Why is this an important turning point? There are several reasons…
The Web Platform Docs effort is important
It is the Wikipedia of the web platform. Web Platform Docs is truly momentous. This may sound like a grandiose statement, but I am convinced it is momentous. Beyond the immediate goal of documenting today’s web platform, the founding vision is for webplatform.org to grow with the web. The effort will scale in both scope and time.
Initiated by industry leaders and the W3C, weplatform.org aims to document all things Web in an open, user-friendly manner. The scope of the effort is as broad and deep as it sounds: from the web’s authoring markup (HTML, XML, CSS) to its file formats (PNG) through its protocols and APIs (HTTP, WebRTC, Web Apps APIs, Sys Apps APIs). Documenting all these is an enormous task that can only be undertaken by the web community. No single private organization can match its size and talent.
Then, the time scale of the effort is also unprecedented for technical work. It is critical for all of us that the body of knowledge and data we are creating on and about the web platform be accessible today and also in the long run. Fifty, a hundred of five hundred years from now, future generations will need to understand and access the digital information we are leaving behind. We are taking the first step to document what is now the foundation for human knowledge. And like there is no single company that can match the effort of a community, no single private organization is likely to outlast the web either.
Open access to the latest documentation
This is another turning point: webplatform.org provides a free, online, up-to-date encyclopeadia of reference documentation, techniques, samples, and tutorials for designers and developers. The quantity and quality of the content will only improve as Web Platform Docs becomes the central repository we all invest in. To take but one example, maintaining up-to-date feature compatibility status has always been a challenge; several sources like caniuse, quirksmode, and Mozilla Developer Network, are contributing their compatibility data to Web Platform Docs. This means all tools now have one common source of compatibility data. One all creatives and developers can also improve, edit and correct.
Where to from here?
Already, the collective Web Platform Docs effort is mature enough for use in development tools.
This first integration effort led by Alan Greenblatt illustrates just one of the ways Web Platform Docs contributes to the momentum of the web. Documentation from webplatform.org is available directly within Brackets and Edge code. I believe this is only the beginning of a new norm for web standard documentation in development tools (Adobe’s as well as others’).
Stay tuned for more on the evolution of Web Platform Docs and Adobe tools!