In this issue…
- Meet the Newest (and Cutest) Mozillians
- Last chance to get a Mozilla 2010 T-shirt!
- Firefox Mobile Add-ons Cup
- Add-on Con: Dec 8-9!
- One million Test Pilots
- Toolbar buttons and icons in Firefox 4
- Nightly Tester Tools update
- Free T-shirt! (for add-on developers)
- User centered design in the open
- Running extension code in another process
- Please try TryChooser
- Open Web Apps update
- Software releases
- Upcoming events
- Developer calendar
- About about:mozilla
Meet the Newest (and Cutest) Mozillians
On June 14, 2010, two female firefox (a.k.a. red panda) cubs were born at the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee, and as of last week, they’ve officially joined the Mozilla community. To meet our newest (and cutest) Mozillians, visit www.firefoxlive.org. For the next few months you’ll be able to watch these baby firefoxes play, live and grow via 24 hour live video streams.
Red Pandas are endangered animals, and these particular cubs are the most vital captive firefoxes to the bloodline of their species. Just as Mozilla works to build and protect the open Web, we also support the preservation of key natural ecosystems and hope that Firefox Live will raise awareness of the pandas’ threatened status. You can learn about Mozilla’s other conservation efforts over on Mozilla.org.
Last chance to get a Mozilla 2010 T-shirt!
At Mozilla we work tirelessly to keep the web open so that it may be protected from exploitation, centralization and control. We want to build the web so that it will benefit as many people as possible. It’s why we build Mozilla Firefox and why we’ve created Mozilla Drumbeat, a movement to keep the web open and free.
We believe hands on, participatory web projects like Drumbeat are the best place to start. To support this we’re offering a great way for people who are passionate about the open web to show their love of Mozilla and our values. If you make a donation of $50 or more to the Mozilla Drumbeat Open Web Fund we will send you the freshly designed Mozilla 2010 T-shirt as thanks. Make a donation of $25 or more and we’ll send you a plush Mozilla dino toy in early 2011. This limited edition shirt and toy are only available to supporters of the Open Web Fund.
Firefox Mobile Add-ons Cup
The Firefox for mobile team has launched a brand new add-ons competition in which you have a chance to win cash, prizes, and a trip to Barcelona. “Develop a mobile add-on for Firefox and showcase your innovation to millions of mobile users. We’re looking for compatible and innovative add-ons to extend Firefox on the Android and Maemo mobile platforms. We’re looking for the best example in each of these categories: Sports/Games, Commerce/Shopping, Geolocation, Productivity, Sharing/Social, and Novelty/Innovation. We invite developers of all experience levels to participate in creating awesome add-ons for Firefox mobile. You’ll be rewarded with fantastic prizes and tons of exposure between now and January 7, 2011 when the contest wraps.” See Caitlin’s post for all the details.
Add-on Con: Dec 8-9!
Mozillians will be out in force at this year’s Add-on Con, which starts tomorrow at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. Myk Melez will be introducing Mozilla’s new Add-on SDK, Mark Finkle will be doing a session about building add-ons that work in a multi-process architecture, Jorge Villalobos will teach you how to update your add-ons so they’re ready for Firefox 4, Dave Townsend and Jennifer Boriss will be talking about add-ons from a UX and technical perspective (and introducing the new Add-ons Manager), and Justin Scott will be doing a whole bunch of stuff including one of the conference’s Keynote sessions. Jay Sullivan will also be participating as part of the closing keynote panel discussing the future of the browser. You still have time to register and take part.
One million Test Pilots
“It was just four months ago when we reported that 170,000 Firefox users joined Test Pilot, our open user research platform. Today, we are happy to announce that more than 1 million Firefox users are active Test Pilots, and the community continues to grow. All Test Pilot studies, resulting insights and aggregated data are shared under Creative Commons licenses for the benefit of the Open Source community.” Read more about the Test Pilot program, this important milestone, and some future plans in Jinghua’s blog post.
