Mozilla vows MDN ‘isn’t going anywhere’ as layoffs cause panic among developers

By Steven Melendez

Mozilla, the organization behind the Firefox browser, announced this week that it plans to cut about 250 workers amid coronavirus-era revenue declines.

Along with calls to find jobs for the people being displaced, web developers on Twitter and discussion sites such as Hacker News quickly reacted with concern about another prominent Mozilla production: the set of online manuals known as the MDN (for Mozilla Developer Network) Web Docs.

MDN, which has been around for about 15 years in various forms, is how developers learn or refresh their memories about how to use new or complex features in the web languages HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, and they’ve become the unofficial online repository of information about programming syntax and which versions of which browsers actually support which features. Some online commentators, including experienced developers, said they typically consult the documents at least once a day.

In response to an inquiry from Fast Company, a Mozilla spokesperson said the site will continue to exist, even as the broader organization restructures.

“MDN as a website isn’t going anywhere right now,” the spokesperson said in an email. “The team is smaller, but the site exists and isn’t going away. We will be working with partners and community members to find the right ways to move it forward given our new structure at Mozilla.”

Mozilla intends to focus more on products that generate revenue, reported TechRadar, such as its recently launched VPN service. The organization saw layoffs earlier this year, even before the pandemic, amid a decline in market share for Firefox and a lack of sales for its other subscription products.


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