developer site halls of shame and fame?

We love MDC, but it can always be better. What are some of your favourite developer sites, and what about them do you especially like? Ditto for your least favourite elements, so we know what to avoid in the future?

You might have comments on the style of writing, navigation, page layout, workflow as an editor, etc. Share them here in the comments, please and thank you!

Happy New Resig!

Hot, or at least warm, on the heels of our addition of Mark Finkle to the Mozilla Corporation developer relations team, I am pleased as punch to announce that John Resig is sidling up beside Mark to add some more firepower to our developer support capabilities. John is an accomplished writer of both code and prose, and seems pretty fired up about putting those twin gifts to work in service of developers, add-on and web-stuff both. He’s jresig on IRC, and as with Mark and Sheppy you’ll see his fingerprints all over our developer support story in the weeks and months to come.

John’s first day was yesterday, but I was still clinging to the last fleeting hours of my Christmas vacation, so I’m a little late with this announcement. He appears to already be drinking ably from the Mozilla fire-hose, and scheming away with Mark on various plots for web domination, so my tardiness seems to not have impaired him too much!

he’s from state college, and he’s here to help

Good evening, Mozilla world. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Mark Finkle, who joins our intrepid Mozilla Corporation ecosystem team on this very day. Mark’s got a ton of software development experience, he writes very well, and he shares the neurochemical defect that makes me really excited about helping people build their own great stuff on top of our great stuff. You’ll certainly see him and his work on IRC, in the wiki, and on our newsgroups/mailing lists soon, if you haven’t yet had a taste. I’m not saying that the Spiderman theme song was directly inspired by his new role here at Mozilla, but it’s hard to deny that wherever there is an extension development hang-up, you may indeed find him there.

Ours is a daunting community to join, tantamount to learning a new language while riding a unicycle across lava, but I have the utmost confidence that he’ll be up and running in a terrifyingly short time, and before long we’ll be wondering what we did without him. In the meantime, if you should see him wandering the source tree looking slightly dazed, please offer him refreshment — his manager is a bit of a dork, and that can be a serious burden to bear.

fertilizer

Mitchell posted earlier about my new focus: our developer ecosystem, and helping people produce great new tools and experiences on top of Firefox and the web both. It’s work that lets me combine technology, communication, and helping people solve their problems, and if I end up being even a fifth as good at it as I am excited about it — well, I’ll be really good, that’s what!

One important part of Mozilla’s support for developers in their work with Firefox and the web is the Mozilla Developer Centre Center, and I’ll be working with Deb and Eric to help MDC grow and thrive. In just over a year, MDC has developed a strong community of contributors and a great base of documentation, so I consider my job here to be helping Deb execute, and staying out of her way. (She is modest about it, and truly MDC is a fantastic example of the leverage that our community represents — and I include web developers in that community, very much — but Deb’s work to catalyze and guide and generally be MDC’s “guiding star” is not to be underestimated.) There are things to be fixed and problems to be solved, to be sure, and anyone who’s worked with me before knows that I can’t help but try to help when that’s the case, but the course we’re already on is very promising.

(As an aside of sorts, the recent newsgroup re-re-organization is a problem to which I owe a karmic debt, and I’ll post about that here and there this week, hopefully today.)

A bigger part of what I’m going to be working on, though, is what my favourite MBA calls “the extensions space” (my favourite trapeze artist would call it “the extensions piece”, I think). Working tirelessly, though again with an energetic and powerful community, Mike Morgan has been driving addons.mozilla.org through growing pains and scaling demands — popular stuff is hard! — and policy grey areas and likely some fire-breathing sharks or something too. He thinks deeply about the risks and hard decisions that we face as we try to make extensions — or, more broadly, a personalized web experience — attractive and appropriate for a broader portion of our users, and the users we don’t yet have. Working out a strategy for how to fit extensions into our product plans, how to help extension developers be even more productive and successful and happy, and how to maximally leverage the power of our platform, community, and brand to the benefit of the Web at large is an enormous and, I admit, somewhat daunting challenge. I look forward to drawing on my Mozilla knowledge, impeccable taste, and, especially, the experience and wisdom of people like morgamic to improve this part of our world materially. And I look forward to doing it very soon: while there are definitely long-term projects that deserve our attention, I’m starting to believe that there are some small (hopefully!) but significant changes that can make a positive change in the rather near future.

I’m trying to avoid letting “write a thorough and Frank-worthy post” be the enemy of “write a useful and, you know, posted post”, or something like that, so I think I’ll stop here. I want to thank everyone who has already sent me their (varied, and thought-provoking) thoughts on what’s good and bad today in with our world of extensions, and apologize pre-emptively for what will no doubt be rather tardy replies. I have a lot to absorb here, and nobody is bothering to ask easy questions.