In this issue…
- Open web, open video and WebM
- An open web app store
- Firefox Inspector impetus
- New add-ons review process proposal
- Fennec 1.1: form autocomplete + portrait browsing
- Socorro: Mozilla’s crash reporting system
- Help test Firefox Sync 1.3
- Nightly Fennec builds for Android
- Add-on packaging spec, parts 2 & 3
- Thunderbird 3.1 needs testers
- Jetpack developer survey
- Crisper Drumbeat messaging?
- Open Video Conference: proposals
- Software updates
- Upcoming events
- Developer calendar
- About about:mozilla
Open web, open video and WebM
Last week, Mozilla joined Google in announcing the WebM project to advance web video, including Google’s release of the VP8 codec under open source and royalty-free terms.
“Until today, Theora was the only production-quality codec that was usable under terms appropriate for the open web. Now we can add another, in the form of VP8: providing better bandwidth efficiency than H.264, and designed to take advantage of hardware from mobile devices to powerful multicore desktop machines, it is a tremendous technology to have on the side of the open web. VP8 and WebM promise not only to commoditize state-of-the-art video quality, but also to form the basis of further advances in video for the web.”
Preview builds of Firefox with WebM support are already available at http://nightly.mozilla.org/webm. Additionally, the Participatory Culture Foundation has updated their Miro Video Converter to be the first tool to produce WebM videos.
An open web app store
Mozilla has started discussions about what principles an “Open Web App Store” would need to follow. “Web developers are expressing interest in an app store model for the Web that would enable them to get paid for their efforts without having to abandon Web development in exchange for proprietary silos. Supporting the needs of Web developers in their efforts to develop websites and apps that aren’t bound to a specific browser and work across the Web is core to Mozilla’s public benefit mission.”
The post goes on to outline a handful of high-level principles that Mozilla believes an Open Web App Store would need to be founded upon, largely based around open standards, interoperability, transparency, respecting user privacy, and remaining open and accessible to all. Read more about these principles and join in the discussion on the Mozilla blog.
Firefox Inspector impetus
Rob Campbell is working on a new Inspector feature that is planned to ship as part of Firefox 4, the initial parts of which have landed and are available in Firefox nightly builds. Rob has blogged again about this feature, discussing why Mozilla is building an inspector into Firefox, explaining a bit about the direction the team is taking with it, and asking for feedback about what you would like to see it do.
New add-ons review process proposal
The Mozilla Add-ons team has come up with a new proposal for revising the AMO review process. “We previously proposed an Incubation Process as a way to make add-ons hosted on AMO safer while still letting developers host their experimental add-ons via direct links. Developer feedback in our forums raised several issues. Taking these into account, we’ve come up with a new plan that accomplishes our previous goal of making all publicly available add-ons on AMO safe, and also provides incentives for developers to make great add-ons.” Review the new proposal and join in the discussion on the Mozilla Add-ons Forum.
Fennec 1.1: form autocomplete + portrait browsing
Madhava Enros has written about two more new features that are part of Firefox mobile (Fennec) 1.1. The first of these is form field autocompletion: “Using an algorithm similar to the one that powers the awesome bar, Firefox will suggest entries appropriate for the form field based on what you’ve entered before. For forms you use a lot — checking into a flight, entering your address — a single tap can replace a lot of messing around with a keyboard.”
The second new feature is portrait-mode browsing. “Firefox 1.1 on Maemo lets you browse with your phone in a portrait orientation as well as landscape. The browser will switch orientations automatically as you reposition the phone, as you would expect.”
Socorro: Mozilla’s crash reporting system
Laura Thompson has written about Socorro — Mozilla’s crash reporting system — and future plans for upgrading and scaling it to handle even more data. “You may have noticed that Firefox has become a lot less crashy recently — we’ve seen a 40% improvement over the last five months. The data from crash reports enables our engineers to find, diagnose, and fix the most common crashes, so crash reporting is critical to these improvements. We receive on our peak day each week 2.5 million crash reports, and process 15% of those, for a total of 50GB. In total, we receive around 320GB each day! Right now we are handicapped by the limitations of our file system storage (NFS) and our database’s ability to handle really large tables.” Read more on the Mozilla Webdev blog.
Help test Firefox Sync 1.3
The Mozilla QA team needs some help testing the most recent builds of Firefox Sync 1.3. “Firefox Sync 1.3 Final is going to be highly publicized and encouraged for daily usage. We’re hoping to release this month, but there’s still a lot of testing of the client and server that we could use feedback on.” If you’re interested, Tony outlines some quick ways to get involved.
Nightly Fennec builds for Android
It’s now easier than ever to get involved with testing the pre-alpha builds of Firefox mobile (Fennec) for Android devices. “Our automated build machines have just started producing pre-alpha Fennec for Android builds with the latest changes from developers each night. We have similar builds for the desktop version of Firefox and for the N900 to let testers have a way of getting the latest changes to provide feedback and to report bugs.” Read more at Stuart Parmenter’s blog.
Add-on packaging spec, parts 2 & 3
Jorge Villalobos — following up on his earlier posts about the Add-on packaging GSOC project — has posted part 2 and part 3 of his proposed Add-on packaging specification. “This is a specification for a project that will be implemented for the Google Summer of Code, and it can still change as feedback is received. There are no concrete plans for making this part of Firefox in the near future. Read my previous post for more info.”
Thunderbird 3.1 needs testers
Ludovic Hirlimann, the QA lead for Thunderbird, is looking for people to help test Thunderbird 3.1 RC1. You should be willing to spend 30 minutes to an hour working through tests and entering test results in Litmus, Mozilla’s test management system. If you are able to spend some time helping out, check out Ludovic’s post for more information about how to get started.
Jetpack developer survey
Just a quick reminder that the Jetpack team is looking for feedback from Jetpack developers to better understand who you are, what you are developing, and how they can better help you achieve your add-on development goals. Head over to the Labs blog to take the survey.
Crisper Drumbeat messaging?
A few weeks ago Mark Surman posted an updated Drumbeat description. “People said it was good, but not good enough. We’ve pushed hard to come up with something better and crisper. The result is a simple set of key messages that explain Drumbeat and why it matters. We’ll use these to write site copy, update our slide decks and drive our upcoming social media campaign. Feedback and tweaks welcome.”
Open Video Conference: proposals
The proposals submission deadline for the Open Video Conference is June 7th, 2010 — just a couple of weeks away. “We are now accepting proposals for panels, presentations, workshop sessions, demo sessions, and other programming for the next Open Video Conference in New York City. Join us and over 900 participants during our groundbreaking two-day conference and take part in the discussions that are driving the future of the online video medium.”
* May 26 – Firefox 4 beta plan brownbag
* May 28 – Addon Testscripting with MozMill
* Jun 7 – Open Video Conference proposals deadline
* Jun 30 – London 2010 Add-ons workshop
* Oct 1-2 – New York City – Open Video Conference
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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25 May 2010 deb comments off