In this issue…
- Happy Birthday Firefox!
- Mozilla Open Data Visualization competition
- New ways you can help Firefox users
- Feedback wanted: Add-ons SDK
- New Firefox 4 beta for mobile
- Mozilla Labs introduces Lab Kits!
- A Week in the Life of a Browser v2
- Add-ons Manager design update
- Drumbeat Festival: Open Video Lab
- Changes to HTML5 video/audio load() function
- How to prototype and influence people
- Why you want a world with multiple app stores
- Software releases
- Upcoming events
- Developer calendar
- About about:mozilla
Happy Birthday Firefox!
The Mozilla community is excited to celebrate the 6th birthday of Firefox, the Web browser of choice for nearly 400 million people worldwide. “This year, to celebrate Firefox and the Mozilla community’s work promoting innovation, choice and openness on the Web, we ask for your help to showcase how people love and use Firefox in your part of the world. Just send us a postcard with your message about Firefox and your FoxCard will be featured in our Mountain View or Paris offices. You can even win Firefox goodies when you send in your FoxCard.” Check out the FoxCards page on Spread Firefox for more information.
Mozilla Open Data Visualization competition
The Mozilla Metrics Team, together with Mozilla Labs and the growing Mozilla Research Initiative, has announced their first Open Data Visualization Competition. “Using data from Mozilla’s own open data program, Test Pilot, we’d like to explore creative visual answers to the question: ‘How do people use Firefox?’ We are looking for compelling visualzations that tell detailed, meaningful yet easy-to-interpret stories about interesting user activities.” Read the announcement and official competition page for full details, and follow @moztestpilot on Twitter for news and updates.
New ways you can help Firefox users
The Firefox Support (SUMO) team has been working hard to improve how they can help Firefox users, and the Army of Awesome program has become a powerful new channel for this. In less than a month, more than 350 Firefox users have replied to over 2200 tweets from users who are having problems or need help with Firefox. The Army of Awesome page has also been improved, and a new website roadmap has been put together. If you would like to help out, head over to the Army of Awesome page to get started. The team is also looking for feedback on recent enhancements and planning, which you can do over on William’s weblog.
Feedback wanted: Add-ons SDK
The Add-ons SDK team has launched a survey for Add-on developers. “We’ve constructed a brief survey to gather feedback about your interactions with the Add-ons SDK. Specifically, we want to understand the experiences you’ve had with the APIs thus far, so be sure to choose the API for your answers that is either the most crucial to your development efforts or that you have worked with the most.” The survey is available here: Developer Survey.
New Firefox 4 beta for mobile
A new Firefox 4 beta has been made available for mobile devices. “We received a lot of great feedback on the previous beta and addressed many of the issues reported, including reduced memory usage, improved text rendering and a 60% install size reduction on Android. A few new things you’ll see in this release include a new theme, the ability to easily share links with your friends from the Site Menu and the ability to undo closing a tab. Learn more about the Firefox UI improvements from Madhava Enros, our Lead UX Designer.” For more information, please visit Stuart’s blog post, release notes, FAQ, or Support pages.
Mozilla Labs introduces Lab Kits!
“Mozilla Labs is pleased to announce an easy way for you to keep up to date with our latest experiments. With Lab Kit, Firefox will securely install add-ons that have been reviewed and approved by the Mozilla Labs team. We will make sure the contents of your Lab Kit stay fresh by automatically updating, adding or removing experiments. There is no complicated lab manual to get started. Just install Lab Kit on a Firefox 4 Beta. And that’s it; you don’t even need to restart Firefox.” More information is available on the Labs blog.
A Week in the Life of a Browser v2
The Mozilla Test Pilot team has announced a new “Week in the Life of a Browser” study. “This study is an update to the original Week in the Life of a Browser study, and adds some very important metrics, including memory usage over time and browser startup speed. The goal is to explore the general trends of browser usage over time, which can help us design a better browser. In addition to memory usage and startup speed, the study will collect data regarding session restore, browser startups/shutdowns/restarts, active/idle sessions, plugin and extension versions, age and size of profiles, private browsing time, and download and bookmark activities.” To learn more about this important study — including privacy and security issues, as well as how to take part — see the Mozilla Labs announcement.
Add-ons Manager design update
Jennifer Boriss has posted an extensive update about the Add-ons Manager redesign that is part of Firefox 4. Changes include Add-on specific notifications, global add-on notifications, hiding browser navigation widgets, downloading Add-ons within the Manager, and the Add-on installation process. Boriss’ post includes details and numerous screenshots and mockups. If you’re interested in seeing the ongoing development work on the Add-ons Manager, grab a copy of the latest Firefox nightly.
Drumbeat Festival: Open Video Lab
David Humphrey, long-time Mozillian and Seneca professor, took part in the recent Drumbeat Festival in Barcelona, working with Brett Gaylor to run the Open Video Lab. “Our goals for the Open Video Lab were simple to state, harder to guarantee: show people what you can do with HTML5 video, canvas, audio, CSS3, etc; link film people with developers with storytellers with designers with educators; and to, as Mark Surman is fond of saying, ‘help people build cool s*** using the open web.’ Thanks to the amazing people who came to the festival, we did all that and more.”
Changes to HTML5 video/audio load() function
Chris Pearce has posted about some changes that will be happening to the HTML video/audio load() function in Firefox 4. “I’ve updated the media load() implementation in Firefox 4 to match the current WHATWG media load algorithm specification. There are three main changes that web developers using media elements should be aware of. Firstly, error reporting has slightly changed. Secondly, when the load begins has changed. Lastly, the media element’s events now no longer bubble.” Chris’ blog post has a lot more detail about these changes.
How to prototype and influence people
Aza Raskin has posted a video of his “How to Prototype and Influence People” talk, in which he puts together a quick demo while explaining his priniciples of prototyping. “The hardest part of software isn’t the process of creating software, it’s changing culture and influencing organizations. One of the strongest tools we have in our repertoire in convincing others is prototyping and video: turning ideas into high-bandwidth communication artifacts. The goal of a prototype is to sketch an idea and to inspire participation: you are creating a narrative. To put it another way, the value of an idea is zero unless it can be communicated.” Watch Aza’s talk to learn how he goes about creating prototypes and communicating his ideas to others.
Why you want a world with multiple app stores
Pascal Finette has been thinking about and working on ideas related to an Open Web Application ecosystem for quite some time now, and has most recently blogged about why having multiple app stores is a good idea.
“Having a single app store makes life easy, but comes with a very high price,” he writes. In addition to the difficulties for developers related to arcane approval processes and a lack of competition, there are steep downsides for users as well. “From an end-user perspective a single store nearly always results in limited innovation — there is simply no strong economic incentive for the store operator to go out of his way to provide a great user experience for the customer. Current stores suffer from poor search functionality, lack of social discovery features, lack of pricing features…In a world where stores compete with each other, one can be confident that these problems will be solved.”
“It’s a somewhat bizarre artifact of the times we are living in, that we accept an app economy that is flawed on so many levels. We wouldn’t accept this world when buying shoes, books or our entertainment products. So let’s not accept it — let’s build something better.”
* Firefox 4 beta for mobile
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.
09 Nov 2010 deb comments off