Archive for July, 2010

Social media, icon makeover, Firefox 4, Tab Candy, documentation, FSOSS, JavaScript, and more…

In this issue…

Mozilla Social Media Toolkit
Over the past few months, Sarah Doherty has been putting together a set of tools and best practices related to social media, which she launched yesterday as the Mozilla Social Media Toolkit. The Toolkit, “allows you to leverage social media to market Mozilla and Firefox in your region and beyond. One of the coolest parts of the Toolkit are the social media design asset kits. Collaborating with The Royal Order, we are releasing a set of 5 Facebook Profile Images and 4 Twitter designs that include a Twitter background, design color palette and profile picture. With these design kits you are able to instantly identify your page as a Mozilla community-supported group.” More information is available through Sarah’s blog post.

Add-on icon makeover voting open!
Developers nominated 83 of their add-ons to receive an icon makeover and now it’s time to cast your vote! Choose up to 5 add-ons in the voting booth with missing icons or graphics that could use some work. Our illustrator will work with the winners to produce shiny new top-notch icons they can be proud of. Voting ends August 6, 2010 at 11:59pm Pacific time. Please vote only once each for up to 5 add-ons.

Firefox 4 add-on compatibility
Firefox 4 Beta 1 was released a few weeks ago, Beta 2 is coming soon, and the final release of Firefox 4 is expected later this year. “This relatively long transition period is great for add-on developers, because it gives us plenty of time to update and test our add-ons for Firefox 4. On the other hand, this new major release is going to sport a ton of new features, and it will break a great deal of stuff we need, so it won’t be trivial to upgrade most add-ons to support it.” Jorge Villalobos has written the first of a series of posts that will help add-on developers get their add-ons updated and tested in time for the Firefox 4 release. Head over to the Add-ons blog to check it out.

Tab Candy
Tab Candy is a new experiment towards an evolution of tabbed browsing. “We need a way to organize browsing, to see all of our tabs at once, and focus on the task at hand. With one keystroke, Tab Candy shows you an overview of all tabs to allow you to quickly locate and switch between them. Tab Candy also lets you group tabs to organize your work flow.” Read more about this experiment, see the demo video, and download an alpha version at Aza Raskin’s weblog.

Writing awesome documentation
Michael Verdi recently joined the SUMO Firefox support team and is hard at work on improving the quality of our Firefox Knowledge Base. At the Mozilla Summit he talked about how to write awesome documentation, which he has also posted about on his blog including a summary of his main tips. If you have to write documentation, or if you would like to help make Mozilla’s documentation better, you should read Michael’s post and learn how you can get started.

Speak at FSOSS 2010
The 9th Annual Free Software and Open Source Symposium (FSOSS) is coming up on October 28th and 29th at Seneca College in Toronto. The FSOSS organizers are still looking for interesting workshops and presentations on a variety of open source topics, so if you’re involved with open source in any way, this could be a great chance to get involved with the conference. Check out the FSOSS website and submit a presentation proposal today!

Designing for sharing
Madhava Enros presented a lightning talk at the Mozilla Summit called, “Designing for Sharing”, and he has now written that presentation up in blog form. “The point has pretty substantially been made that ‘social’ is a very big deal, and that a major part of our role is going to be to make the internet a better fit for the extremely social creatures that we humans are. We’ve been taking some steps towards this in designing the next version of Fennec — Firefox on mobile devices — by introducing the ability to share, by which we mean the ability to take things you find or create on the internet and show them to your friends. In doing so, we’ve found that it’s critical to remember that social networks are not a new online phenomenon; we have always existed and acted within social networks. It’s been very useful, therefore, to look at how we are social and share in the ‘real’ offline world.”

Using Firefox at work
Kev Needham is leading a drive to re-examine how Mozilla can work with organizations to make it easier for them to deploy and use Firefox in their workplaces. “We’ve had some good press in the last month or two, notably IBM’s announcement of Firefox as its default browser, and a Forrester Research report stating that Firefox has a 20% share in the companies they surveyed. I think it’s important that we have a good story for getting Firefox into the hands of people in the work environment, but the story needs to be put together. Our mission is to promote openness, innovation, and opportunity on the web. Making it easier for organizations to use our products in their workplace is a great opportunity to take that message to them. There are a lot of people who use us at home, but who would also love to use us at work. I want to help make that happen and, thankfully, I’m not alone.” Read more on Kev’s weblog, and find out how you can jump in and get involved.

