This post was originally published at A Homepage for the JavaScript Specification

Screenshot of the TC39 website

Screenshot of the TC39 website

Ecma TC39, the JavaScript Standards Committee, is proud to announce that we have shipped a website for following updates to the JavaScript specification. This is the first part of a two-part project aimed at improving our information distribution and documentation. The website provides links to our most significant documents, as well as a list of proposals that are near completion. Our goal is to help people find the information they need in order to understand the specification and our process.

While the website is currently an MVP and very simple, we have plans to expand it. These plans include a set of documentation about how we work. We will experiment with other features as the need arises.

The website comes as part of work that began last year to better understand how the community was accessing information about the work around the JavaScript specification. We did a series of in-person interviews, followed by a widely distributed survey to better understand what people struggled with. One of the biggest requests was that we publish and maintain a website that helps people find the information they are looking for.

Resource needs

The two most requested items with regard to resources were Learning Resources and a Website. These two are linked, but require very different types of work. Since this clearly highlighted the need for a website, we began work on this right away.

resource requests for the tc39

Aggregated tags in response to the question “What would you like to see as a resource for the language specification process?”

We identified different types of users: Learners who are discovering the specification for the first time, Observers of the specification who are watching proposal advancement, and Reference Users who need a central location where all of the significant documents can be found. The website was designed around these users. In order to not overwhelm people with information, the MVP is specifically focused on the most pertinent information, namely proposals in Stage 3 of our process. Links are contextualized in order to help people understand what documents they are looking at.

Stage 3 Proposal List

Stage 3 Proposal List

The website is very simple, but gives us a starting point from which to move forward. We are continuing to work on documenting our process. We hope to make more of these documents publicly available soon and to incorporate them into the website over time.

Developer frustrations

The survey surfaced a number of issues that have been impacting the community around JavaScript. Three of the top four frustrations were related to things that could be alleviated by building a website. One that was not directly related but heavily emphasized was that the unclear advancement of proposals. This was also surfaced in GitHub issues. This is challenging to resolve, but we are currently working through ideas. For the time being, we have added a link to the most recent presentation of each proposal. We also have a checklist in the TC39 Process document that is now being added to some proposals on GitHub.

TC39 developer frustrations

Aggregated tags in response to the question “Is there something we can do better, or that you find particularly frustrating right now?”

As part of the survey, we collected emails in order to get in touch later, as we were unsure how many responses we would get. The goal was to better understand specific concerns. However, we had an overwhelming amount of feedback that pointed us in the direction we needed to go. After reviewing this, we decided against keeping this personal information and to request feedback publicly on a case-by-case basis. Thank you to everyone who participated.

We are looking forward to your feedback and comments. This project was community-driven— thank you to everyone who made it possible!

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This post was originally published at A Homepage for the JavaScript Specification