updated 08:29 pm EDT, Mon October 8, 2012
Lends money, talent, content to reference site
Apple has joined forces with most of the other big industry players (HP, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Facebook and others) in supporting Web Platform Docs, a new site dedicated to documentation, reference and tutorials for the various components that make up the Open Web Platform. OWP is a community-driven project that aims to unify documentation on current and future web technologies from HTML5 to WebGL which is currently scattered among the various industry players' sites and elsewhere.
The project is also backed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards body, and Web Platform Docs (WPD) is intended to become a clearinghouse of reference material for web developers as they struggle to make their sites compatible across an ever-increasing range of devices as well as cope with the rapid pace of change, revision and innovation among web technologies. Where at one time a knowledge of simple HTML was sufficient to build a web page, today's developers must have understanding of a broad range of disciplines, including a variety of scripting languages, back-end technologies like database interfaces, and multimedia codecs alongside the various markup languages one may choose to create the actual web page.
Among the goals for WPD is to host script libraries and assets that developers can share, forums for discussion and community problem-solving, updated information on browser compatibility for specific technologies, and resources for teachers. The site has launched in an "alpha state" with basic forums, a blog, live chat, a collaborative wiki for members to contribute to and a smattering of tutorials.
The site says in its initial blog post that it aims to have "accurate, up-to-date, comprehensive references and tutorials for every part of client-side development and design, with quirks and bugs revealed and explained. It will have in-depth indicators of browser support and interoperability, with links to tests for specific features. It will feature discussions and script libraries for cutting-edge features at various states of implementation or standardization, with the opportunity to give feedback into the process before the features are locked down," among other features. Previously, developers have had to rely on finding code examples, documentation and help with issues and bugs on a wide variety of forums, developer mail lists, tech support departments and often-obscured documentation. Web developers can sign up for a free account and begin contributing immediately.