A brief history of JavaScript
Brendan Eich gave a “surprise keynote” at the JSConf 2010 conference in April, and has now posted the video to his blog. Highlights include: What would happen in a battle between Chuck Norris and Bruce Campbell, and a discussion of where JS has been and what lies in its immediate future.

Software releases
* Firefox 3.6.8
* Thunderbird 3.1.1 & 3.0.6
* Processing.js 0.9.6

Upcoming events
* Aug 7, New York, Mozilla Drumbeat NYC
* Aug 14-15, Taipei, COSCUP/GNOME.Asia
* Oct 1-2 – New York City – Open Video Conference
* Oct 28-29, Toronto, FSOSS
* Nov 4-6 – Barcelona – Drumbeat Festival 2010
* Nov 5-7 – Free Society Conference and Nordic Summit (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]

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Firefox 4, Firefox Home, Firefox for Maemo, WebM, add-ons, layers, Drumbeat, bugdays, MDN, Jetpack, and more…

In this issue…

Firefox 4 beta 1 roundup
Firefox 4 beta 1 was released on July 6th, and is available for download on Mac, Windows, and Linux. There has been a lot written about this release, including notes about the release itself, new and updated features for web developers including the new “web console”, WebM support, various UI changes, the experimental “Feedback” button for the beta program, and the all new add-ons manager (including a history of the add-ons manager, and how to extend the new version). There have been dozens of major features added and improvements made, which you can read more about on the Mozilla website.

Firefox Home for iPhone
Firefox Home, a free application, is now available for download on your iPhone or iPod Touch. “Firefox Home provides access to your Firefox desktop history, bookmarks and open tabs on your iPhone. Get up and go and have exactly what you are looking for on the Web on your iPhone or iPod Touch. Firefox Home uses your browser data, securely synced from Firefox on your desktop to the cloud, to let you search and browse quickly and efficiently. You can view the sites you want directly in Firefox Home, open them in Mobile Safari or share them with friends via email. Your Firefox data is private and only you have access to it.”

Firefox for Maemo 1.1 released
The Firefox team has announced the release of Firefox for Maemo 1.1. “Our focus for this release was to improve the user experience of Firefox and to make the browser easier to use. This release builds on our 1.0 release which introduced add-ons, such as Firefox Sync and AdBlock Plus, to the mobile browser.” Other new features include: portrait mode on rotate, a new smart-tapping system, form assistant improvements, a redesigned start page, automatically updated add-ons, an improved site menu, the ability to save pages to PDF, a built in crash reporter, and more! You can read more about this release in Madhava Enros’ Field Guide to Firefox 1.1 for Maemo.

An easy way to create WebM videos
With WebM support now available in Firefox 4 beta 1, you might be looking for a way to create WebM videos, and Chris Pearce is here to help. “Because WebM is such a new format, existing video editing software doesn’t encode WebM yet, so if you want to make a WebM video, you must create it in another format and then convert it to WebM using a tool like Miro Video Converter.” The Miro Video Converter tool is freely available for download on both Windows and Mac, and can convert to other formats as well.

Add-on icon makeover contest
“The icon is an important part of any add-on, as it appears everywhere the add-on does both on (AMO) and in Firefox. Yet only half of the add-ons hosted on AMO actually provide a custom icon; the others just use the default green puzzle piece. With Firefox 4, icons will become even more important as we allow for large 128×128 pixel icons to show off an add-on’s personality. To help get add-ons ready for this new focus on icons, we’re announcing an icon makeover contest! Developers can nominate their add-ons to receive an icon makeover, and the community will vote for the five add-ons to receive new icons custom designed by our graphic artist.” More details are available in the contest announcement.

