In this issue…

Mozilla Developer Preview now available
A Mozilla Developer Preview of improvements in the Gecko layout engine is now available for download. This is a pre-release version of the Gecko 1.9.3 platform, which forms the core of rich Internet applications such as Firefox. Please note that this release is intended for developers and testers only. As always, we appreciate any feedback you may have and encourage users to help us by filing bugs. For details, see David Baron’s post on the DevNews weblog.

The add-on review process and you
Jorge Villalobos has written an extensive post that explains the current add-ons review process, how review queues work, what the AMO Editors team is and does, and what the future holds for this system. “The add-on review process remains a mystery for many add-on developers. As a developer myself, I admit it feels like dropping your add-on into a bottomless pit and just waiting (and hoping) for something to happen. As the weeks pass by, patience runs out and you wonder what’s going on. Developers have rightly demanded more transparency in our review process, and the purpose of this post is to explain where we are now, and what we’ll be doing in the future to improve it for all add-on authors.”

57,000 Personas and going strong!
Ryan Doherty writes, “There are now over 57,000 personas on The past three weeks have been a blur for the Personas team and its contributors. We’ve seen millions of new users join our community and enjoy theming their Firefox. Thousands of designers created over 19,000 personas.” Other fun stats include: 5,000,000 page views, 500,000 unique users, and over 700 new personas created every day. If you would like to get involved with the Personas community, you can join the Google Group, answer questions on, or become an approver by emailing personas-at-mozilla-dot-com.

Rethinking the Getting Started page
Laura Mesa has started to rethink the Firefox Getting Started page, which is one of’s most viewed pages with an average of 525,000 views per day. “We know that a lot of the people that hit this page come to it accidentally hitting the link on the toolbar. We also know that even if they are coming to the page on purpose, they aren’t finding what they were looking for, with 95% of traffic bouncing right off the page.” Laura goes on to offer a handful of possible alternatives, and is looking for more ideas and feedback. For more details and to contribute to the discussion, see her full blog post.

Update mobile add-ons for 1.1a1
Caitlin Looney of the Firefox mobile team writes, “Attention Firefox mobile add-on developers: Please ensure your mobile add-on minimum and maximum version is compatible with both the Maemo and Windows Mobile platforms. We will be releasing our fourth alpha of Fennec for Windows Mobile very soon and we want to make sure users can discover and install your add-on directly from their device. If you update your add-on’s maxVer in the Developer Control Panel to ‘1.1a1’, it will work with the latest version of Firefox for Windows Mobile.”

Automated testing for Lightning
After a lot of hard work by Merike Sell, the Lightning Estonian localizer, the Lightning Calendar project now has a suite of automated tests that work with Mozmill. “Underlying these tests are a basic set of APIs in the shared module testCalendarUtils.js. These APIs can help you do everything from fill in an event dialog to verify that an event is in the correct location on the screen in each view. Merike has written some excellent documentation for the API as well.” More information about this project is available on the Calendar project weblog.

Crashed plugin UI
Justin Dolske recently landed new UI changes for when a plugin crashes. “This builds on top of the fantastic Out Of Process Plugins (OOPPs) work from the Electrolysis team, which allows the browser to keep running even after a plugin dies. So, now that crashes from plugins like Flash, Java, Silverlight, and Quicktime don’t take down Firefox, we need to show the user something to indicate when a plugin has a problem and how to deal with it.” Dolske’s post includes more detail and a handful of screenshots.

Experimenting with add-on promotions
Pascal Finette, part of the Mozilla Labs team, has written about an experiment the team is running to improve user experience and the discoverability of add-ons. As part of the refreshed first run page for Firefox 3.6, a new section was added which highlights the benefits of Firefox add-ons and directs users to the Add-ons for Firefox Web site. The new pilot program expands upon this new format to include the promotion of certain Recommended Add-ons. “These recommendations will run in a rotation — there will be four promotions in total during the pilot (including two add-ons, the current general promotion for add-ons and a Thunderbird promotion).” The pilot is planned to run for 6-12 weeks, and after the results have been gathered and examined, the data will be released. See Pascal’s post for more information.

Firefox for mobile: keyboard shortcuts
Mark Finkle has blogged a quick tip listing a handful of the keyboard shortcuts that Firefox for mobile supports, including shortcuts for zoom in, zoom out, go to location bar, back and forward one page, new tab, and more. There’s even more information available at the Firefox for mobile knowledge base.

An improved experience for new Firefox users
The Mozilla Metrics team, working with the Firefox development team, have identified and solved a number of “pain points” in new users’ experience of downloading and installing Firefox. “Thanks to feedback from our users, and some resulting product changes, we can now safely say that there are no issues confronting new users when installing Firefox for the very first time.” Ken Kovash has posted a detailed look at the improvements that have been made and how those have had a beneficial impact on the first time user installation experience.

Drumbeat slides: feedback wanted
With Drumbeat gathering steam, a number of people have asked for generic slides that they can use to spread the word. Mark Surman has put together a first draft of some slides and recorded them with a voiceover. Mark is looking for feedback and has two questions for those who take the time to watch his video: Does this presentation provide you with a good intro to Drumbeat? Do the slides plus his voice over give you what you need to give a talk? You can grab the slides, view the video, and leave your feedback on Mark’s post.

Upcoming events
* Feb 19 – Testday: OS Testing with Mobile Firefox
* Mar 5 – Learn how to testscript your add-ons
* Mar 19 – Improve the quality of QMO
* Apr 2 – Litmus 2 development review

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]

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.