Recap of Web Platform Doc Sprint Berlin

(It should not take a week to write this report - ashes on my head! As you have already received quite a bit of details on the survey (thanks Scott!) and structural feedback (thanks Chris!) this is the the high- and heart level feedback on our last weeks event. It worked quite well, it built a lot of awareness and future opportunity, and it has been a ton of good fun and learnings - read all about #WPDS below! *Jay)


Europe has seen it's first ever Web Platform Doc Sprint!

Last Friday and Saturday another in-person event hosted by Adobe returned "at least [1]" 1.000 Edits, moved a minimum of 400.000 bytes (75% added/25% deleted, clocking in at approximate 40.000 new words (average: 6-character) saved), onboarded 51 new contributors and generated up to four community driven future Doc Sprints.

Yet, the positive feedback did not stop - there are still E-Mails and Tweets from attendants chiming in. Also the #WPDS Hashtag on Social Media is still getting hits, which is a sweet thing a full week after an event. Two examples:

 *   Yesterdays very nice writeup from attendant Paul Verbeek<> [2].
 *   Monday night the well renowned web tech podcast<> [3] honored the event with a 17 minutes wrapup including a call to action to support and further Doc Sprints (~6.5k listeners).

We received a lot of negative but constructive feedback on e.g. the shortcomings of the Media Wiki, insights to that can be found in the Survey Results<> [4] that Scott recently provided.

I am only including some selected tweets and images with this report and would like to encourage you to check out the archives on your own. The social media footprint of the event is archived at Eventifier<> [5]. You can also check out some image galleries via the archived coverage at Lanyrd<> [6].


Six first-timers at this Doc Sprint:

1. We ran the event over two days. First a half day from Friday noon, which drew 53 attendants (with 106 registrations (after ticket returns) clocking in at exactly 50% no-show). Featuring the chance for a good networking opportunity in the evening, that has been used by nearly all attendants for discussions around WPD until late at night (or early in the morning, as you like it). And possibly affected the no-show at the second, full day Saturday, where we only drew 26 people, which has been another 50% loss compared to day 1 (we experienced a similar rate from day one to two at other events of this kind before).

2. We did target (and hit) the larger European community: 15% of the attendants have been from outside Germany (including Poland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Montenegro, Romania and the UK), another 42% travelled in from german cities outside Berlin. All on their own pockets - how awesome is that?

3. We offered special incentives and contents for community hosts, that would be interested in running their own Doc Sprint. We received a total of 4 proposals for such community driven events, three in Germany, one in the Netherlands. I will provide a Doc Sprint Starter Package including swag and location branding to candidates.

4. We branded the (neutral) location to a Web Platform Doc Sprint and used WPD slides for all talks (files available on the WPDS Berlin page<> [7]). We had WPD rollups, badges and some Doc Sprint specific swag - we totally flew the WPD colors.

5. We added some good fun and pace, introducing the "Web Platform Doc Sprint Dashboard" Frozenice<> stapled together with me (available for everybody on github<> [8]). Thanks again for teaming up on this, Fro! Props also go to Rebecca Hauck from Adobe for providing inspiration with her Dashboard for Test the Web Forward<>.

6. We made frequent use of the Short-URL Frozenice<> contributed, including "" which acted as landing page for all subsequent resources, what really came in handy and allowed to simply shout out some resource inbetween.



We had quite a bit done! See Chris and Scotts reports on the two major work groups we had called out, as well as the other two that formed, here:

CSS Work Group:

The CSS properties project was a rousing success — we completed (or got a significant proportion of the work done) on around 80 CSS property pages; and some of our biggest wishes, namely to add some decent examples and detailed explanations, were realised. Some of the additions were very well thought out and executed, for example

As well as content, we received a lot of really useful feedback and ideas about making the site better. And some people who came to our group decided quickly that they didn't want to work on CSS properties, but instead gave other valuable contributions:

Media queries:
UX techniques:
cross browser techniques:


API Work Group:

For the API project we had a group of 10 developers cleaning up and writing code examples for the API doc pages:

Fhemberger<>: appcache<>; Asciidisco<>: appcache<>, audio-video<>; Rocco.zanni<>:
audio<>; Paulv<>: canvas<>; Damienklinnert<>: file<>; Bnz<>: geolocation<>; Auco<>: canvas<>;
Charlie<>: navigation<>, user<>, and resource<> timing; GeorgX<>: web-storage<>; Rodneyrehm<>: worker<>.

But this group did more than that. They also lent their perspective on the usability of our wiki, and they provided ideas for improving the editing process and identifying the need to orient our Getting Started workflows around domain knowledge and skill. See the separate post on Contributor Feedback. One thing we needed was a workflow that directed developers to the articles that required code examples throughout the wiki, not just in the API docs.

This dove-tailed nicely with the work Paul.rosenbusch<> was doing with Frozenice<> in the "Do Whatever" group to develop queries that list all of the API and CSS pages that need examples. Paul had initially developed these queries for the API pages to remove an aberrant checkbox value that would have prevented us from knowing which pages needed examples. We will use Paul's queries as part of the developer workflow in the soon-to-be-revamped Getting Started pages.

The cool part about the API project was that it was very much an ad-lib, "just do stuff" kind of effort where we didn't really have a plan, and yet we produced a great deal of doc and made significant improvements in our editing process. In the run-up to the event it got overlooked that we had decided not to do any API work, but somehow APIs got left on the agenda, and well, there it was. So, we decided to go for it. After a bit of fumbling around, the group divided up the work and conquered! One criticism that came out of all this was that we should be better prepared. Yes, agreed! But let's not overlook the opportunity to get stuff done in the absence of preparedness! Great job, everyone!


The "Do-What-You-Want" and the Accessibility Group:

We also had a bunch of people in the official "do what ever you want"-group, that e.g. produced quite a bit of example code. Added, a fourth group focussing on accessibility formed and soon found out that definition on the scope of what should be documented at WPD (versus WAI) is required first to pursue this task. Their results have been added to our bugtracker.


Finally, a happy attendant from the Netherlands won one year of an Adobe subscription (we tied the raffle to a random pick out of the Top 20 Doc Sprint attendants visible on the Dashboard), and we gave away a lot of WPD swag introducing the new Doc Sprint stickers and buttons, as well as the already known and well appreciated WPD T-Shirts/Tin-Kits (thanks Peter and Scott). It makes sense to provide prizes to attendants wherever we can and it also raises the fun bar a lot together with things like the WPDS Dashboard.

Special thanks: WPDS would not have been successful without the work of Sébastien Desbenoit. See all the sweet artwork splattered across the event and it's communications? That is all based on his logo work!

If you made it reading all the way down here, please join me in saying "Merci" Sébastien, Julee Burdekin, Janet Swisher, David Kirstein (aka Frozenice<>), Chris Mills, Scott Rowe, Florian Scholz - and everybody that supported #WPDS! I would love to repeat such an event this year.


[1] Statistics based on known WPD usernames at Doc Sprint (37 out of 54 registered for being tracked) and are actually approximately 30% higher.


Received on Friday, 15 February 2013 15:22:51 UTC