I recently attended MozCamp Asia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was a pretty fun and amazing experience. Meeting Mozilla contributors from all over Asia was of course, the highlight of the trip.
I did a talk at the conference called “From Web Developer to Firefox Hacker“. There were a number of web developers at the conference and I wanted to convey to them that their skills are relevant to hacking on Firefox itself. Lowering the bar to hacking on Firefox is hard to do – and technical, patch-creating contributors are very important to the project. Someone who comes into the community as a newbie from a talk or workshop like this, this year, may become a rockstar next year, you never know.
The questions I kept asking myself in putting together this presentation were “How to start?”, “Am I covering X or Y in sufficient detail?”, “Am I scaring potential contributors with too much detail about the Mozilla process?”, and “Did I forget anything important?” There is just so much detail to cover.
A realization dawned on me while putting together these slides: our documentation is very well done at this point. I was impressed with a lot of new MDN content I linked to that did not exist when I started 3 years ago. Slowly we are chipping away at making technical contribution easier. Perhaps what we need are a few more “starting point” type documents, presentations and workshops to kick off a slew of new patches, no matter how small.
Now is as good a time as ever for technical contributors to learn our process and contribute to Firefox. It may not be easy, but it is easier than ever:)