Archive for June, 2010

Fennec, tabs, Firefox Input, Student Reps, SUMO, Drumbeat, Jetpack SDK, and more…

In this issue…

Fennec 2.0: what’s coming
Mark Finkle has written about ongoing planning for Fennec 2.0. “We haven’t even released the final Firefox for Maemo 1.1 yet, but we have been very busy working on features and changes for the next major release. Check out the Fennec 2.0 project planning page. The biggest changes are related to out-of-process web content (Project Electrolysis) and accelerated rendering (Project Layers). Significant amounts of platform work have been done on both projects. Fennec 2.0 will integrate both Electrolysis and Layers.” Read more on Mark’s weblog.

Why tabs are on top in Firefox 4
“In the Firefox 4 nightly builds, and in Firefox 4 Beta 1, we are changing the default tab position so that tabs are on top. This is a preference that users can change by right clicking on any of their toolbars. Moving the default tab position is obviously a significant and to some extent controversial change to the Firefox UI, which is why we have made a video to help explain our rationale.” Read more and view the video on Alex Faaborg’s weblog.

Firefox Input feedback mechanism
Mozilla has created a new feedback mechanism that we hope will help more users tell us what they do and don’t like during the next Firefox Beta. “In order to see/use it, you’ll have to get a beta build for Firefox 4 (when it’s available) and head over to the right side of your navigation bar. There you’ll see a small suite of options available to offer feedback to the Firefox team.” Aakash Desai has written more about this new tool, including what the feedback process looks like, how to access the public dashboard of feedback data, and detailed notes about the privacy features related to this new tool.

Student Reps goes global
“Students around the world love Mozilla’s products and embrace our mission. Our 2,100 student evangelists have a global presence, reaching schools in 77 countries. To more effectively communicate with our student leaders, we are going international with our student guide as well.” The team is in the process of relaunching the Mozilla campus program as Student Reps, which will now live at studentreps.mozilla.org. “More than just a fresh design, the new Student Reps site also offers localized content to make it even easier for students to participate around the world. Our very own Student Reps made this possible, translating the site into their native languages with the help of our localization team.” Read more on the Mozilla Blog.

Help test our new Support forums!
Stephen Donner and the Web QA team is looking for your help! “Building off the momentum from the SUMO 2.1 release, which converted the old Tiki-Wiki-based Contributors/Off Topic/Knowledge Base forums to Python (code-named Kitsune), we’re redesigning (and reimplementing from scratch) the more prominent and feature-rich Firefox Support Forums. It’s starting to take its shape in our 2.2 milestone. As is always the case with Mozilla projects, we value and need your input and help in reporting issues/feedback along the way.” Find out how you can help and how to get started over at Stephen’s weblog.

Firefox 3.6.6 by the clock
Firefox 3.6.6 was released this past Saturday and turned out to be our fastest Firefox release ever, being the first time we have shipped a release in under 24 hours. “From ‘Dev says go’ to ‘release is now available to public’ was 22h 33m wall-clock time. The Release Engineering portion of that was 10h 15m. By comparison, our previous fastest release turnaround was FF3.5.5 (3d 4h 45m from start to finish, with Release Engineering taking 13-16 hours).” John O’Duinn’s blog has all the details about this incredible feat.

Console code now in Firefox nightlies
The new web console code has landed on mozilla-central and is now available in Firefox nightly builds. There are still a number of follow-up bugs that need to be addressed, the list of which is available in Bugzilla. “The console itself has the standard API: console.log, console.info, console.warn, and console.error. This initial landing into Minefiled nightly will hopefully generate some valuable feedback from web developers and Mozilla developers alike.” You are invited to leave your feedback on David Dahl’s weblog or in Bugzilla.

Drumbeat project communications
The Drumbeat team has initiated a strategic communications planning process for Drumbeat’s launch through the rest of 2010. “As we launch the Drumbeat initiative and help each of the supported projects progress to success, there are literally a billion people we could be talking to. How do we decide who we are going to talk to and when, what we want them to know and ask them to do, and which tools and communications channels to use? To answer these questions we created a strategic communications plan.” Read more about this initiative on the Drumbeat site.

