OWD at TPAC Sevilla

Last week I traveled to Seville, Spain to attend the W3C TPAC 2023 conference.

Every year, the W3C TPAC conference invites W3C members and boards, W3C Working and Interest Groups, as well as Invited Experts and others to meet and discuss work on web standards and web technologies. This time, it was a hybrid event - participation was possible both in-person and remotely.

It was my first in-person TPAC event. I enjoyed meeting a lot of folks that I had only interacted with online so far. It was a great feeling when people recognized me or Open Web Docs and had nice things to say.

I received kudos for Open Web Docs' setup as a non-profit Open Collective. I was also told that folks enjoy reading about the projects we do on MDN Web Docs. Some TPAC attendees I spoke with even watch our GitHub project repository to immediately hear all about our new projects (cheers, Thomas Steiner!).

Attending an in-person event these days is really about the people. So, let me give a shout-out to "my" people at TPAC: I connected with a few OWD governing board members, including Rachel Andrew (Google), Daniel Appelquist (Snyk), Patrick Brosset (Microsoft), Dominique Hazael-Massieux (W3C), and Robert Nyman (Google). I also met members of OWD's steering committee, including Ruth John (Mozilla), Brian Kardell (Igalia), Lola Odelola (Bocoup), Brian Smith (Mozilla), and Michael[tm] Smith (W3C).

Since our founding, we have only had a single OWD meetup (in London, earlier this year). It was so lovely to reconnect and talk about web platform documentation once again.

Technical writing breakout session

For me, the most interesting day was Wednesday. Wednesday was an unconference-style day of breakout sessions. In collaboration with Rachel and Patrick, I chaired a breakout session, "Getting your feature adopted: learn to work with technical writers." In this session, we invited the participants to discuss how technical writing and documenting web technologies can be improved. We touched on topics like finding relevant Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and presented how documentation typically gets written and maintained. Shawn Lawton Henry (W3C), of the Web Accessibility Initiative, joined us. She informed us that they are currently seeking a technical writer for the Understanding WCAG docs. We also discussed the challenges with Webviews that ought to be documented with Sam MacBeth from DuckDuckGo. Read the full minutes of our session.

There were several things I truly enjoyed about chairing and attending TPAC sessions. I really appreciate how scribing was taken seriously. I also appreciated how to be added to the speaker queue, all one has to do is type "q+" in the IRC channels. As an introvert, it can be quite stressful to figure out the right moment to speak up in a room full of (incredibly smart) people. Thanks to this inclusive feature, I q+'ed myself, was acknowledged by the chair, and was able to ask my question or share my perspective. If you are interested in more mechanics of this, I found a blog post on the Bocoup blog: How to scribe at TPAC.

More sessions

I recently joined the WebDX W3C community group and attended breakout sessions related to WebDX:

Open Web Docs will be collaborating with the WebDX group a lot more going forward. Documentation is a major aspect of Developer Experience! As such, the research and work this community group is doing is very relevant to OWD's mission. As part of the goal of improving developer experience through better documentation, I met with Daniel Beck and Kadir Topal (Google) to discuss the next steps for the OWD project "Grouping web features". Daniel also made a video about web features.

The "Secure the Web Forward" session was also good preparation for the Secure the Web Forward virtual workshop happening September 26-28. We are eager to discuss web security documentation and lessons with security experts. While talking to Arnaud Le Hors (IBM), I realized we should likely start our security docs project by outlining the contents for an "MDN guide to secure your website/web app". I am curious to see how the format will play out, but know this workshop will be invaluable in reaching this project's goals. Expect a blog post about it soon!

Wrap up

And that's it! I really enjoyed the face-to-face conversations, even if it was just briefly near the pool with Bert Bos, Brian Kardell, Ali Spivak, Oliver Dunk, Andreu Botella, and others whom I'm (rudely, sorry!) forgetting right now. Also, a happy birthday shout-out to Diego González. Next year we'll have to celebrate with another great dinner at a different but equally fantastic Tapas restaurant.

I hope to see you all at TPAC 2024! Next year, let's bring the whole OWD team. They currently have some serious FOMO for missing out on this year's event!