In this issue…
- Home Tab Design Challenge results
- AMO: Sandboxing the sandbox
- Upcoming extensions changes
- New web developer survey
- Google Summer of Code 2010
- Menu item usage study: Part II
- Future of Personas, Round 2
- Contacts in the browser
- Firefox 3.6 upgrade stats
- Stopping development for Windows Mobile
- 1,000,000 Firefox fans and growing
- Support for SeaMonkey 1.x dropped
- Software releases
- Upcoming events
- Developer calendar
- About about:mozilla
Home Tab Design Challenge results
Mozilla Labs and the Mozilla Firefox User Experience team recently bestowed the “Best in Class” honors for the Labs’ Home Tab Design Challenge. Recipients include Chatree Campiranon and Craig Birchler, Amine Zafri, Yatrik Solanki, Daniel Goodwin, and Blake Cutler. You can see all entries, the first round top 10 concepts, the People’s Choice Award winner, and all of the Best in Class winners at the Design Challenge page.
AMO: Sandboxing the sandbox
“With almost 2 billion downloads, add-ons have proven to be a huge part of Firefox’s growth and popularity over the last 5 years. As Firefox continues to be adopted by non-technical, mainstream users, the security and consumer experience of installing third party add-ons becomes increasingly important.” Justin Scott, with these users in mind, has blogged his proposal for some major changes to the way add-ons are submitted and distributed through Mozilla’s official Add-ons gallery. It is strongly recommended that all add-on developers take the time to read through and give feedback on his proposal.
Upcoming extensions changes
Over the past year Dave Townsend has been working on a project that involves re-implementing the bulk of the Firefox extension manager. Things have progressed well and Dave is looking at landing the first pieces of this on Firefox trunk nightlies soon, and it may affect extensions. “In many cases there will be no change at all, the extensions will continue to work as they did on previous trunk builds. Those that do anything to the add-ons manager UI will see obvious problems since that UI has changed considerably. There is also a set of extensions that are likely to see issues because of API changes.” Dave’s blog post goes on to outline two common issues that extension developers are going to have to change in their code.
New web developer survey
The Mozilla Hacks team has posted some results from last November’s Developer Survey and are looking for further feedback. “Our March survey picks up from some of the themes in the November survey. Many of you stressed the importance of development tools and expressed how it can be difficult to understand the Firefox development process and to give input. We designed this quarter’s (much shorter) survey specifically to ask for your feedback on Firefox 3.6 and Firebug 1.5, both released in January.” Read the results and take the new survey here.
Google Summer of Code 2010
Mozilla will again be participating in the Google Summer of Code program this year. If you’re a student who would like to work with us over the summer, you should start by checking out our projects list and prepare to apply. If you have any questions, contact Gervase Markham or Chris Hofmann.
Menu item usage study: Part II
The Test Pilot team recently ran a study about menu items in Firefox. “In the last post, we presented the most and least commonly used menu items. We noted that a problem with analyzing aggregated data is the potential for outliers to skew our results. Today, to identify these outliers, we will move from looking at aggregate counts to examining how these counts are distributed.” Read more at the Mozilla Blog of Metrics.
Future of Personas, Round 2
Ryan Doherty has posted an update about the team’s plans for getpersonas.com, the Personas feature in Firefox, and the Personas Plus add-on. “As stated before, we will be migrating getpersonas.com over to addons.mozilla.org (AMO). This will involve redesigning the entire personas section of AMO to make it more interactive and engaging. Our plan is to support uploading and reviewing personas on AMO at approximately the beginning of May. Personas Plus will be continually updated and improved upon. Our plan is to implement the ability to apply a persona while using a theme in the next release. This has been our number one request. The personas feature in Firefox will continue to evolve with each release. Features that work well and are successful in the Personas Plus add-on may be uplifted into Firefox itself.”
Contacts in the browser
The Mozilla Labs team has released an experimental version of a new Contacts add-on. “Address books and buddy lists have become an integral part of how we manage our relationships online. Your email addresses, Twitter handle and openID are used in hundreds of ways as you connect, follow and share. This information is also special, because it represents the boundary between ‘my data’ and ‘your privacy’. When you disclose your friends’ email addresses on a website, you are trusting the website to keep that address private. The disclosure of your friends’ contact information is an important step: we think you should be in control of it. With Contacts, we’ve enhanced your browser by making it aware of your online contacts and friend lists. You can then search and browse your contacts in the browser, and a website can ask for permission to access them through an API.”
Firefox 3.6 upgrade stats
Mozilla recently pushed a Firefox 3.6 upgrade offer to people who were still using older versions of Firefox, and the impact has been impressive. The Metrics team blogged about this last week: “The percentage of Firefox users on Firefox 3.6 increased dramatically in recent days. Late last week, the percentage of users on 3.6 stood at roughly 23%, and as of yesterday that number had climbed to 43% (that 20% pick up translates to roughly 75 million total people who made the switch — that’s huge!). Past major update offers have generally converted in the ballpark of 10% to 20% of users, so this most recent push has definitely had a substantial impact.” Read more on Ken’s blog post.
Stopping development for Windows Mobile
Stuart Parmenter, Mozilla’s Director of Mobile, has blogged about a recent change to the team’s development focus. “We have been building a version of Firefox for Windows Mobile for quite a while, with the expectation that Microsoft would be doubling down in the mobile market and hoping that they would put out a great new mobile operating system. While we think Windows Phone 7 looks interesting and has the potential to do well in the market, Microsoft has unfortunately decided to close off development to native applications. Because of this, we won’t be able to provide Firefox for Windows Phone 7 at this time. Given that Microsoft is staking their future in mobile on Windows Mobile 7 (not 6.5) and because we don’t know if or when Microsoft will release a native development kit, we are putting our Windows Mobile development on hold.” Read more at Stuart’s weblog.
1,000,000 Firefox fans and growing
Tara Shahian has blogged about the recent and exciting milestone in which Firefox surpassed 1,000,000 fans on our Facebook page. “It was about one year ago that we began dedicating resources towards optimizing our page, and building a better engagement channel with our community on Facebook. We’ve come a long way since then… increasing our fan base by over 639,400 (~177%), and experiencing daily growth rates of 5,000-6,000 (and as high as 34,600+) since Jan of 2010. But these numbers alone don’t define our success, and in the coming weeks I’ll be writing more about our social media strategy with Facebook… diving deeper to talk about how we got here, our learnings so far, and plans moving forward.”
Support for SeaMonkey 1.x dropped
“The SeaMonkey project is discontinuing support for the SeaMonkey 1.x series today in favor of SeaMonkey 2.0, which is not only more modern, but also maintained for stability and security problems. As the SeaMonkey 1.x series no longer receives security updates, the SeaMonkey team strongly urges users of that series to upgrade. Additionally, the team continues to strongly urge people still using the old Mozilla Suite or Netscape 4, 6 or 7 to upgrade. All these older software packages suffer from a large, and steadily increasing, number of security vulnerabilities because they are no longer being maintained.” See Robert Kaiser’s write up for more details.
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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23 Mar 2010 deb