In this issue…
- Jetpack for Learning winners
- Updating the Mozilla Public License
- Developer tools in Firefox
- Rock Your Firefox!
- Mobile add-on challenge
- Jetpack SDK, first milestone release
- Firefox, extensions and performance
- OOPP and responsiveness
- Online identity concept series
- Collaborative video subtitling challenge
- Menu item usage data now available
- Support forum redesign mockup
- SeaMonkey Project turns 5
- Software releases
- Upcoming events
- Developer calendar
- About about:mozilla
Jetpack for Learning winners
Mozilla Labs announced the Jetpack for Learning Design Challenge winners at the Mozilla SXSW Happy Hour. “Ten projects already selected as Design Challenge winners participated in a design camp in Austin, TX over three days. Three of these projects were chosen for special awards: ClozeFox was selected as ‘best use case’; the project leader of Mupple received the prize for ‘sharing knowledge with others’; Expression Widgets was chosen as the ‘best web hack’. You can find more information about these and download all Jetpack-based add-ons from the Design Challenge wiki.” For more information about this challenge and the results, see the website and the Mozilla blog.
Updating the Mozilla Public License
After over a decade of use, the Mozilla Public License is undergoing a review and update. Mitchell Baker writes, “It’s time to see if we can make the MPL easier to use and incorporate a decade’s worth of experience. In particular I’m hoping to modernize and simplify the license while still keeping the things that have made it and the Mozilla project such a success.” The MPL review and update will be done through a public process — there is already a website, a commenting tool (where the team hopes to aggregate most of the comments about language and drafting), and a newsgroup/mailing list for other discussion.
“Over the years we’ve received feedback about the license, and we’ll use some of that, plus early comments here, to produce an early ‘alpha’ version of what a new license might look like. Once we have published an alpha draft, we will have time for commentary, discussion, and further drafting, followed by beta and release candidate drafts. We hope to complete the process by the end of 2010.” Several people have blogged about this effort, including Mitchell Baker, Harvey Anderson, Luis Villa, and Gervase Markham.
Please note: There is a brown bag discussion about this project at 12:30pm Pacific time today! Details are available in the mozilla.governance discussion group.
Developer tools in Firefox
Johnathan Nightingale has written about Mozilla and Web developer tools, specifically about Mozilla’s investment in Firebug and about a growing focus on the development of other, new developer tools. “Before Firebug, View Source and DOM Inspector were the state of the art. Now other browsers are copying Firebug and shipping their tools by default, and the question is where the tools are going to go next. We should be a strong voice there, and back it up with code. Building developer tools into Firefox will mean a lot of exploration, and a lot of new code — that’s scary, but the benefits are huge. In the short term, this work will rekindle the conversation about developer tools, and get us all thinking outside of the existing boxes for a few minutes. In the long term, it should make life better for web devs and tools authors; everybody wins.”
Rock Your Firefox!
The Mozilla Add-ons team has launched a new “Rock Your Firefox” web site for showcasing new add-ons and learning what add-ons are all about. “Rock Your Firefox will feature reviews, feedback and insights from people around the Web who are using Firefox Add-ons to make their online experience better. Created to be a friendly channel for add-ons newbies and enthusiasts alike, Rock Your Firefox will be a sister site to the Firefox Add-ons gallery that is currently hosted at addons.mozilla.org.”
Mobile add-on challenge
The Firefox mobile team has announced their second mobile add-on challenge that started on March 11 and will run until Monday, April 12. “Add-on developers are challenged to develop a compatible Firefox mobile add-on that shows innovation and considers the mobile context (small screen size, touch screen, out and about, etc.) At the end of the Challenge period, our panel of judges will select ten winners who will receive a new Nokia N900 in addition to other great mobile merchandise.” Read more about this Challenge at Caitlin Looney’s weblog.
Jetpack SDK, first milestone release
Mozilla Labs has released the first milestone version of a new Jetpack SDK. “While this release demonstrates the platform’s foundations and extensibility, it does not yet provide APIs for building rich add-ons. The next set of releases will add those APIs to the SDK. This release also marks the graduation of Jetpack from a Mozilla Labs prototype to a platform slated for production use with Firefox.” Read more about this project and its initial release at the Labs weblog.