Toolbar buttons and icons in Firefox 4
The way toolbar buttons and icons work is changing for Firefox 4, and Jorge Villalobos has written an article that all add-on developers should take a few minutes to read. “We have been discussing Firefox 4 add-on compatibility for quite a while, and there are a couple of pain points that are important to revisit. Toolbar buttons and icons in general can be a complicated issue for many developers. Those who seek to create professional-looking add-ons will most likely have to pay a professional graphics designer to work on them, and for this they need a clear specification of the icon styles and dimensions that are necessary for each platform. That is what I will cover in this post.” See the Mozilla Add-ons Blog for Jorge’s full post about these issues and more.
Nightly Tester Tools update
Heather Arthur and the Nightly Tester Tools (NTT) team have released a new version of the add-on. “Among the added features are Crashme functionality, copying about:support to pastebin, and viewing the pushlog changes since the last nightly. Since the update about the future of Nightly Tester Tools, there’s been some discussion around the add-on compatibility feature. We decided to take out the advanced add-on compatibility fixing (you can no longer change the compatibility of individual add-ons), but left in a checkbox that overrides compatibility checking for all add-ons. It works the same way Add-on Compatibility Reporter does, but everyone’s encouraged to install ACR to help report compatibility issues to add-on authors.” There is also a new NTT for mobile, which includes a few of the desktop features and some that are specific to mobile.
Free T-shirt! (for add-on developers)
All this talk about add-ons isn’t happening by accident. Firefox 4 is just around the corner, and it’s time for add-on authors to update their add-ons to work with the new browser. The add-ons team is also adding a bit of incentive this time around: “Developers of Mozilla-approved add-ons compatible with the latest Firefox 4 beta by January 7, 2011 are eligible to receive a free Firefox 4 t-shirt from Mozilla. If your add-on meets the criteria, just fill out this form before January 7.” There are lots of articles available to help you with the update process, including Making Your Add-on Compatible with Firefox 4, Firefox 4 for developers, Updating extensions for Firefox 4, and Toolbar buttons and icons in Firefox 4.
User centered design in the open
“From September to November this year, students within the Interaction Design Studio at the University of Sydney enrolled in a User Centered Design project. The project centered around the broader theme of ‘Designing for Social’ and asked students to create applications and products in this space. All student designs, ideas and research findings are fully documented and publicly available under open licenses. This course was conducted by Martin Tomitsch from the Design Lab at the Faculty of Architecture Design and Planning in collaboration with Mozilla Labs.” Students enrolled in the Design Computing program and with varied interests and backgrounds — including media & art, interaction design and computer science — joined the course. Read more about this project and its results at the Mozilla Labs weblog.
Running extension code in another process
Benjamin Smedberg has blogged about how you can run extension code in another process, which is now supported in Firefox 4. “Running code in a separate process has advantages similar to running code in a separate thread. The running code will not block the main Firefox user interface. An added advantage is crash protection: if the code causes a crash, it will not take down the entire browser. There may also be some performance benefits from separating the garbage collection heaps and avoiding XPCOM overhead.”
Please try TryChooser
“Right now there are over 350 backed up test/talos requests for the tryserver and when I checked our report for trychooser usage it shows that the average number of users pushing with a try syntax has fallen below 50% when it used to be closer to 60%,” writes Lukas Blakk. “I encourage you to please use the trychooser syntax as much as possible. If you do not need every single try result for your patch, do not just push to try and use up all the resources needlessly. Take a moment to insert some try syntax into your commit message.” For more information see the TryChooser wiki page and Lukas’ simple try syntax builder.
Open Web Apps update
The Labs team has posted a couple of updates about progress around the Open Web Apps Ecosystem they recently proposed. The first post outlines a new feature called “Application Sync”, as well as several proposed technical changes to Open Web Apps themselves. The second article talks about their new project to build the infrastructure to support an Open Web App Ecosystem, including progress and short-term plans (including an “integration release” which is on track to be available in Q1 2011). Read more at the Mozilla Labs weblog.
* Dec 6-12, Online, SeaMonkey Triage Week
* Dec 8, Mountain View, Add-on Con
* Dec 15, Sunnyvale, Bugzilla Users & Administrators Group meeting
* Dec 17, Open Data competition deadline
* Jan 7, Mobile add-on competition deadline
* Jan 11, Game On! competition deadline
* Feb 5-6, Brussels, FOSDEM 2011
* April 9-10, Bulgaria Web Summit 2011
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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07 Dec 2010 deb