20
Oct 11

Emacs > CMD.EXE

Mozilla requires a unixy dev environment. Makefiles, hg, patches, ssh, irc, etc. Unfortunately Windows lacks in terminal abilities. No tabs, crappy cut/paste, limited size, slow, etc.

Emacs has a wonderful shell-mode(ie my bottom-left buffer). This means that windows can now do proper command history, cut/paste & use multiple emacs buffers(like tabs in a more sane terminal). Like all good features in emacs, out of the box shell mode is pretty busted, but can be fixed to default to bash. Microsoft also provides a very nice fixed width font for emacs. I keep my emacs config in hg. I really appreciate the operating system that is emacs.


19
Oct 11

Alternative to the Indignity of Dealing with the Error Console

The JavaScript error console is a relic from the Mozilla stone age. There are two problems with it:

  1. It lives in a separate window
  2. It is not helpful

I’ve been drooling over the new Firefox Web Console, but unfortunately it doesn’t have chrome privs [yet?] so it isn’t a replacement for the error console since it operates with privileges of the webpage displayed. Turns out I was 2 steps away from nirvana:

  1. Navigate to chrome://global/content/console.xul.
  2. Menu -> “Web Developer” -> “Web Console”

Turns out that one can load a url with chrome privs (about:memory works too) and the web console becomes a very helpful [with autocompletion, less noise, etc) tool for typing Components.interfaces…

Update:

Scratchpad can also do this sans autocompletion, see Rob’s comment below.


10
Oct 11

Misc

Linux Plumbers

A few of us attend LinuxPlumbers last month, I gave talk. Basic summary: kernel + toolchain could add a few straight-forward features to make Firefox and other apps start faster and use less memory.

Performance Team

I am no longer alone on my quest of performance whack-a-mole. Since spring I’ve been growing a team of extremely talented people to help make Firefox faster and slimmer. As a manager I do more people tasks now, so I have less ” ____ sucks” blog posts to write. We are currently working on massively speeding up Fennec startup via incremental decompression (sort of like an efficient UPX for android), fixing SQLite + other IO usage in Firefox, reordering binaries for faster startup, faster shutdown. The idea is to focus on all areas of browser performance other than rendering the web (for now).

Performance Help

“Perf work is cool, but I wouldn’t know where to start with finding a good first perf-bug” <– is this you? Would any of my readers be interested in a roundup of next set of “low hanging fruit” perf-improvements to be had?

Example bugs: