Sync, Panorama, audio, MDN, DevTools, popcorn, localization, Drumbeat, HSTS, Labs on Github, and more…
In this issue…
- Firefox Sync and Panorama in latest beta
- Experiments with audio, conclusion
- New Mozilla Developer Network site
- Fennec Alpha for Android and N900
- Mozilla DevTools coming out of hiding
- Popcorn project’s first public demo
- Adding new locales to Firefox 4
- Who are our Firefox 4 beta users?
- Drumbeat Festival registration open
- HTTP Strict Transport Security
- Contribute to Labs projects on Github!
- -moz-element in Firefox 4
- Software releases
- Upcoming events
- Developer calendar
- About about:mozilla
Firefox Sync and Panorama in latest beta
The most recent Firefox 4 Beta update includes two brand new features that give users greater control over their Web data and organization. Firefox Sync makes bookmarks, history, awesomebar data, passwords, form data, and open tabs accessible across multiple computers and mobile devices, including the iPhone via Firefox Home. Firefox Panorama (formerly known as Tab Candy) is a new approach to tab management that makes it easy to organize your tabs as you use the Web. “If you juggle many open tabs for work, shopping, music, social sites, vacation planning and more, you can easily group and prioritize those tabs any way you want.” Panorama gives you the ability to quickly pull up an overview of all your open tabs so you can quickly organize, locate and switch between them.
Experiments with audio, conclusion
“When we started these experiments, we did so without needing permission. I didn’t have to sign an NDA, go talk to and convince the right people, or get approvals. I just grabbed the source code and started messing around. And I did make a mess, at first. I learned as I went, and we iterated on the API a lot. We weren’t judged for doing it wrong, or for the pace or directions we took. Instead, we heard a lot of ‘this is very cool!’ and ‘have you thought about this?’. We were able to take one of the world’s premier applications (Firefox) and rework it. It’s hard to overemphasize how significant this is. We couldn’t do what we did in very many other contexts. Not one of the people who did this work is an employee of the Mozilla corporation.”
For more, including a video of the talk and demo he presented at the recent Mozilla Summit, check out David’s blog.
New Mozilla Developer Network site
“This week, Mozilla unveiled the newly redesigned Mozilla Developer Network, the latest incarnation of MDC. The website has evolved over the years and we recently decided to change the name from Mozilla Developer Center to the Mozilla Developer Network to better reflect the developer segments that make up our community and provide a better platform for engaging developers in the Mozilla mission and our plans for pushing the open Web forward.” Jay Patel has written extensively about the new MDN site, going over the new homepage, site architecture, plans to grow the community, how to submit your feedback, and the next steps for MDN.
Fennec Alpha for Android and N900
The Alpha release of the next major version of Fennec (the codename for Firefox mobile) is now available for Android and Nokia N900 users. “Fennec Alpha now creates one fluid Web experience between desktop and mobile devices by providing Firefox Sync built-in to the browser. The main focus of this release is to increase performance and responsiveness to user actions. This is being implemented using two major new technologies, ‘Electrolysis’ and ‘Layers’.” Read more about this release on the Mozilla Blog.
Mozilla DevTools coming out of hiding
Mozilla officially has a Developer Tools group again, dedicated to working on tools for both Firefox and the Open Web in general. Kevin Dangoor writes, “Now that we’re getting an idea of what the developer tools in Firefox 4 look like, the devtools team is going to be a lot more public about what we’re doing and invite the community to join in and help us make tools that make the web a better place. Keep an eye on Planet Mozilla or on dev-apps-firefox in the coming weeks to learn more about what we’re up to and where we’re going next.”
Popcorn project’s first public demo
“You may have heard that Brett Gaylor, open source cinema pioneer and director of RIP!: A remix manifesto, has officially joined the Mozilla team to help with Mozilla Drumbeat and the WebMadeMovies project. The WebMadeMovies team recently released their first demo of ‘Popcorn,’ an experimental tool aimed at turning boring old online video into dynamic ‘hypervideo’ that interacts with the rest of the web, pulling data from Google Maps, Twitter and Wikipedia right into the action.” Early reviews and feedback about the demo have been rolling in.
Adding new locales to Firefox 4
Seth Bindernagel, who helps coordinate our incredible localization efforts, writes, “The beta release cycle for Firefox 4 is a perfect time for us to add new locales. This week, we added eight more localizations, all of whom are working toward a completed version so they can be included for the upcoming final release. This new group of volunteers has endured a long wait to be included in this process, so many thanks to them for their patience and sticktoitiveness. Perhaps most noteworthy, we added five new African languages, expanding our presence to new highs on the continent. The entire batch of new locales includes Akan, Breton, Bosnian, South African English, Armenian, Luganda, Northern Sotho, and Songhay.”
Who are our Firefox 4 beta users?
Andres Garcia, one of the interns with the Mozilla Metrics team, has written about a recent study the team did related to the ongoing Firefox 4 beta. The team put together the Firefox 4 Beta Background Survey which was sent out to all Beta users through the Feedback add-on. “In all, over 30,000 people, or roughly 7% of the entire Beta user-base, were kind enough to submit their responses. Analyzing these submissions will not only help us understand the current Beta users, but also reveal which missing user groups we need to acquire to make the Beta sample more representative of the larger, general Firefox population.” Read Andres’ full post to see what the team discovered about our Firefox 4 Beta users.
Drumbeat Festival registration open
Registration for the 2010 Mozilla Drumbeat Festival is now open. “Join teachers, learners and technologists from around the world November 3 – 5 in Barcelona to teach, hack, shape and invent the future of education and the web. Imagine a teeming festival filled with different tents, each with its own unique flavor and focus and you move from tent to tent making up your own experience. The Drumbeat Festival will work just like this — with multiple spaces to teach, make and learn in a variety of different studios, labs, playgrounds and classrooms. Think Makerfaire + Hackfest + TEDtalks + Lollapalooza for open web education!”
HTTP Strict Transport Security
Sid Stamm’s work on ForceTLS, now expanded into the more robust HTTP-Strict-Transport-Security (HSTS) system, has landed in mozilla-central and will be part of Firefox 4. “Though the feature’s core functionality is there, work on HSTS is not completely finished. There are still a few tweaks I’d like to make, mainly providing a decent UI so people can add/remove HSTS state for servers themselves — but none of this is necessary to be specification compliant. As landed, HSTS is the behind-the-scenes implementation that listens to the HTTP String-Transport-Security header and follows those instructions.”
Sid’s post goes on to explain why HSTS is an important step forward for Firefox users’ security. “If Firefox knows your host is an HSTS one, it will automatically establish a secure connection to your server without even trying an insecure one. This way, if I am surfing the ‘net in my favorite cafe and a hacker is playing MITM [“man in the middle”] with paypal.com (intercepting http requests for paypal.com and then forwarding them on to the real site), either I’ll thwart the attacker by getting an encrypted connection to paypal.com immediately, or the attack will be detected by HSTS and the connection won’t work at all.”
Contribute to Labs projects on Github!
“In response to a growing number of requests from the community, we have decided to start mirroring all of the current Mozilla Labs experiments to github! Github is a very popular social coding site, who provide git hosting in addition to several tools to support collaboration, discovery, and visualization of software projects. Our hope is that by hosting projects there we’ll make it easier for more folks to find, follow, and work on Labs experiments.” For more information, see the Mozilla Labs weblog.
-moz-element in Firefox 4
Markus Stange recently implemented -moz-element, a new extension to the CSS background-image property that adds the ability to draw arbitrary elements as backgrounds. He’s posted a very detailed article about this new extension on Mozilla Hacks, which includes a whole bunch of ideas about and examples of how it can be used.
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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31 Aug 2010 deb comments off