Feeds

Tech rivals team up for free web dev docs

Wiki site aims to be 'comprehensive and authoritative' – but don't we all?

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft may seem like strange bedfellows, but the four have joined forces with six other organizations to create Web Platform Docs, a community-driven site that aims to be a one-stop shop for free web-developer documentation.

"When you want to build something for the web, it's surprisingly difficult to find out how you can implement your vision across all browsers and operating systems," writes Google product manager Alex Komoroske in a blog post announcing the site. "You often need to search across various websites and blogs to learn how certain technologies can be used."

Web Platform Docs hopes to change that by compiling the best available documentation from browser vendors, technology companies, and the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) in one place.

The documents now available on the site cover a wide range of subjects related to web development, ranging from tutorials to detailed reference material on HTML5 and CSS elements, JavaScript APIs, and the Document Object Model (DOM) to such novice topics as "The history of the web" and "How does the internet work?"

Currently the site describes itself as being in "alpha," but its pilot content has a strong pedigree. Redmond seeded the effort by donating some 3,200 content topics from its own Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) archives, and several of the other founding organizations – dubbed "Web Platform Stewards" – have added their own material and will continue to do so going forward.

In addition to the aforementioned companies, the current list of Stewards includes Adobe, HP, Mozilla, Nokia, Opera, and the W3C, though the project's website says it is open to adding more.

Developers don't need to sign up as Stewards to contribute content to Web Platform Docs, however. The site is based on Wikipedia's MediaWiki platform, which allows anyone to add or edit the available content, provided they register for an account using a verifiable email address.

The site is not yet open for full community participation, but the Stewards plan to make that happen "as early as possible."

"We don't want this to come across as the giants of the web telling everyone else what to do," Opera web evangelist Chris Mills said in a statement.

The content on the site is published under various Creative Commons licenses, all of which allow the content to be copied, modified, and redistributed – the exact license for each particular document depends on its source.

That said, Web Platform Docs isn't intended to be a Wikipedia-style free for all, either. According to Opera, "While the site is a wiki, it has funding and staff on hand to monitor and maintain its content, which means that the information it contains will remain accurate and up to date."

That sounds like a bold statement to your Reg hack. In a world where one version of HTML is being maintained as "a living standard" and the other version won't be formally finished until 2014, it seems as though "accurate and up to date" information will remain a moving target for some time to come.

Still, if this diverse group of industry heavyweights is willing to collaborate, not just to draft web standards but to document and explain them as well, it can only be a good thing for web developers, whose chief tool has too often been trial and error.

"People in the web community – including browser makers, authoring tool makers, and leading edge developers and designers – have tremendous experience and practical knowledge about the web," W3C director Tim Berners-Lee said in statement. "Web Platform Docs is an ambitious project where all of us who are passionate about the web can share knowledge and help one another." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.