Author Archive

State of Mozilla, Processing.js, Jetpack, Mozmill, games, Input 2.0, Prospector, SUMO, and more…

In this issue…

State of Mozilla
Last week, Mozilla released our annual report and 2009 financial statements. “This is the perfect time to look at the state of the Mozilla mission, our successes, our opportunities and our challenges. This year we’re trying a different format to better reflect the scope of Mozilla and to make better use of video and visual information.” Full details are available on the new annual report website.

Processing.js 1.0 released
“I’m pleased and excited to announce that we just released Processing.js 1.0, and with it, a major update to the web site. I wrote recently about the work to get here, so I won’t do it again now,” writes David Humphrey. “I will take a minute to say that Processing.js is a fantastic tool for Processing and Web Developers alike, and whether you know one, both, or neither, we encourage you to take a look. We’ve added some helpful learning and reference material, and quick start guides for Processing developers and JavaScript developers.”

John Lilly’s talk at the House of Commons
John Lilly recently traveled to London as part of the “Silicon Valley Comes to the UK” event, organized by Sherri Coutou and Reid Hoffman. “Yesterday we were invited to the House of Commons here in London, and after a short speech by the Speaker of the House of Commons, 5 of us participated in a panel on the impact of digital technology on the future of democracies. Each of us started by giving a 5 minute ‘provocation’ to consider, then we ran it as a more traditional panel.”

John has posted his provocation on his weblog. “So what’s the future utopia that’s possible with digital technology? Ideally what we get — what we create — is a system where citizens are engaged, where they feel valued and connected to their governments and each other. Where our leaders are accountable — and desire to be accountable. It’s a future where it’s just as easy to help your neighbourhood as it is to help your country or your planet.”

Upcoming changes to the Jetpack Widget API
Dietrich Ayala has announced some changes that are coming to the Jetpack Widget API with the 0.10 SDK release. “Both sets of changes have made the API more compact, reducing the amount of code required to build widgets. The Electrolysis (e10s) changes are in preparation for moving Jetpack code out of the main Firefox process. They also make the widget API significantly more powerful, combining the current widget functionality with content scripts. The e10s changes have affected the API to a significant degree; your widgets will certainly require more than just cosmetic changes.” For more details, see the updated widget API documentation.

Open data competition is open!
Mozilla Labs and the Mozilla Metrics team recently announced the first Open Data Visualization Competition, and the data for that competition is now available. “These data sets come from Mozilla’s own open data program, Test Pilot. Test Pilot is a user research platform that collects structured user data through Firefox. Currently, over 1 million Firefox users from all over the world participate in Test Pilot studies, which aim to explore how people use their web browser and the Internet in general.” The submission deadline for the competition has also been extended by two weeks, from Dec. 5 to Dec. 17th. Visit the official competition page for more information about the competition, including dates, judges, and prizes.

Mozmill Test Day: Friday
This Friday, the QA Test Automation team is holding a test day dedicated to Mozmill test automation. “Even with the U.S. holiday in mind, we think having a test day during this Friday can become a great success, because we have the best community available which is located around the whole world. This time we want to focus on a couple of different areas, which will give attendees the freedom to choose between areas they would like to work on. Starting from test execution with the Mozmill add-on, over examining and improving the documentation, to helping us fix broken tests or creating local test data files — everything will be covered that day.” If you are interested in helping out with this project, check out Henrik’s blog post over on QMO to find out how you can participate.

Creating an HTML5 Game
Robby Ingebretsen, user experience designer and developer at Pixel Lab, has written a guest post for the Mozilla Labs weblog outlining his team’s experience in designing and building Agent 008 Ball, an HTML5 pool game. “In addition to being a fun design challenge, 008 Ball brought plenty of technical challenges. It forced us to do some thinking about HTML5 and the future of UI technologies. The truth is that a lot of 008 Ball is really just modern browser awesomeness: jQuery and a cool JavaScript physics engine.” Robby’s full post, and a video outlining the design process for Agent 008 Ball, is available over in the Lab.

100 million Adblock Plus downloads
“We’re very happy to celebrate a huge milestone,” writes Justin Scott of the AMO team. “Adblock Plus became the first browser add-on to be downloaded 100 million times! Customization has always been one of the best features of Firefox, and 100 million downloads of a single add-on combined with 2.2 billion add-on downloads overall shows just how important that extensibility is to our users. Many developers dream of creating software that has worldwide impact and affects millions of people, so it’s thrilling for us to provide a platform where this kind of success is possible. Congratulations to Wladimir Palant and the Adblock Plus community!”

Input 2.0: quest for a smarter dashboard
Firefox 4 betas include a “Feedback” button that allows users to quickly and easily send their opinions and ideas about the beta to Mozilla. The system that receives and deals with all of this data lives at, and includes over 700,000 pieces of feedback. A new version of was recently unveiled, offering a time-based line graph, getting rid of the 1000-max-match limit, including data from older versions, and more.

Prospector: analyze your search behavior
Labs has launched another new Prospector-related experiment. “With Prospector, we are interested in improving searches in the browser including those searches that you make through websites. To better understand how people do various types of searches, we have put together a new experiment to help you report back with your findings. This experiment is a little different than our previous experiments. It is more of a study where you can take a look at your own data and come up with your own ideas of how searches can be improved.” Read more about Prospector and download the new add-on at the Mozilla Labs weblog.

