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Mozilla creates paid-for subscriptions for web doc library

For all those worried about the Firefox maker, now you can chip in five or ten bucks a month

The Mozilla Developer Network, which hosts free, open access to web standard documentation, tools, samples and other good stuff, is going pay-for-play with a premium subscription plan that adds new personalization features. 

The Firefox maker announced today the subscription service, called MDN Plus, saying it will add three features for paid MDN users at launch: Notifications, collections, and MDN Offline.

The MDN Learning Area and the front-end web developer learning pathway in MDN were the first indicators of what users wanted, Mozilla senior head of product Hermina Condei said, noting that MDN Plus marks "our first step to providing a personalized and more powerful experience while continuing to invest in our always free and open webdocs."

Mozilla's MDN Plus FAQ makes it clear that the company has no plans to change the existing MDN Web Docs site. To the contrary, Mozilla said that MDN Plus will be a net benefit to the rest of the site "as we plan to reinvest part of the gains from MDN Plus and improve our documentation as well as the overall user experience on the website."

Here's the paid-for MDN subscription features:

  • Notifications can be assigned to tutorial pages, API references, and other assets on MDN. Notifications are placed in an inbox, where they can be starred for later review.
  • Collections let users store frequently visited pages, add notes to those pages, filter by keyword, and sort by date and title. Additionally, collections will automatically create a frequently viewed collection and automatically populate it.
  • MDN offline access simply requires enabling it and allowing the MDN progressive web app to create cached copies. Auto-updating can be enabled to automatically pull changes when online. 

MDN users have no obligation to purchase a subscription, but for those who wish to try MDN Plus features, three tiers are available:

  • MDN Core is a free tier that allows users to save up to five articles, and provides notifications on up to three articles. 
  • MDN Plus 5 is $5 per month and includes all three of the features mentioned above. 
  • MDN Plus 10 costs $10 per month, and in addition to the MDN Plus 5 features includes early access to new features and a direct feedback channel to the MDN team.

MDN Plus is available now in the US and Canada. Mozilla said it has plans to roll out MDN Plus to other countries, "including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, Ireland, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore," in the coming months. 

Mozilla wasn't specific with what it plans to do with funds collected from MDN Plus, though it did say earnings would stay inside Mozilla that it "wants MDN Plus to help ensure that MDN's open source content continues to be supported into the future." 

"We are looking into ways to reinvest some of these additional funds into open source projects contributing to MDN but it is still in the early stages," Mozilla said. ®

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