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Ways to get involved with the Markup (Re: Introduction to myself)

From: olivier Thereaux <ot@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 16:46:17 +0900
Message-Id: <B0897C39-C112-48D2-B335-AFC3F31993DA@w3.org>
To: QA Dev <public-qa-dev@w3.org>

Hi Sierk, and welcome to the list.

On 23 Nov 2005, at 01:30, Sierk Bornemann wrote:
> So, here I am. :-)
> What can I do? How can I contribute to the project?
> Maybe something small to begin with?

Thanks a lot for your self-introduction!

Most of the work we do these days are code-related (e.g Bjoern's  
latest message [1]), so what you can do depends mostly on your  
programming level, and of course how much coding and bug-fixing you'd  
like to do.

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-qa-dev/2005Nov/0037.html

But there's more than coding on our plate: making sure that *all* the  
functionalities and *all* the bugs we've every fixed have a test case  
(existing collection at [2]) would be a great task as well, something  
I've dont, partially, on and off depending on my available time, and  
for which I could use some help.

[2] http://qa-dev.w3.org/wmvs/HEAD/dev/tests/

As a Web developer (and therefore, frequent user of the tool) you may  
also be aware of improvements to the error messages. The task is more  
difficult than it may seem: the error messages themselves are pretty  
much "fixed" and we can't change them, so all we can do is add  
explanations to make the error easier to explain. That often implies  
knowing all the cases that can cause such or such error.

For instance:
"there is no attribute X" is such an awful message, and there are so  
many cases that can trigger the message: that the attribute is not  
available for the specific element, or for that element in the  
doctype used, etc. And of course, the error message explanations  
should hopefully not be too long.

Then there's "advocacy". Not really advertizing the service, mostly  
putting a human face on it. Reading forums or blogs, I always regret  
that the w3c, and the tools made by the w3c, are some kind of  
frightening headless beast. Very little awareness that there the  
tools are open source, that there are a lot of people working on or  
around it (notably as user support on www-validator, for instance),  
etc. In a way it gives an aura of authority to the tool (a good AND a  
bad thing) but it does feel as a barrier to more and better  
participation to its development.

That's all on top of my head... Not necessarily "small things", not  
necessarily the best ideas, but already a few choices to pick from.  
I'm sure the others will have other ideas.

olivier Thereaux - W3C - http://www.w3.org/People/olivier/
W3C Open Source Software: http://www.w3.org/Status
Received on Thursday, 24 November 2005 07:46:22 UTC

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