Weekly Update 120: Programming Mission Improvements
This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.
I'd like to tell you about a few changes to the DuckDuckHack forum recently which make it easier both to monitor progress and to discover ways you can contribute.
Firstly, we've organized all programming Instant Answers into the following categories:
- Reference: Documentation for the language and major frameworks, libraries
- Libraries: Finding libraries and plugins
- Help: Tutorials and cheat sheets
- Tools: Useful (and fun!) interactive tools like a color picker, JS minifier, JSON validator
In other words, for each language we should have reference Instant Answers (IAs) that cover the basics, usually taken from core documentation. To supplement this, we have IAs to lookup packages and libraries. Then there are IAs pulling data from user-generated resources, whether that's single cheat sheets or snippets from tutorials. Finally, we can add more interactive IAs which incorporate simple tools for developing, manipulating or testing code.
Using these categories, we've also added automation to the Overview posts. We can now show you up-to-the-minute statistics such as coverage, which is the percentage of search queries that display an Instant Answer above the regular results.
If we take CSS as an example, we can see that an impressive 11% of CSS searches will trigger the MDN reference Instant Answer, but some other Instant Answers have low coverage that could perhaps be boosted with better triggering. We can also see open issues for all Instant Answers at a glance, and that we only have one Instant Answer — SASS — for looking up libraries. Looks like an opportunity to add more!
We've never had this level of aggregated, anonymous Instant Answer data available to developers before, so this is a new phase in providing better feedback that in turn can lead to more effective Instant Answers, helping more users.
Please take a look for yourself at whichever language interests you most:
We also have several more languages coming very soon so stay tuned! In the meantime, each of the overview posts linked above contain "Current Status" sections with open issues you can tackle right now. Below is just a sample of what we're looking for help with...
- Can I Use: Add other aliases for CSS animation
It doesn't seem to trigger when the plural ("animations") is used in the query.
- Tell us your ideas for the languages you care about
What kinds of IAs would you love to see? What would save you time or make you more productive?
- JS Minifier: Add option to beautify JS
The library we use can already handle beautifying so shouldn't be too difficult to add.
- Python: Abstracts missing new line
It looks like this is a general parsing error and the parser handling should be updated.
An unusual tip this week because it's more of a "did you know?" message. Here's the background...
Imagine you're a web developer, you've created a new web app or site, and you get reports that there's a problem in a particular browser or device. It's reproducible but you just can't work out why it's happening. It's time to call WebCompat!
They'll help you with browser compatibility bugs by following this process listed on their website:
- Report a bug for any website or browser
- Our team of volunteers diagnoses the bug
- We send a fix to the site owner or browser
This open source project is run by a mixture of Mozilla staff and volunteers, but bugs need not be restricted to Mozilla browsers. It truly is an effort to improve the web by spreading awareness of and fixes for browser quirks and poor single-browser coding habits. Their only request is that web developers don't abuse the system, and so they have a handy list of invalid bugs which you should check before submitting an issue.
All that's left for you to do is say thank you, and perhaps give them a shout out on Twitter.
And with that, we wish you a happy weekend, whever you are!
- The DuckDuckGo Staff