In this issue…
- Jetpack and the future of add-ons
- Mozilla Drumbeat: January update
- WebGL articles and demos
- Page load analysis using Firebug
- Designing experiments for Test Pilot
- Browser ballot testing + results
- New mobile add-ons categories
- Making getpersonas.com blazing fast
- A Creative Commons for Privacy?
- Five years of Firefox in pictures
- Software releases
- Upcoming events
- Developer calendar
- About about:mozilla
Jetpack and the future of add-ons
Project Jetpack is a new experimental library and Firefox API being developed by the Mozilla Labs team. The team has recently posted an article talking about this project, covering some frequently asked questions such as whether Jetpack will replace XUL-based add-ons entirely, why Jetpack is needed, and what it all means for current add-on developers. Most importantly, the article discusses how you can get involved with the Jetpack project, as the team is looking for developer feedback on the third iteration of the project. Read more at the Mozilla Labs weblog.
Mozilla Drumbeat: January update
Mark Surman has posted the lastest news from the Drumbeat project. “Drumbeat — and growing the number and diversity of people participating in Mozilla — will be the main focus for the Mozilla Foundation team in 2010.” There has been a lot of activity building up around Drumbeat and the project has a growing community of contributors, but they’re always looking for more help. Mark’s post gives a high level overview of the recent project activity, with more detail available on the Drumbeat wiki and newsgroup.
WebGL articles and demos
Eric Shepherd has recently spent some time writing about WebGL, the in-progress specification to bring real-time 3D graphics to the web. “This is a very, very cool technology done — in my opinion — in the right way: instead of inventing a whole new API, WebGL takes the established and well-regarded OpenGL ES standard and makes it available to web content.” Eric’s blog post links to his series of eight articles, and also explains how to run the demos.
Page load analysis using Firebug
Web page load performance is an extremely important topic these days, of great concern to all web developers. Jan Odvarko has written an article demonstrating several page load cases, describing how to properly read and analyze the data provided by the new Net panel feature in Firebug 1.5. “The purpose of Net panel is to intercept network communication between a web-page and the server and see what’s going on under the hood.” Jan’s post walks you through six examples, including: simple page load, connection limit, pipelining, persistent connections, inline scripts block, and redirects. Firebug 1.5 launched recently and is now available through AMO.
Designing experiments for Test Pilot
The Test Pilot team has run three studies since the project’s inception and they have collected an enormous amount of data. Having data presents some dangers that the team is trying to avoid. “There’s a temptation, when looking at a pile of data, to leap to design conclusions. It’s [also] easy to make a model that fits a given dataset perfectly…but it may be adapted so well to the quirks of the particular data that it has no generality, no ability to predict anything else. You can always get some kind of conclusion out of a data set, but the conclusion isn’t worth much unless you test it against new, independently collected data.” Jono and the team are going through the process of developing hypotheses based on the data they’ve collected, and would like your help. The most promising hypotheses will be used for further Test Pilot studies and experiments.
Browser ballot testing + results
Jenny Boriss has been following and blogging about the European Commission/Microsoft browser case and the resulting remedy in which Microsoft will be presenting users with a browser ballot. “Last month, Microsoft agreed to show the browser ballot choices in random order, rather than fixed. I still wondered what effect, if any, item order and other variables would have on what browser people would choose. Would certain design changes on the ballot have a big impact on users? How could Firefox optimize its space on the ballot to be most effective?” In an innovative experiment, Jenny made use of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service to get some answers to these questions, which she has written up on her weblog.
New mobile add-ons categories
“As you probably know by now, Firefox is the first Web browser to support mobile add-ons. Due to all the great new add-ons being created for mobile, we recently set up categories so they’re more discoverable. Go to the Firefox mobile add-ons page and check them out on the top left corner. Add-on developers: please categorize your add-ons, or re-categorize your existing add-ons so that users can find them more easily.” See Caitlin’s blog post for more information.
Making getpersonas.com blazing fast
Ryan Doherty recently spent some time optimizing the GetPersonas.com site. “Personas have been integrated into Firefox 3.6. With the impending tsunami of traffic from millions of Firefox users, I knew my time had come. Donning Firebug, YSlow, and webpagetest.org, I set out to squeeze every last drop of performance out of it.” Ryan has written up the full optimization process he went through, which resulted in a 500ms earlier rendering start time, 300ms shorter download time, and a more than 2x increase in repeat view speed. It’s a great read if you’re interested in web development and performance optimization.
A Creative Commons for Privacy?
Aza Raskin has been discussing privacy both on his blog and with various industry leaders, exploring the idea of creating a “Creative Commons for privacy”. His most recent blog post on the subject goes into some of their current thinking and next steps. “This blog post lays out the groundwork for how we are thinking about crafting Privacy Icons. We still need to figure out what the icons and their states will actually be (as well as if this approach makes sense). Ahead of the Federal Trade Commision Privacy Roundtable, we will be hosting a workshop to discuss and creating solutions (or at least next steps) toward a more meaningful privacy framework over the web. We hope you can join us.” See Aza’s post for more information about this initiative.
Five years of Firefox in pictures
Mozilla’s marketing team has announced the winner of the Mozilla Creative Collective Five Year Challenge: Rolegio Calamaya Jr., also known as Lucero. “As you can imagine it was a tough decision with so many great choices (see John Slater’s slide show). Rolegio’s illustration, Happy B-day Firefox, really captured everyone’s hearts and imagination. As inspiration for his design, Rolegio imagined a busy Firefox who’s always running around, stepping away from his 5th birthday party for a second to rest and enjoy some cake.” In addition to the Creative Collective challenge, the team also put out a call for community members to “Light the world with Firefox“, and has posted a few of their favourites.
* Jan 22 – Testday: Firefox 3.6 Website Compatibility
* Feb 5 – Testday: AMO + SUMO
* Feb 6+7 – Brussels – FOSDEM 2010
* Feb 19 – Testday: OS Testing with Mobile Firefox
* Mar 5 – Learn how to testscript your add-ons
* Mar 19 – Improve the quality of QMO
* Apr 2 – Litmus 2 development review
For an up-to-date list of the coming week’s Mozilla project meetings and events, please see the Mozilla Community Calendar wiki page. Notes from previous meetings are linked to through the Calendar as well.
about:mozilla is by, for and about the Mozilla community, focusing on major news items related to all aspects of the Mozilla Project. The newsletter is written by Deb Richardson and is published every Tuesday morning.
If you have any news, announcements, events, or software releases you would like to have included in our next issue, please send them to: about-mozilla[at]mozilla.com.
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19 Jan 2010 deb