Kata community resources restructure

Untitled design (38)I’ve been speaking with a lot of Dojo Champions and Mentors over the last few months, asking for their input on content. I got a lot of feedback that, while they are interested in seeing the Foundation add new pieces of content, they’re more interested in being able to quickly find and follow a route through content: Where to start, where to go next, how long any piece of content is likely to last at a Dojo, etc.

With that in mind, I set out to update Kata to provide a better high-level view of a resource. I’ve also connected resources, projects and badges in Content Paths that can be followed by a Dojo for a period of weeks or months. Each content path is also structured to suggest succeeding paths that pick up after them.

Resource & Project pages

Previously, there was little structure in how content was added to Kata. This meant that pages could look very different from one another, potentially confusing someone who was just looking to find something to work on at their Dojo.

I have created a template, and added it to some pages (there are lots, so I’ll keep going). This template provides several benefits, including a consistent summary view. For either an educational resource or a project, we get the following information in a summary card on the page:

  • Resource title — The same as the name of the page.
  • Area — Programming / Hardware / Design, etc. The broad topic area the content is covering.
  • Language — If it’s a programming resource, the main language addressed.
  • Level — Either beginner, intermediate or advanced, to give an idea of the difficulty of the material. The recommendation is to do at least one of each level on a topic. Achieving this is simplified by paths (see below).
  • Length — The average length, in Dojo sessions, to complete the resource or project.
  • Medium — How is the content presented (e.g. Document / Video etc.)?
  • Format — What format is the content offered in (e.g. Web Page / PDF)?
  • Author — Who created the content?

Here’s an example of the summary card from the “My First Website” HTML Sushi Cards. You can see the whole page here.

There is also a short summary of the resource at the top of the page. These two tools will help anyone considering using the resource to understand what it contains and how it can benefit their Dojo.


Content Paths are a new addition to Kata, linking several educational resources together. They outline a suggested progression through resources that should lead to a solid understanding of a topic. They make it easy to pick a topic for your Dojo, choose resources you like and that suit your timescale, and work through them.

They also include several convenient features:

  • A list of prerequisite skills/paths which help you understand if your Dojo is ready for the material in question.
  • Suggested supplementary resources that can be used to further develop skills already acquired from core resources. They also allow us to attempt a different approach where someone is having difficulty grasping concepts as they are presented in the core resources.
  • Projects that can be undertaken in the same topic area, using the kinds of skills that have been developed by completing the core and supplementary resources.
  • Badges that can be awarded to Ninjas who complete sections of the path, to encourage them and to let them share their progress in their Zen profiles.
  • A “What’s next?” section that shows you which Paths make sense to follow on from this one.

Here you can see the JavaScript Path:

Easy to remember

For convenience, you can find a couple of the paths really easily right now. I’ll be adding more.

Contributing to Kata

If you create resources for your Dojo, or come across useful resources online, please consider taking a few minutes to add them to Kata. With the new structure we’ve added it’s easier than ever to add a resource and make sure it gets listed in all the right places. If you want to contribute content to Kata, or upgrade an already existing content page, please see this guide for details on how to do so with the new structure.

I hope that this structure, and my continuing efforts to reorgorganise Kata into it, will help you run your Dojos with less hassle. As always, if you have any feedback or input on this, get in touch. I’ve set up a discussion thread in the forums and you can reach me by email.

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