Inspector milestone 0.5 preview
Rob Campbell has made the Inspector Milestone 0.5 Preview available for people to download and try, and is asking for feedback. You can read more about the Inspector, other ongoing work related to DevTools development, and grab the Inspector download through Rob’s weblog.

Jetpack SDK 0.5
The Jetpack team has released Jetpack SDK 0.5. “This latest release offers more APIs for you to build add-ons with. For instance, one of the new APIs enables you to access tab information and control tab-related actions, e.g. opening/closing tabs.” The new APIs in Jetpack SDK are: Tabs API, Request API, Load/unload reasons, Localization API, and Selection API. Previous releases include a Page Worker Widget, and Simple Storage and Private Browsing APIs. A complete list is available in the core library reference. “If you’re new to the Jetpack project, it aims to make it easy to build Firefox add-ons using common Web technologies like HTML, JavaScript, and CSS and with this latest release, building Firefox add-ons has never been easier! To get started, check out the Jetpack SDK tutorial and download the SDK.” See the Add-ons Blog for more info.

Results from Developer Survey #2
Mozilla Hacks has posted the results of their second developer survey, conducted in March. “In this post we’ll share the results of our latest survey and provide some data and insights from all the great feedback we have received. We hope this will help us better understand developers’ needs and continue to build out the Mozilla Developer Network to better engage with them.” Read all about it on Mozilla Hacks.

Two week about:mozilla hiatus
With the 2010 Mozilla Summit coming up next week, I’ll be pausing publication of this newsletter for two weeks. Regular weekly publication will resume on July 20th.

As always, if you have any feedback about this newsletter please feel free to send a note to deb-at-mozilla-dot-com. Thanks!

Software updates
* Jetpack SDK 0.5
* Bugzillas 3.2.7, 3.4.7, 3.6.1, 3.7.1
* Thunderbird 3.1
* Lightning 1.0b2

Upcoming events
* Oct 1-2 – New York City – Open Video Conference
* Nov 4-6 – Barcelona – Drumbeat Festival 2010
* Nov 5-7 – Free Society Conference and Nordic Summit (FSCONS)

Developer calendar
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 about:mozilla
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.

about:mozilla

Firefox Sync & Home, paper cuts, add-ons builder APIs, web sockets, WebQA, JavaScript modules, and more…

In this issue…

Firefox Sync & Firefox Home
Jay Sullivan, Mozilla’s VP of Products, has written an extensive post talking about the new Firefox Sync feature and upcoming Firefox Home iPhone application. “Mozilla launched an exploration into how multiple devices, connected through the cloud, could make Firefox’s personal Web experience portable across multiple computers and devices, while providing unprecedented privacy protection. That exploration has resulted in a set of products, features and services that provide great user experiences and begin to create new possibilities for developers.”

Firefox Sync will be part of Firefox 4, making your bookmarks, history, Awesome Bar intelligence, passwords, form-fill data and open tabs accessible from Firefox running on other computers and mobile devices. “Unlike cloud services that use your data to track your travels throughout the Web for ad targeting or other purposes, Firefox Sync encrypts all of your data before sending it to the server. This means you do not have to sacrifice any privacy or control while still getting the convenience of ubiquitous access to your data.”

Firefox Home will give iPhone users instant, secure access to the bookmarks and open tabs from Firefox on their computers, as well as a version of the Awesome Bar that quickly gets them to the right website. “Firefox Home provides the comfort that comes from knowing you can quickly get to the information you need wherever you are. You’ve already done the work to find what you need on the Web. Why start all over again on your iPhone?”

Paper cuts and Firefox 4
The Mozilla user experience (UX) team received over 2000 replies when they asked people to tell them about their Firefox pet peeves. The result of this was a number of bugs filed under a “Paper Cuts” umbrella, and an effort has been started to fix as many of these as possible for Firefox 4.

“The paper cut bugs are issues of particular importance to the User Experience team, and as such, we will give priority to help you fix these bugs. It means that we’ll go the extra mile to try and support anyone that helps us with fixing them.” Anyone interested in helping with this initiative should take a look at the list and dive on in. The UX team will be available to help, so feel free to post comments in the bugs if you need clarifications or help. See Alexander Limi’s post for more information.

Status bar + add-on icons, continued
Jennifer Boriss has posted a third article discussing the elimination of the Firefox status bar and re-housing add-on icons. “The problem with putting add-on icons in the bookmark bar by default is that Firefox’s interface could become easily overcrowded if add-ons add more than just a 16 by 16 pixel icon. If an add-on creates a long horizontal widget, for instance, the whole bookmark bar could be taken up after its installation. Also, many add-ons have come to rely on bottom-anchored functionality — partially because of the location of the status bar.” The rest of Boriss’ post goes over a proposed solution to this problem, where the status bar is still available to add-ons, but is only as large as it needs to be and can be automatically hidden by the user.

Add-ons builder APIs survey
The Mozilla Labs team is looking for more feedback from add-on developers. “We’ve compiled a list of possible APIs that could be built into the Add-ons Builder SDK, and we’d like to know which ones you feel are most important. You can also comment on current APIs and suggest others we didn’t include in this list.” Head over to the Moz Lab blog to take part.

Web sockets in Firefox 4
“Recent Firefox 4 nightlies feature support for Web Sockets, a new technology (an HTML5 spin-off) that enables bi-directional communication between a web browser and a server,” writes Percy Cabello of Mozilla Links. “While the concept may not sound new at first sight, after all we are well used to web chat applications, video and audio streaming, camera broadcasting, and other persistent connections. In reality, these are all possible through a number of serious hacks in the server and client sides that, in the end, add a lot of unnecessary overhead web sockets aim to solve.” Read more over on Mozilla Links.

WebQA automation primer
The Mozilla Web QA team has been working on building automated systems that test key functionality on Mozilla’s top three websites: AMO, SUMO, and Mozilla.com. Stephen Donner has blogged about what the team is doing, how they’re doing it, and what tools they’re using in the process. Read the full article over on Stephen’s weblog.

Browser desktop notifications
Doug Turner is looking for feedback on a new feature that may come to a browser some day. “Desktop notifications allow a web page to notify the user using system level services, such as Growl, in a clean, safe, and easy to use manner. You can get more sophisticated by adding a callback when the user clicks on a Desktop Notification. A user must grant each site permission before they can use Desktop Notifications. We will use the familiar notification bar.” You can read more about this feature at Doug’s weblog, and leave any feedback there.

Drumbeat Festival: Nov 3-5
Planning for the Drumbeat Festival is under way. “The theme is ‘learning, freedom and the web — connecting people on the radical, disruptive edge of learning with people from the open web world. It’s happening in Barcelona from November 3 – 5. Right now, we’re focused on refining the theme and recruiting a handful of high profile participants. A number of participants from the broader Mozilla family are already confirmed, including Mitchell Baker, Joi Ito, and Brian Behlendorf.” You can read this full post on the Drumbeat site, as well as the original announcement.

JavaScript modules in a JAR file
Wladimir Palant writes, “a very important change landed on mozilla-central a few days ago. JavaScript modules can now be located in JAR files and loaded directly via chrome:// URLs. So an extension can now keep its modules in the JAR file along with all the other code. This has several advantages: more efficient compression, fewer files to sign if the extension is signed, fewer files to read in when Firefox starts up. And you no longer need to register resource:// ‘domains’ for your extension.”

Drumbeat newsletter highlights
The June 2010 Drumbeat newsletter was published last week, and Matt Thompson has written up some of the highlights, including notes about the official 2010 Mozilla t-shirt, Shuttleworth/Mozilla Education fellowship entries, the Universal Subtitles project, the Open Video Alliance Conference that’s taking place in October, Creative Commons Catalyst Grants, and various Drumbeat events being planned all over the world. You can read the full newsletter at Drumbeat.org.

Software releases
* Firefox for Maemo 1.1 RC 1
* Processing.js 0.9.4
* Bespin 0.8
* Firebug 1.6a13

Upcoming events
* Jun 30 – London 2010 Add-ons workshop
* Oct 1-2 – New York City – Open Video Conference
* Nov 4-6 – Barcelona – Drumbeat Festival 2010
* Nov 5-7 – Free Society Conference and Nordic Summit (FSCONS)

Developer calendar
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 about:mozilla
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.

about:mozilla

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