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Create entry point for new commers to get involved in hacking gecko

Assigned to


Developer Documentation
Mozilla Platform
5 years ago
a year ago


(Reporter: Julian Viereck, Assigned: sheppy)



(Whiteboard: u=mozdev p=0 c=Platform)



5 years ago
tl;dr: Please create a new "landing" page for Gecko addressing newcomers, that serves similar to the page. Also, please create a new top domain to make it easier to point people to this page. This might also strengthen the notion of "Gecko" as a "separate" project.


Looking at the WebKit project, the first interaction feels completely different then the one in Gecko. The project page is a clean page that tries to help new contributors to get going. The main page lists the points:

* "Welcome to the website for the WebKit Open Source Project"
* "Getting involved"
* "More info"
* "Projects"

these are the points that I would love to know about when starting hacking on an open source project.

Future more, the sidebar on the left holds additional information on how to build, test WebKit etc.

Now let's compare this to what things look like for Gecko:

* there is no top domain
* Lookup "Gecko" on Google, one finds the link to
* this page holds a lot of information, but is not target at "newcomers". The Documentation is hidden after some version numbers, that needed to be scrolled over.
* there is no "Get Involved" bullet point/headline
* there are no steps on how to build Gecko
Julian: thanks for logging this!

I think the best place would be a 'getting started' page on MDN, linked to from here:

The above page could use some love generally - as a first stab I moved the Gecko Version table to the bottom of the page as this is likely the least interesting part of the page.

To satisfy the base minimum, it looks like we should develop an 'introduction to Gecko Hacking' page on MDN and link to it in the list below 'Documentation'.

Julian, if you have time, could you take an initial stab at filling out the info on this page:

Aside: one of the awkward things about treating Gecko the same as Webkit is, Webkit is a buildable app, Gecko is a component we embed into things. I agree we need to start treating it like it's own thing as we increasingly ship Gecko-embedded browsers / runtimes for different platforms.

Comment 2

5 years ago
In general, the Gecko landing page is a mess.

We are in the process of speccing out a plan to contract out work on a massive reorg of MDN, which will include revamping our landing pages and sorting out our content to put things where they belong. This will of course be part of that project.

Comment 3

5 years ago
I've moved the version chart to FWIW. Having it right on the landing page was really not ideal.

Comment 4

5 years ago
(In reply to Jeff Griffiths (:canuckistani) from comment #1)
> Julian, if you have time, could you take an initial stab at filling out the
> info on this page:

I'm short on time right now. Given Eric statement, that things get reorganized anyway, I don't plan to work on this in the near future.

Eric, if you need someone to brainstorm or would like to get feedback on something, please feel free to reach out to me!
Component: Documentation → General
Product: Mozilla Developer Network → Developer Documentation

Comment 5

4 years ago
I've started hacking on Gecko again and found it quite depressing to get stuck on small questions/stuff. :darkowlzz, a newcommer to Gecko-C++ asked some questions on IRC and this inspired me to start as list of "questions by newcommer" etherpad.

Let's say: that might look like Quora for Mozilla but sowhat. The idea is this:

- a newcommer reads some background material. Not everyone knows even the basic bits like what is a "Source Tree" and such. So before s/he goes to any other questions, s/he has to read these questions first (or make sure s/he can answer them)
- the questions should be written in very simple english, using as less technical words as possible
- try to think in the view of a newcommer. E.g. I wrote for the "If you get stuck" section: "Ping someone on IRC". But not all newcommers know what "Ping someone on IRC" means, so I've created a new question "How to ping someone on IRC". The "ping someone on IRC" bit under "If you get stuck" should then link to the "How to ping someone on IRC" question
- use the power of linking. Not everything needs to be answered in this document, but it should have links to all possible questions. The link might go out to Wikipedia/Quora/StackOverflow. That's fine.

What do you think about this system?

In case of "Where should this be located"? I don't think MDN is a good place for this, as the linking feature might require a different infrastructure then MDN provides. I was thinking about putting the stuff in a git repo and have a tool generate static pages/some information stored in JSON. The acutal page is then nothing else then a GitHub page.

Let me know what you think about this and if you like it I do a small spike on this one.

Comment 6

4 years ago
I'm pretty sure this is a duplicate (or there's a duplicate of this one). Will look into that later in my triaging process I'm going through now.
Assignee: nobody → eshepherd
Component: General → Mozilla Platform
Whiteboard: u=mozdev p=0


4 years ago
OS: Mac OS X → All
Hardware: x86 → All
Whiteboard: u=mozdev p=0 → u=mozdev p=0 c=Platform
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