Archive for September, 2010

JägerMonkey, ES5, DevTools, HTML5 dance off, Web Made Movies, Firefox 4, and more…

In this issue…

JägerMonkey in Firefox 4
Firefox just got a whole lot faster. “JägerMonkey is our new optimizing JIT compiler for JavaScript. It sits underneath our existing JIT, TraceMonkey, which appeared in Firefox 3.5. TraceMonkey’s job is to optimize loops to very fast machine code. However, not all code has loops, and not all loops can be trace compiled. JägerMonkey is a general-purpose compiler which converts entire methods to machine code. The goal is to get great baseline performance. When it detects a loop that can be traced, it automatically engages the trace compiler, which makes it even faster. Yes, that’s right: there’s a turbo button inside.” For more about JägerMonkey, check out David Anderson’s blog post.

Error Console turned off by default
The Developer Tools team has disabled both the Inspector and the Error Console in Firefox 4 nightlies, but they can be reenabled through the about:config page by setting devtools.inspector.enabled and devtools.errorconsole.enabled to “true”. A browser restart will be required in order for the changes to take effect. Read more at Rob Campbell’s weblog.

A Minute (or so) with Brendan Eich
Chris Williams (aka: @voodootikigod) recently started a project called “A Minute With Brendan,” a short weekly audio show during which Brendan Eich provides you with, “lightning fast updates of what is upcoming and exciting in the world of JS and programming at large. Super hot morsels of juicy geekery to infuse your day with excitement and thought!” The clips aren’t actually a minute long (the most recent clocks in at around 7 minutes), but they’re densely packed and a lot of fun.

This week’s episode: “Almost 7 minutes of awesome ES5 strict mode discussion about what strict mode is and why you should be avoiding it when using file concatenation on JavaScript. If you know what you are doing, you should use it, otherwise it would be wise to take jslint.com’s recommendations with this episode’s grain of salt. Enjoy!”

New ES5 strict mode support
Jeff Walden has posted another ES5 update, this time about the new ES5 strict mode support. He summarizes, “Don’t try to use the arguments or caller properties of functions created in strict mode code. Don’t try to use the callee or caller properties of arguments objects corresponding to invocations of functions in strict mode code. Don’t try to use the caller property of a function if it might be called from strict mode code.” Jeff’s full post has much more information and all the details you need.

Restore Previous Session feature
A new “Restore Previous Session” feature has been added to the latest Firefox 4 nightly builds. Paul O’Shannessy writes, “this means that you no longer have to restore your whole session immediately at start up. This will be available through a menu item in the History menu.”

Flash vs HTML5 dance off
David Humphrey has blogged about a recent HTML5 challenge. “A week or so ago, Jonas Flint threw down a little web UI challenge, daring the open web to build a button as cool and sexy as his Flash-based button.” Al MacDonald, using the most recent Firefox Beta, responded with style and panache. See the live demo (if you’re using Firefox 4 betas), or the video.

Web Made Movies hack day!
The Web Made Movies team has announced an upcoming hack day that will be held on October 3rd, alongside the Open Video Conference in New York. “The Web Made Movies hack day is a chance for filmmakers, developers and anyone interested in creating Open Video to turn the inspiration of the OVC into action. It’s a great opportunity to meet with people who can help you explore the potential of HTML5. We’ll be featuring a series of short talks and presentations that will spark your imagination and have you leaving the OVC weekend with some concrete next steps to apply to your future work.” If you’re interested in taking part, see Brett Gaylor’s announcement and be sure to sign up.

Firefox 4 and a virtual park
“As new betas of Firefox 4 come out and the community gets ready for the next release, we are also putting together a new Mozilla Parks page,” writes David Boswell. “This will be for Tumucumaque National Park, located in Brazil. As we’ve done with earlier parks, we’ll talk about how Mozilla is protecting the digital ecosystem just like a park protects a physical ecosystem. Instead of just talking about this, we also want to let people help us build a virtual version of the park with images, videos, tweets and more.” The virtual park will use some of the latest HTML5 magic and will be a fun way to feature some of the new advances in the web platform.

JS benchmarks
Robert Sayre has posted an update about Firefox JavaScript performance, looking at the latest benchmark scores and diving deeper into what those benchmarks actually measure. “Contributors to the Mozilla JS engine are making performance improvements throughout the Firefox 4 development cycle, and the progress has been pretty rapid. We’re excited about the speed improvements we’ve already made for Firefox 4, and even more excited about those yet to come.” Read more at Robert’s weblog.

Thunderbird L10n contact wanted
The Thunderbird team is looking for a new L10n contact as the current contact (Simon) has decided to step back from the project. “We are looking for a new localisation contact/coordinator volunteer for Thunderbird. Simon has already listed some of the regular activities that he has been doing. We would very much like to find someone to help us improve Thunderbird for all languages across the world. The most important skills are a passion to help Thunderbird, a willingness to learn new tools and techniques, and strong communication skills.” If you’re interested in helping out with Thunderbird localisation efforts, contact Mark Banner.

Software releases
* RequireJS 0.13.0
* Firebug 1.7a2
* Firebug Lite 1.3.1

Upcoming events
* Sep 25-26, Berlin, JSConf.eu 2010
* Oct 1-2, New York, Open Video Conference
* Oct 28-29, Toronto, FSOSS
* Nov 3-5, Barcelona, Drumbeat Festival 2010
* Nov 5-7, Gothenburg, 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.

