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.

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