Developer Center

This is a call for anyone interested in discussing the future of the GNOME developer center.


We will talk about:

  • Defining the goals of the developer center.
  • Defining what the developer center should NOT be.
  • Defining how we can make the developer center a maintainable piece of infrastructure.
  • Make a short-term plan and long-term plan.
  • Defining a minimum viable solution which is extensible.
  • Systematic Evaluation of technical directions we could take and design directions we could take.


Anyone interested in:

  • working on GNOME web infrastructure.
  • works on language bindings / documentation.
  • interested in writing documentation.



People who are planning on or are expected to attend:



Hackfest Planning:

Meeting Notes

Maybe colocated with FOSDEM? Either Thursday before (Friday is GNOME Advisory Board meeting) or Monday after

We need a minimum number of people interested in attending, in order to make it an official hackfest

  • Interested: Bastian, Evan, Ken, Philip, Avi
  • Possibly: Patrick
  • Ask later: Sri, Michael Hall, Allan

What is the developer experience now?

  • The newcomer guide: How to contribute to GNOME Apps
  • Application Docs: How to develop apps
  • GNOME Technology: API References
  • Docs for developing libraries & components (JHBuild...)

  • How do I...?


  • 3rd Party App Developers
  • GNOME Stack Developers
  • GNOME App Developers
  • Designers
  • Interns
  • Newcomers
  • Extension Developers
  • Theme Development
  • Distro Developers

Variables that come into play:

  • Familiarity with the GNOME stack
    • Existing GNOME developers know what component can solve their needs and want to search for information about them.
    • New developers don't know what components to look for to achive what they want and need to be introduced.
  • Familiarity with programming
    • Ranging from "I don't know anything", "I know some Javascript", "I know C" to "I have developed GNOME before".
  • Differing Language Capacity
    • We have people for whom English is not their first language
  • Learning Styles


  • Fragmentation in our documentation
    • Users has to go to different websites to find unofficial documentation which might be outdated or misleading.
    • The newcomer guide is hosted on, the GJS API reference lives in, has outdated documentation.
  • Lack of documentation targeted to specific audiences
    • Where do I go if I am a third party app developer and want to develop my own app?
    • ...a newcomer who does not know programming so well?
    • extension developer who wants to develop a new GNOME Shell extension?
  • Too many choices
    • Should I use Python, Javascript or C to develop? Does it have consequences, which I choose?
  • Maintenance of Docs & Infrastructure

    • The previous instance has been unmaintained for years. How do we ensure that the infrastructure could keep itself maintained?
  • Difficulty editing/writing docs
    • The current developer center does not allow easy editing which is necessary to maintain the docs.
  • People use 40 different programming languages
    • Even if we choose a specific language to support, people in practice have language preferences.
    • Even if fx Javascript bindings were first class citizen, people will eventually need to use C for more advanced features.
  • Discoverability
    • The current developer center documentation structure makes it difficult to find the tutorials.
    • Some tutorials live on other websites.
    • The developer center's search does presents results from GTK+3, 2 and GTKMM and it is unclear.
  • Unofficial/oudated docs
    • When the GNOME developer center doesn't provide up-to-date documentation, people go to other websites and the websites might provide misleading or outdated information.
  • Communication channels
    • Newcomers have a hard time with IRC, it can be intimidating and isn't similar to the messaging apps that most people are used to

Involved Stakeholders:

  • GNOME Builder (Flatpak, Meson)
  • Documentation Team (?)
  • Newcomer Guide Team
  • Bindings Team (GJS, ...)

Examples of Good Documentation We Like

Useful Links

Interested in writing documentation

  • Bastian Ilsø
  • Evan Welsh
  • Avi Zajac
  • Patrick Griffis
  • Philip C

Notes: Never use the words "this is simple" and similar phrases in documentation, as it comes across as belittling for people who are struggling with a concept.

Action Steps

Announce the Developer Experience Hackfest for Monday after FOSDEM (Bastian Ilsø)

Arrange a follow-up call about the developer experience hackfest.

Blog Posts

Blog posts about the session:

BoF Notes

GUADEC/2018/Hacking days/DeveloperCenter (last edited 2018-07-24 08:30:50 by OliverPropst)