2023 Wrapped: MDN GitHub maintenance, Interop '23 & Firefox release notes.

Now that 2023 is coming to a close wrapped, I thought I'd take a look back at what I managed to achieve over the year. I joined Mozilla in 2022 as a Staff Technical Writer on the MDN team, which made 2023 the first full year that I focused entirely on MDN Web Docs. In this post, I'll share some stats that I collected from my work on GitHub, visualize the data to understand it a little more, and show the categories I focused on.

MDN GitHub PRs in 2023

A lot of the work that goes into keeping MDN running happens in our GitHub organization which has about 40 active repos. Let's have a look at the count of my PRs in these repos grouped by month:

It looks like August was the busiest month, with 44 PRs landing. It's also pretty noticeable when I took parental leave as my productivity is just about halved over March-April and September-October.

PRs by repository

I created 281 PRs across 25 public MDN GitHub repositores last year. The mdn/content and mdn/browser-compat-data repos are noteworthy, so we can split the chart above and highlight these against other public MDN repos as mdn/other.

Although the content and BCD repositories are usually the primary sources to add and update data, we can see from this graph that a lot of maintenance (about 30% of my work) happens in other repos, also. There is also a Blog on MDN since May 2023 that I worked on, although this repo is private for now, so those contributions are not included in these stats.

Trying to stick to conventions

I tried to stick to conventional commits whenever I could, and my diligence improved over the course of the year. In general, it's a little tricky using the conventional commits per spec seeing as everything is arguably docs: on MDN, so I've expanded on this scheme to use relnote: for Firefox, and subcategories like docs(HTTP): for site sections. It's not perfect, but it helps to get a rough overview of the types of work landing based on commit data:

2023 goals and themes

I had three main goals that my work was guided by:

  1. Interop 2023
  2. Firefox release notes
  3. General maintenance & GitHub chores

Let's take a look at these categories, what they are, why they're important, and a few highlights from each.

Interop '23

Our team included Interop '23 as part of our high-level documentation goals for the year. The intention is that the focus areas in Interop 2023 have the corresponding MDN docs audited for freshness as the features and their support are evolving. If you want to see other Interop 2023 tasks and PRs, check this tracking issue on GitHub.

Interop 2023 is a cross-browser effort to improve the interoperability of the web — to reach a state where each technology works exactly the same in every browser.

A lot of features reached stable status across all major browser engines in 2023 and that meant we could remove a lot of experimental warnings and update code to use the latest syntax.

"Interop 2023 dashboard as of January 2024"

By chance, I happened to work quite a lot on CSS colors and this turned out to be a really interesting deep dive for me. I've written a fair bit about CSS colors in 2023 here and on the MDN blog; you can find out more in my posts tagged CSS.


Firefox release notes

A yearly goal for the content team was making sure that the Firefox release notes for developers were updated in time for each stable release. The definition of done for each task is that there is a release note for changes affecting web developers, browser compatibility data is updated, and that corresponding docs (MDN pages) are audited and updated when necessary.

Similarly to Interop, closely following the Firefox release process helps us keep docs fresh and gives the team insight on how the web platform is changing month over month. Features are added or removed in Firefox based on relevance and developer feedback (along with maintenance costs and other rationale), so keeping tabs on these changes helps us understand which features are noteworthy and why.

Here's a filtered list of PRs by month with Fx or relnote in the title:

The August peak now makes sense as I took on a lot of the Firefox 117 release tasks for CSS, HTTP, SVG, Web APIs, and DevTools changes.


GitHub chores & maintenance

If I was to categorize the ad-hoc or unplanned work I do, it lands under general maintenance and upkeep of the MDN GitHub organization. The goal of this work is to keep our code repositories healthy and continuously improve the experience of contributing to MDN.

This work typically involves improvements and fixes for CI and shared workflows (GitHub actions), improving Community Standards (READMEs, CONTRIBUTING.md, contribution guidelines, etc.), and other admin work.


That's a wrap

We made it to the end of my 2023 wrap-up post: Thanks a lot for reading. This was a great housekeeping task for me to see where my work lands and to course-correct for 2024.

Let me know what your thoughts are, if I missed something, or if you have any other suggestions. I haven't made the raw PR stats available (although it's all public data), but I'm happy to add them to this post if anyone is interested in taking a look for themselves. Feel free to comment below or get in touch on Mastodon.