are always welcome. If you are reading through a page and spot a technical error (be it in code or text), please feel free to correct it. If it is a controversial change, make a note in the "talk" page (accessed by clicking the "Talk page" option in the "More options" menu) and leave a note that outlines your reasons for the change.</p>
<h4>Writer's guide</h4>
<p>We have a <a href="/Project:en/Writer's_guide" title="Project:en/Writer's_guide">writer's guide</a> outlining preferred writing style practices for the MDN wiki. If you have questions about usage and style that are not covered there, I recommend referring to the <a class="external" href="http://www.economist.com/research/StyleGuide/">Economist style guide</a> or, failing that, the <a class="external" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0226104036/">Chicago Manual of Style</a>.</p>
<p>We will be expanding the guide over time, so if you have specific questions that are not covered by the <a href="/Project:en/Writer's_guide" title="Project:en/Writer's_guide">writer's guide</a>, please send them to the <a href="/Project:en/Community" title="Project:en/Community">MDN mailing list</a> or <a href="/User:Sheppy" title="User:Sheppy">developer documentation lead</a>.</p>
<h2>Migrating old documentation</h2>
<p>One longer ongoing subproject at the MDN is to migrate all currently existing developer documentation from the <a class="external" href="http://www.mozilla.org">mozilla.org</a> web site into the MDN wiki. The procedure is fairly simple:</p>
<ol> <li>Pick a document you would like to migrate from the <a href="/Project:en/Existing_Content" title="Project:en/Existing_Content">existing content</a> list.</li> <li>Refer to the <a href="/Project:en/Page_Naming_Guide" title="Project:en/Page_Naming_Guide">page naming guide</a> and decide what the page or pages for that document should be called in the wiki.</li> <li>Create those pages and migrate the content, marking it up as best you can using the <a href="/Project:En/MDC_style_guide" title="Project:en/Wiki_Markup_Reference">wiki markup reference</a> as a guide.</li> <li>Delete the item from the <a href="/Project:en/Existing_Content" title="Project:en/Existing_Content">existing content</a> list.</li> <li>Add the item to the <a href="/Project:en/Needs_Redirect" title="Project:en/Needs_Redirect">needs redirect</a> list.</li>
</ol>
<p>If you are keen on doing a comprehensive job on this, you will also:</p>
<ol> <li>Use <a href="/Special:Search" title="Search">our search system</a> to search for any links to the original document in the wiki, then change those links so they point at the new wiki page.</li> <li>Check for <a href="/Project:en/External_Redirects" title="Project:en/External_Redirects">external redirects</a> to the original document, and flag those redirects for deletion by adding the "Junk" tag to them.</li>
</ol>
<h3>Localizing the MDN</h3>
<p>If you are interested in helping translate the documentation in any of the MDN wikis to another language, simply visit the relevant language's wiki and create or edit pages.</p>
<h4>Existing localization projects</h4>
<p>Currently the MDN has wikis for the following languages: <a class="external" href="/ca" title="ca">Català</a>,<a class="external" href="/cs" title="cs">Čeština</a>, <a class="external" href="/cn" title="cn">中文(简体)</a>, <a class="external" href="/de" title="de">Deutsch</a>, <a class="external" href="/en" title="en">English</a>, <a class="external" href="/es" title="es">Español</a>, <a class="external" href="/fr" title="fr">Français</a>, <a class="external" href="/it" title="it">Italiano</a>, <a class="external" href="/ja" title="ja">日本語</a>, <a href="/hu" title="hu">Magyar</a>, <a class="external" href="/nl" title="nl">Nederlands</a>, <a class="external" href="/pl" title="pl">Polski</a>, <a class="external" href="/pt" title="pt">Português</a>, <a class="external" href="/ko" title="ko">한국어</a>, <a class="external" href="/zh_tw" title="zh_tw">中文(正體)</a>, <a class="external" href="/ru" title="ru">Русский</a>, <a class="external" href="/fi" title="fi">Suomi</a>, <a class="external" href="/Tr" title="Tr">Türkçe</a>, <a class="external" href="/fa" title="fa">فارسی</a>.</p>
<h4>How to start a new localization project</h4>
<p>If you would like to start a new localization project for a language we do not currently have a wiki for, please read the <a href="/Project:en/Localization_Projects" title="Project:en/Localization_Projects">localization projects</a> page and follow the instructions there.</p>
<h2>Resolving "edit wars" or other conflicts</h2>
<p>If for whatever reason you end up in an "edit war" on a page, where two or more people are continually and repeatedly making and reverting changes, please try to resolve the conflict with the people involved first.</p>
<p>Should no resolution be possible, please bring it to the attention of either (ideally) the <a href="/Project:en/Community" title="Project:en/Community">MDN mailing list</a> or (as a last resort) the <a href="/User:Sheppy" title="User:Sheppy">developer documentation lead</a>. Other technical experts, writers, and editors will be consulted as required, and their expertise will be used to resolve the problem.</p>
<h2>Requesting page deletions</h2>
<p>Should you create a page by accident or stumble across a page you think should be deleted, mark it as such by adding the "Junk" tag to it.</p>
<p>Items tagged as <a class="internal" href="/Special:Tags?tag=Junk" title="Special:Tags?tag=Junk">Junk</a> are checked periodically by wiki administrators and the pages it contains are evaluated and deleted when appropriate.</p>
<div class="note"><strong>Note</strong>: Please do not delete other content or categories from the pages you flag as "Junk".</div>
<h2>Joining the MDN community</h2>
<h3>Mailing list / newsgroup</h3>
<p>View MDN forums...</p>
<p>{{ DiscussionList("dev-mdc", "mozilla.dev.mdc") }}</p>
<h3>IRC channel</h3>
<p>We also hang out on the irc.mozilla.org server in the #devmo channel: <a class="link-irc" href="irc://irc.mozilla.org/devmo">#devmo on irc.mozilla.org</a>.</p>
<h3>Project lead</h3>
<p>The MDN and developer documentation is overseen by <a class="link-mailto" href="mailto:eshepherd@mozilla.com">Eric Shepherd</a>.</p>
<p>{{ languages( { "de": "Project:de/Wie_kann_ich_helfen?", "en": "Project:en/Getting_started", "el": "Project:el/Ξεκινώντας", "es": "Project:es/Primeros_Pasos", "fr": "Project:fr/Pour_commencer", "ja": "Project:ja/Getting_started", "pl": "Project:pl/Na_pocz\u0105tek", "pt": "Project:pt/Como_come\u00e7ar", "zh-cn": "Project:cn/\u73b0\u5728\u5c31\u5f00\u59cb" } ) }}</p>
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