News

Modernizr 3, Stickers & Diversity

While Modernizr was meant from day one to eventually become unnecessary, that day is far from here, and so development on the library goes on. Some of the things we’ve been busy with:

Version 3

Modernizr v.3 is not a mere version bump with some new additions; it is a complete architectural rewrite of the entire library and all of the 150+ community feature tests. The team and some of our great contributors have worked tirelessly to convert all of the tests to facilitate a new loading structure based on AMD, and are currently embedding the tests with important meta-data such as known issues, sample usage and more.

There is a new site in the making as well, with a new documentation page taking your feedback into account (feel free to fill out that survey if you haven’t yet), and a new download page that makes it much easier and faster to create the custom build that you need.

You can help make v.3 become a reality by closing issues, or by updating open Pull Requests to the new v.3-compatible format for tests (see this example for what that looks like).

Stickers!

While we work on version 3, you can show your support with some fancy new Modernizr stickers, courtesy of the fine folks at DevSwag. Put these stickers on your laptop, fixie bike, and anything else you’d like to “modernize” (ahem).

The stickers are just $6 for a pack of four, and all of the proceeds that go to Modernizr will be donated to the Ada Initiative. All of us here at Modernizr care deeply about having a healthy and diverse community of developers, and the Ada Initiative does great work that we support.

Diversity in tech & open source

The tech community, and in particular open source, is currently quite male-dominated. By itself that’s not so much of a problem, but it becomes more of one when it leads to increasingly male-specific behavior and cultures, which can be hostile and alienating to various groups—other men included.

Currently in tech, typically male behavior such as aggressiveness is rewarded with more visibility and, consequently, more opportunities. Discussions online, whether they’re about community diversity, ruby vs. python, or tabs vs. spaces, often devolve into a lot of verbal aggression, breeding an angry and hostile culture from which no one really benefits. Similarly, a harmless joke here or there isn’t a big deal, but the same kind of jokes over and over again breed a certain culture, and that culture is often exclusionary to people who don’t care for those jokes.

When this happens within a small group of people, it’s one thing. When it happens industry-wide, we’re excluding people from our field altogether, and that is a terrible thing that fundamentally undermines the meaning and value of our work. “Merit” is a total fallacy if you only allow a certain kind of people to be measured for it.

Our industry is vast and encompasses many different types of people. It is time to stop having this belief that tech, web development, or open source, is a community composed entirely of “other people who are just like us,” and that it gives us carte blanche for behaving however we want, or for saying whatever we want. Sexist, misogynist, racist, homophobic and otherwise exclusionary language, jokes and slurs—whether we put them in commits, source code, or comments to blog posts—are absolutely unacceptable.

It’s time for us to stop trying to get the industry or community to behave according to the rules set forth by the most vocal majority. Each and every one of us deserves to be respected and listened to, to not be shouted down by an angry mob.

We should not judge our peers solely by the quality of their code or pixels: that’s dehumanizing and wrong, and encourages individualism. It’s time for us all to embrace the diversity that we represent: different people from different backgrounds with different skills, ideas and opinions.

Since Faruk first started Modernizr in 2009, it has evolved through a collective, social effort. This wouldn't have been possible without the vast range of different contributors, each bringing their own unique slant. It’s ultimately this diversity that has allowed Modernizr to be the broad-reaching tool it has become — and it will only be able to continue to grow and improve if it sticks to and supports these ideals across the entire community.