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Firefox 4, Web Console, add-ons, Drumbeat, Firefox Home, Africa, Fennec, and more…

In this issue…

Latest Firefox 4 beta update
“The latest update to Firefox 4 Beta brings super fast graphics and incredible new audio capabilities to the Web. Firefox 4 Beta now leverages hardware acceleration to improve graphics performance for Windows users and also allows, for the first time, the visualization of audio data within the browser.” Read more about this latest beta update at the Mozilla Blog, and download the beta today!

Introducing the Web Console
Mozilla’s DevTools team has been working on a new Web Console feature for Firefox 4. Kevin Dangoor recently posted about the Web Console, talking about what it is, how you can see it now, and what it provides to web developers — including logging, network details, the console object and a Read Eval Print Loop (REPL) for JavaScript. Read more, including what’s next for the Web Console and how to get involved, in Kevin’s post.

Add-on compatibility for Firefox 4
Jorge Villalobos has posted an update for add-on developers about ensuring add-ons are compatible with Firefox 4. His post includes links to three key resources, including a Firefox 4 Compatibility discussion, and covers new UI features, development and packaging notes, and more. Read all about it at the Mozilla Add-ons blog.

Rock Your Firefox
Rock Your Firefox is a place for Firefox users to discover cool new add-ons and learn what add-ons are all about. Elise Allan has been spearheading this project recently, posting about add-ons such as Read It Later, WeatherBug, AutoCopy, and FoxClocks as well as research like the BlogHer browser survey results. It’s a great resource for learning about new add-ons — check out the blog or follow @rockyourfirefox on Twitter.

Hardware acceleration coming to Firefox
The most recent Firefox 4 beta includes hardware acceleration for Windows Vista and Windows 7 users, through a rendering system called Direct2D. “Direct2D is part of the DirectX package which is shipped with Windows. It allows us to access the hardware with a simple 2D graphics drawing API for all Mozilla drawing code, allowing hardware acceleration for a very large number of scenarios.” While Direct2D is not available on other platforms, the Graphics team is hard at work on alternative approaches. Read more at Bas Schouten’s weblog.

Mozilla Drumbeat: What’s next?
The Drumbeat team is looking for your help and feedback! “We’re eight months into Drumbeat. We’ve built a bit of a brand. People are interested. They want to get involved. More importantly: new people have shown up. Educators. Filmmakers. Artists. Not Mozilla natives. These new people are doing interesting things. And their peers are noticing. It’s a good start. We have some momentum. There is potential. Which begs the question: now what?” Mark Surman is looking for your ideas about where Drumbeat should go next, and what they should focus on. Head over to Mark’s blog to read more, and check out the etherpad where his post (and more) is being discussed.

Localizing Firefox Home
Seth Bindernagel, who heads up our localization efforts, recently wrote about what was involved with localizing the new Firefox Home iPhone application. “It turns out that localization on the Apple iPhone platform has some pieces that are very easy to understand and manage, and other pieces that are unique, complex, and do not align well with a global open source project like Mozilla.”

Want to hack on Firefox 4?
The Firefox team has a great opportunity for anyone who has always wanted to work on Firefox but didn’t know how to get started. “If you have an urge to help out you can look through this list of things we want to get done on the add-ons manager before release, pick one and go nuts. These are all things that shouldn’t require very much experience working on the add-ons manager or even Firefox in general, though of course some are easier than others. We have some great information about how to get started and also a great community who can help out if you get stuck. If you’ve ever had a hankering to get involved this would be a great time to dive in.”

Firefox 4 AT Vendor Alert
David Bolter has posted an alert for accessibility technology vendors and developers. As of the most recent Firefox Beta update, “child windows associated with browser tabs have been removed thereby breaking the expectations of most windows screen readers. Regretfully, the timing of this change and the substantial impact it has on AT caught the Mozilla accessibility team by surprise. Unfortunately this change is a critical step in our browser’s technical roadmap. The good news is that this issue was quickly discovered during our recent beta cycle and now we can work together on a fix!”

Mozilla in Africa
William Quiviger, one of Mozilla’s tireless community leads, visited Africa to represent Mozilla at Maker Faire Africa 2010 and to lead several Mozilla workshops in and out of the city. “My aim was to engage with local web enthusiasts and developers, to get a better understanding of how we can best push the Mozilla Project forward in Kenya and in Africa in general.” William has written an extensive and fascinating report about his trip, the events he took part in, and about many of the incredible Mozillians he met along the way. Read more and check out the photos over on his blog.

Fennec 2: changes for add-ons
The most recent alpha release of Firefox for Android and Maemo (aka Fennec) includes some major changes and new features for add-on authors. The Fennec add-on documentation has been updated to include everything you need to know to start updating your Fennec add-ons or creating new ones.

Software releases
* Firefox 4 beta update
* Firefox 3.5.12 and 3.6.9
* Thunderbird 3.1.3 and 3.0.7
* Firebug 1.7a1
* Chromebug 1.7a1
* SeaMonkey 2.0.7

Upcoming events
* Sep 25-26, Berlin, JSConf.eu 2010
* Oct 1-2, New York, Open Video Conference
* Oct 28-29, Toronto, FSOSS
* Nov 3-5, Barcelona, Drumbeat Festival 2010
* Nov 5-7, Gothenburg, 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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