Making add-ons that people will love
Justin Scott recently presented a talk called “Making Add-ons People Will Love” at the Mozilla Add-ons Workshop in London. He has since posted his set of tips and guidelines on his weblog, including notes about building add-ons with a great user experience, tips for marketing your add-on, and some ways to communicate effectively with your users and incorporate their feedback. His post includes the full video of his 30 minute talk in Ogg format (also available through Vimeo), and his slides as PDF (with notes) and on SlideShare.

Mozilla Security bug bounty changes
The Mozilla Security Bug Bounty Program has recently undergone some changes and updates. “Mozilla launched its security bounty program in 2004 and while the original mission of protecting users by supporting security research has not changed, the security environment has changed tremendously. In recognition of these changes we are updating our security bounty program to better support constructive security research. For new bugs reported starting July 1st, 2010 we are changing the bounty payment to $3,000 US per eligible security bug. A lot has changed in the six years since the Mozilla program was announced, and we believe that one of the best ways to keep our users safe is to make it economically sustainable for security researchers to do the right thing when disclosing information.” Read more about the Bug Bounty program and these new changes on the Mozilla Security weblog.

Improvement to the new Layers system
Mozilla Gecko’s layers framework is undergoing some significant changes, the bulk of which are now part of the Firefox Minefield nightly releases. This new layer system improves Firefox performance in several areas, including fade effects, CSS transforms, and scrolling. Most importantly, retained layers lay down infrastructure that will be used in a number of other ways, benefiting D3D and GL layer implementations, as well as Fennec (Firefox on mobile devices). Read more on Robert O’Callahan’s weblog.

Drumbeat Festival update
Planning for the upcoming Drumbeat Festival (Nov 3-5, Barcelona) is underway, and Nathaniel James is looking for your help. The Festival’s theme is “Learning, Freedom, and the Web” and the team is working to create an open space where everyone who comes (up to 500 people) can be both a teacher and learner. “I have been designing our planning framework, and working with Mark and others on the team to imagine how this kind of radically open peer-learning space will work.” Head over to Nathaniel’s weblog to find out more about their plans, what questions they’re still working on, and how you can get involved.

Future of bugdays
At the Mozilla Summit that was held earlier this month, Anthony Hughes hosted a brainstorming session towards “making bugdays better”. “We need to make bugdays more accessible and productive, and give contributors more recognition. The next phase is to try out as many of the ideas and see what works.” Anthony’s post goes over several ideas about the Bugday format, communication, stakeholders, success & metrics, and what’s next.

MDN documentation priorities
The Mozilla Developer Center is being transformed and expanded into the Mozilla Developer Network, as outlined in the MDN Roadmap for 2010. Part of this includes setting better priorities for creating or improving Mozilla’s developer documentation, and it is with this that the team would like your help. “We’d like to get your input on where to focus documentation efforts on MDN. There are all kinds of topics that need to be written, updated, or improved — so where should we start? What do you need most?” You can give you input through the MDN Dev Doc Priorities forum that has been set up on UserVoice, either by voting or commenting on existing topics or by adding your own.

Two billion Firefox add-on downloads
AMO ( passed a significant milestone, having served up its two billionth add-on download. “This exciting feat was made possible by the huge community of people like you who use Firefox Add-ons as well as the thousands of developers who make the add-ons you use. To celebrate this occasion, we asked you for your favorite add-ons and created a special collection we’re calling the Best of 2 Billion Firefox Add-ons. Check it out!”

Jetpack survey report, part 3
The Mozilla Labs team has released the results from their third Jetpack developer survey, this time asking, “What Add-ons Builder APIs are most important to you?” “The feedback the community gave was quite informative. Many of our assumptions about which APIs the community wanted were confirmed, but there were quite a few APIs which ranked higher than expected.” The Mozilla Labs blog has all the details.

Software releases
* Firefox 4 beta 1
* Firefox 1.1 for Maemo
* Firefox Home for iPhone
* Firefox Sync 1.4
* SeaMonkey 2.1 alpha 2
* Instantbird 0.2
* Bugzilla API 0.6.1

Upcoming events
* Oct 1-2 – New York City – Open Video Conference
* Nov 4-6 – Barcelona – Drumbeat Festival 2010
* Nov 5-7 – Free Society Conference and Nordic Summit (FSCONS)