Anyone else think MDN code descriptions/samples suck?

Just curious to hear what others think about the Mozilla Developers Network code samples and descriptions. I know they are considered the gold standard resource seemingly - and FCC links to them exclusively for code descriptions - but to be honest, I feel like they are writing in another language entirely. They have ZERO ability to be empathetic to newer devs. I consider myself a clear communicator, and pretty quick/crafty at solving the FCC code problems (in the majority of cases ;), but MAN… I almost NEVER find these guys useful or helpful in the least. If anything - they make me feel frustrated. They seem to use the most annoyingly complex examples when something much simpler could have easily been selected, and I just don’t get how they describe things. It’s always off to W3Schools or StackOverflow for me to find any clarification.

Anyone else feeling that way about MDN? Are they TRYING to make it difficult in an effort to flex their coding muscles or something? They are the worst resource when learning to code - in my opinion.


I feel the same, I prefer to consult anything but MDN, their documentation is awful.


Well - that’s a relief! :slight_smile: Thanks for the honesty. I was really thinking (in the beginning especially) that I was not cut out for this field - just based on an inability to understand the industry standard HELP. lol But I just avoid them and find I feel much better about the situation. Good to know I’m not alone.


ha i’ve felt the same way! it seems like none of their examples are the straightforward, common use of a thing and they like to pick the most obscure use-cases to highlight!

i really didn’t want to admit to this, so rather than give in to my initial frustration, i decided that MDN is what i aspire to understand and as a beginner i’m ok with using the pariah W3Schools :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: … as long as i go back to MDN for all the “note” sections where they really explain the “yeah you could do it this way, but it’s a bad idea because blah blah blah” cases. those are often completely missing from W3Schools.

it’s worked so far, i’ve gotten better and better at understanding MDN descriptions and examples.


I can definitely understand that feeling. MDN is great because it give a good explanation of how JavaScript works. It’s just not that helpful when you’re still working on understanding what JavaScript is. For someone who knows what they’re talking about, I love MDN for being both concise and complete, but I agree that it is not (nor does it try to be) a resource for learning JavaScript as a newbie. Think of it more like an owners manual.

I’m going to catch flak for this, but a good resource right now might be W3Schools. Trying to use W3Schools as a primary learning resource is garbage, but when you want a easy-to-read basic rundown it’s handy and I really like their “Try it yourself” feature.

P.S. I promise that before too long you will understand MDN!


MDN, as part of the Mozilla Foundation, provide all that documentation on a voluntary basis. Those articles and examples are written by people giving up free time to create tutorials and document web design and web development standards. Most of the people volunteering are experts in their field, so maybe some of what they write is difficult to understand for beginners. One nice thing, all you need to do is use the same GitHub account you use for FCC and go login over at MDN and start contributing if you think you can make some improvements :grinning::+1:


And the fact that Mozillla does so much to set web standards and run nearly as a charity organization is amazing. I have heard that Google is the single largest financial contributor, think whatever of that as one will. But they almost operate solely on support of others and still give so much back to developers and designers alike. WebAssembly and Hybrid App development would even have been slower in the making if not for Mozilla.
W3Schools can be useful for a quick lookup, I use it when I am a bit stumped, but I agree resources like MDN are a good place to learn as well as give back when a person is ready :blush:

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I agree 100%. MDN is always being linked as the go-to source…but it’s not beginner friendly at all. The examples just aren’t clear on that site, as you pointed out. For now, stick with the alternatives until you can get an idea of what the hell MDN is talking about.

One thing I have learned about trying to learn this skill set and work in the field is that developers often make things more complicated then it needs to be. Sort of purposely creating a barrier of entry for beginners/ new comers behind them.


I definately got that impression as well. I also think that the predominant personality type - who is heralded by their peers as most qualified to teach the subject of coding - is more often than not… mildly impaired on the visual design and arts front. In my experience, these minds are poor communicators and lack skill and empathy in their use of analogies etc. If it makes sense to them, well then, it certainly makes sense to everyone (who is not a moron.) Makes entry into the field a real hurdle in and of itself. Ya have to find the rare ones who are good at both (who are the real teachers). My instinct tells me Mozilla and other elite orgs are not concerning themselves much with how clearly one communicates a simple concept… But more on their Stackoverflow rating lol. If one makes it appear too simple - perhaps one’s skills are judged as too simple - in that environment? Anyhow… Conjecture I admit. Definately seems that way though.

Thanks for your response. Good to know others notice it too. There are other resources thank heavens.

Cool. I didnt know we could contribute. Something to think about down the line for sure. Thanks for illuminating that. :slight_smile: Yeah, with involvement of “experts” it definitely becomes impaired in terms of clarity. A good group to turn to if you want the ultimate hardcore almanac of a coding language, but I’m definately finding that to be a very different thing than the ultimate reference for varying levels of developers. Perhaps it wasn’t meant to be the latter.

That’s a lot of how I’m working around them as well. :slight_smile: Thanks for the feedback! Helps me interpret my struggle with MDN samples in a more positive light. :wink:

When I first started learning JavaScript, I struggled with understanding information on MDN even though it is the go-to source for JavaScript language details. Over time I started to get to where I could understand the information much more easily. Now I have no problem jumping over there and looking at the syntax and description and reading the example and have enough knowledge to implement what it is I want to learn.

So if you are struggling with understading MDN then do not give up. Over time you will find it easier to comprehend. It is a wealth of knowledge on JavaScript in a single place so you can easily find what you need there (once you understand it) without spending hours surfing the internet finding the equivalent information in a more easy-to-understand method.


I’ve been coding JS for a decent little span now actually, and come from a decade with AS - and I still struggle with their examples. I think I do better with the basic rundown approach. My mind can build the rest of what I need from that usually. It’s always just a good clear basic description that I need really - as long as all the various params and stuff are explained. I’m a bit in the dark as to the need for the complicated examples. But admittedly I am not “advanced” yet - so as you indicate - perhaps I’ll grow to appreciate them down the line. Owners manual for sure ;).

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I’ll keep them bookmarked for sure! As I get more advanced we’ll see how it metamorphasizes. Thanks for sharing your experience. :slight_smile:

Hi Jayster,

I think perhaps you are reading a little too much into it :slight_smile: If you’re talking about the reference sections of MDN, then agreed, those aren’t necessarily going to geared for beginners. They’re designed for folks who just need to know the syntax and some basic context for how a thing works. In the same way, a dictionary isn’t much help when learning a spoken language if you don’t understand the grammar first. There are also some tutorials on MDN which may or may not be useful for you.

Ultimately, you have to find what works for you. If it’s not MDN, then (as you and others have discovered) there are plenty of other resources which might.


Thanks! This is an awesome resource.

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@ZakkaryV you’re very welcome. I’m glad you find it useful. In some idle moments I sometimes go there and just poke around to see what I can dig up…

I totally agree with what you’re saying!

What’s ironic is there is a CodeNewbie Podcast featuring a guy that is a writer for MDN and he talks about the great lengths they go through to make the articles friendly for all experience levels.

The code examples they give say a lot more about the methods than their descriptions do imo…


I agree that the MDN pages are not super newbie friendly, but the do not suck by any means. When I first started out, i found the W3schools reference to be more useful, but now that I’m a bit more experienced, I like the MDN reference better. Oh, and @ZakkaryV What I took away from that podcast was that he was talking about was their tutorials, which I admit I have never looked at so i don’t know how newbie friendly those are.

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