We started a series about how you can contribute to W3C work. Last time, we have seen how to create and propose your own quick tips. This week, we will go a step further by looking at tutorials.
Specifications are for implementers
W3C is somehow victim of its openness. We published all Working Drafts of a technology in a public space. The specifications are freely downloadable by many different types of audiences. It creates friction and misunderstanding. The primary audience of W3C specifications is the developers community, people coding softwares.
There are expert users of the technology who do not develop a product implementing the technology but who are creating documents using the technology. This document will be viewed, parsed, processed by a product. These expert users need tutorials to understand and use the technology. Unfortunately, the W3C has not that much resources for developing materials in this category. Luckily enough, there are strong Web communities publishing materials online, writing books and giving examples. Sometimes a Working Group will publish a primer such as RDFa Primer on how to use microformats the RDF way in your pages. Most of the time there isn’t a primer.
How to create your own tutorials.
You can write a tutorial. W3C has a list of tutorials. But too few. It would be cool if you could contribute more. If the topic is too big, split it and contribute by small pieces. When you have created a tutorial, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will help you to contact the appropriate Working Group and its staff contact. And we will see if your content can be added to W3C Web site. (There is no guarantee, it will be.)
Tutorials usually offer a very good exposure of your competences. It is good for your karma. The community will have a broader access to the technology. It makes the technology easier to learn specifically when it is still quite new.