Firefox, extensions and performance
Dietrich Ayala, who has been leading a team working on improving Firefox performance, has recently written about Firefox performance and extensions. “Extensibility is a double-edged sword. It’s a keystone feature in Firefox — differentiating even now that just about every other browser has some vector for augmentation. However, along with the freedom and power of Firefox extensions comes the ability to slow the browser down. And worse, users and developers have little or no visibility into the causes of poor extension performance.” Dietrich’s post goes on to talk about how this situation can be improved, what the first steps are going to be, and how you can get involved and help.
OOPP and responsiveness
The out of process plugins project (aka: OOPP or Electrolysis) is coming along nicely, and the Mozilla QA team is starting to look at its performance. “We don’t have a clear way to compare performance between Firefox 1.6 and the 1.9.3a3pre nightlies when using plugins, but if there’s any perceived change in responsiveness I would like your help in calling it out. If any of you know of test pages we can use to measure performance at least qualitatively, such that we can compare between different builds, please let us know. Similarly, if you think there’s a way to run Talos in builds with different plugins loaded, or if there’s any other automated way to run tests that would yield a few numbers, let us know.” Note that OOPP currently works only in Windows and Linux trunk nightlies. Read the full post over on the QMO weblog.
Online identity concept series
The Labs team has announced a new initiative, as part of the Mozilla Labs Concept Series, to explore new concepts for online identity in the browser. “Your online identity, which is key to enabling a personalized Web experience, is not simply a single atom of data. It is a dense cluster of your accounts (e.g. e-mail, banking, shopping, etc.), relationships and other personal information, spread across the Web and throughout all of your personal computing devices. Your Web browser, as your most trusted relationship in your life online, has nearly perfect knowledge of everything you do on the Web. We envision a world where your browser will play an even more active and critical role in helping you control and shape your online experience.” Visit the Mozilla Labs weblog for the details about how to participate, as well as some guiding ideas, principles, use cases, and open questions.
Collaborative video subtitling challenge
Mozilla Labs is hosting a new design challenge in which you can help make video and the Web more accessible. This Design Challenge is focusing on finding creative solutions to the problem of quickly and collaboratively creating video subtitles. “The Participatory Culture Foundation and Mozilla are working together to build a universal system for creating and improving subtitles for any video on the Web. We believe that many users would be willing to contribute and translate subtitles if there was an easy way to do so. And that we can use this energy to knock down language barriers for popular online video.”
Menu item usage data now available
Test Pilot recently finished a study on how the Firefox menus are used, and the team has now made the data available. “The study was designed to answer such questions as: Which menu items are used most often? How often do people use keyboard shortcuts to activate these items? When using the mouse, how long do people spend looking for the item they want, and which menu items take people the longest to find?” You can read more background about this study at the Menu Item Usage Study page. Everyone with an interest in usability research is encouraged to download the data, do their own analysis, and draw their own conclusions. The Test Pilot team would love to hear what you find.
Support forum redesign mockup
The Firefox Support crew is working on redesigning the SUMO forums and, based on feedback from the last design, have come up with an alternative mockup. “While it has many of the same features as the last one (users will still be able to vote on individual posts in a thread as well as have a button to say ‘I have this issue too’), there are a few changes.” Check out the new mockups in Cheng’s post on the Firefox Support Blog.
SeaMonkey Project turns 5
Robert Kaiser has written a quick post commemorating the SeaMonkey Project’s 5th birthday. “On March 10, 2005 Mozilla Foundation announced the transition plan that paved the way for the community to take over development, release and project management of Mozilla’s application suite. This agreement formed the base of today’s SeaMonkey project, which came to be after a number of IRC meetings where we decided we’d first work on releasing the then-available suite code as a first community version while starting work on transforming the suite to an application built upon the new Mozilla platform.” Read more about the SeaMonkey project’s history and find out how to get involved with the project.
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.
If you would like to get this newsletter by email, just head on over to the about:mozilla newsletter subscription form. Fresh news, every Tuesday, right to your inbox.
16 Mar 2010 deb comments off