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InfoQ Homepage News Mozilla Retools MDN to Improve Web Documentation

Mozilla Retools MDN to Improve Web Documentation

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Whenever developers search for HTML and JavaScript documentation, MDN is usually one of the top hits. Now, Mozilla has decided to "double-down" and boost their efforts in order to officially focus on web documentation.

In a blog post, Mozilla senior product manager Kadir Topal writes that they want to "solidify MDN as the single best resource for Web docs". Originally, MDN stood for Mozilla Developer Network, but there's really no network to speak of. To that end, they're renaming it to MDN Web Docs.

New MDN Web Docs logo from Mozilla

Web developers have long valued MDN for their authority and high quality documentation. Hacker News user alistproducer2 says, "I always tell my co-workers that MDN is the de-facto documentation for JavaScript". Others have developed techniques for ensuring that MDN's search results rise to the top. Flanbiscuit wrote that "searching for 'mdn whatever' in Google gets me the MDN results I wanted as the top result with the rest of the page being populated by other related MDN results."

Part of Mozilla's concern, however, is that their popular web documentation was intertwined with product documentation for Firefox and Gecko, which could sometimes lead to confusion for developers. In an upcoming site redesign, they'll separate the product documentation out and work on ways to "ensure that search results direct users to exactly what they were looking for".

Another goal is to get developers to the information they're looking for quickly. Oftentimes, web devs are really just looking for an example of how to use a specific feature, rather than the specification and details of said feature. MDN is "experimenting" with the idea of moving examples to the top of the page and editable code snippets a la Stack Overflow.

Developers interested in getting a preview of the site's changes can opt-in as a beta tester.

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