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BBQ, Beer & Web Platform Docs FTW

It is already quite a tradition for us at Adobe to host Doc Sprints. But pushing forward a central go-to place to document web technologies—built by and to be used freely by everybody—seems not to be enough. Maybe we should also run these events because of the fun stuff that happens around the 1 or 2 days of documenting the web collaboratively? If so, I’d say: “of course!” 🙂

After a very successful first European Doc Sprint in Berlin back in 2013, it was time for another event in Germany. I am a friend of synergy. So, just as before every other of Marc Thiele‘s events of the past we sat down together and made plans on what could be useful takeaways added to this years edition of the famous beyond tellerrand conference. 500 highly skilled and motivated attendees come to Düsseldorf. They could use a nice warm-up event prior to the conference. Meanwhile, in another quadrant of the web, could still use help from web professionals. So why not add some beer and BBQ to glue those two together? Synergy!

Beach bar with a roof

Our initial plan was a beach bar setting. Due to the lack of proper beach bars in Düsseldorf, we ended up building our own summer setting at a decorative old gas station from the 1950s. Out of 70 registrations more than 50 contributors joined the comfy and sunny location and spent a day full of interesting and productive work together.

Location of WPDS @btconf

Our sunny workplace for the day

WPDS btconf hard at work

Hard at work…


Cheers Paul! 🙂 (Picture by Francesco Iovine)

Focus groups and work results

Six community experts led focused groups that made over 800 edits to the Wiki and on-boarded a dozen new contributors that day:

Work results included:

  • removal of all vendor-prefixed example code in every single CSS property
  • revision of fundamental web concepts, as well as beginner docs and tutorials
  • the addition of five JavaScript API pages and docs for the JavaScript Number object
  • docs and examples for 33 HTML elements
  • a special review, focused on responsive images, editing img and picture, and updating a number of SVG elements and attributes

There is a blog post on that sums up our work results in much more detail.

Hans Christian Reinl following the wrap up (Picture by Andreas Dantz)

Hans Christian Reinl following the wrap up (Picture by Andreas Dantz)

Delicious burgers and sausages

To keep our contributors happy, Pascal Szewczyk handcrafted some awesome burgers as well as delicious vegetarian BBQ. Teaming up at the grill was Sven Wolfermann, who prepared the award-winning sausages, Sven, and myself had brought with us from Berlin. (I can still remember the stewardess saying “boarding completed with 156 passengers and 40 sausages”… yes that DID happen!)

Profound research on the history of BBQ sauce

Right before lunch, Aaron Gustafson gave a fun speech with “A brief history of BBQ sauce.” (Yes, of course, you can find his slides online.) His profound research was well presented and led to a public tasting of a selection of those fine sauces, together with a bottle of Chattanooga Whiskey Aaron flew over for the event. Thanks again for that tasty and fun addition, Aaron.

Aaron Gustafson with his fun speech about the history of BBQ sauce

Aaron Gustafson with his fun speech about the history of BBQ sauce

Oh, the deck chairs!

At the end of the Doc Sprint, the focus group leads presented the day’s results. We had some swag to give away, including famous WPD stickers (as well as some rare PhoneGap and ODL ones), WPD T-Shirts and the 20 special made deck chairs we used over the day that went out to our top contributors. Since at night more than 20 awesome contributors walked away with deck chairs I believe Justin Avery of fame and Horia Dragomir must be the ones that share a chair now? 🙂

Picture by Andreas Dantz (@dantz)

Picture by Andreas Dantz

A hell of a party!

After having wrapped up the results of the day, our Doc Sprint smoothly transitioned over to the official beyond tellerrand pre-conference warm-up, when in the meantime the crowd at our gas station had grown to a cozy party of 150. Tom Arnold took care for a fantastic soundtrack with his “btconf boogie”, also dubbed “songs for the dev”… 🙂 Thanks a bunch, Tom!

To sum things up: we had fun. A lot! If you didn’t join for this epic “Web Platform Doc Sprint + MeatUp + VGQ” you definitely missed out.

WPDS btconf burger

Thanks to all the contributors and volunteers!

This successful Doc Sprint would not have been possible without all the attendees that contributed to, the help of our community experts and our lovely volunteers: Tomas Caspers, Kenneth Shinabery, Daniel Connerth, David Kirstein and my partner in crime in organizing the event, Marc Thiele. Thank you all!

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