Localizers: SUMO changes are coming
Kadir Topal has written an article about upcoming SUMO changes that all localizers should read. “At SUMO we’re taking a huge step forward by finally switching to our all-new Knowledge Base. Most of the work is done and we had an awesome test day. We’re currently fixing the last few bugs before the release on November 30th. A new KB means that we have a lot of new strings in the UI — more than 2000 words in all. You can find the new strings in Verbatim, our new tool for all UI localization. It’s a lot of words, but fear not: up to 50% of the strings were ported over, so if you’ve localized those in the past you don’t have to do it again. When we moved them we marked them as fuzzy, so you can decide for yourself if you want to accept them or change them. We need your help, so please start localizing those strings so your locale is ready for the release on the 30th!”

Community interviews: Tom Ellins (TMZ)
“At Mozilla we have an amazingly strong community that really makes up the core of the project. However, the incredible work of our core contributors is often not visible to the rest of our community. At SUMO we want to change that. Inspired by Matthew Helmke’s great interview series, we started to interview different members of our SUMO community to give you a glimpse into their life and work. In this installment we will hear from Tom Ellins, also known as tmz on IRC. Tom is a long time contributor, helping countless Firefox users in live chat sessions.” Read more about Tom’s contributions to Mozilla, and the impact his involvement has had on his life, at the Firefox Support Blog.

Notes from Thailand
William Quiviger, a long-time Mozillian and incredible community organizer, has written about his recent experiences in traveling to Thailand and working with some of the Mozilla contributors there. “Yesterday, I got an email from Wichai ‘Cheng’ Termwuttipreecha, a lead Mozilla contributor from Thailand and based in Bangkok, informing me that the Thai localization crew had just about finished localizing Firefox 4. This is awesome news. I want to stress this not only because it’s an important milestone — only a few weeks ago, localization efforts were lagging behind and it looked far from certain that Fx 4 would be shipping in Thai — but because it comes after some very productive and insightful team-building meetups I was fortunate to help lead during my week in Bangkok.”

Labs Game Night in London
Mozilla Labs Gaming is hosting a Labs Night Open Web Gaming Special in London, together with Six to Start. This Labs night will be all about games being developed and played on the Open Web — expect lots of cool demos, talks and interesting people to hang out with. You can register for the event on its Eventbrite page. Read more at the Moz Labs blog.

Software releases
* Rainbow 0.2

Upcoming events
* Dec 4, Online, International Open Data Hackathon
* Dec 6, London, Mozilla Labs Night
* Dec 15, Sunnyvale, Bugzilla Users & Administrators Group meeting
* Dec 17, Open Data competition deadline
* Jan 11, Game On! competition deadline
* April 9-10, Bulgaria Web Summit 2011

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]

You can also subscribe to the email version!


HTML5 forms, OpenType, F1, NTT mobile, Game On, hardware acceleration, Personas, Thunderbird, and more…

In this issue…

Firefox 4 & HTML5 forms
Firefox 4 will ship with better support for HTML5 forms, and the most recent beta includes a set of new features including more inputs, new attributes, decoupled forms, and different validation mechanisms. Anthony Ricaud goes over these in a new post on the Mozilla Hacks weblog, in which he also credits Mounir Lamouri with much of the work that has been done.

OpenType font feature support
“The OpenType format has long provided font designers ways of including a rich set of variations in their fonts, from ligatures and swashes to small caps and tabular figures. The OpenType specification describes these features, identifying each with a unique feature tag but they have typically only been available to those using professional publishing applications such as Adobe InDesign. Included among the many new features in Firefox 4 is the next step, support for controlling OpenType font features directly via CSS. The -moz-font-feature-settings CSS property permits control over kerning, ligatures, alternates, real small caps and stylistic sets to name just a few.” John Daggett’s post includes more detail about this new feature, and some really fun examples of how it works.

Mozilla F1: sharing on the Web
Mozilla Messaging and Mozilla Labs have announced a new experimental service called “Mozilla F1”. “F1 is a browser extension that allows you to share links in a fast and fun way. Share links from within the browser, from any webpage, using the same services you already know and love.” F1 currently supports sharing through Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail. You can read more about F1 in the original release announcement, the F1 homepage, or James Burke’s post about the F1 source (including where to get it!)

Nightly tester tools for mobile Firefox
Aakash Desai has created and released a Nightly Tester Tools add-on for Firefox mobile. “I re-used a bunch of the NTT code (as well as mbrubeck’s Quit Fennec add-on) and mixed it with the UI of the current Beta Tester Tools Add-on. The source code is available in a GitHub repo too.” First version features include: quit Fennec, copy build ID to clipboard, copy a list of installed extensions on your profile to clipboard, force add-ons compatibility, and enable the error console. “There’s more coming, but feel free to comment in this blogpost with new ideas or features you’d like.”

Hardware acceleration in Firefox 4
Joe Drew has written a couple of blog posts about the new enhanced support for hardware acceleration on Windows and Mac OS X that is available in the latest Firefox 4 betas. You can help test the new Direct2D improvements (Windows Vista and Windows 7) and hardware accelerated compositing (both Windows and Mac) by using Firefox 4 beta as your everyday browser and telling us about your experience using the Firefox Feedback button or by filing a bug. Read more about how you can help (and how you can tell if you’re using hardware acceleration) on Joe’s blog.

Game On contest deadline: 2 months!
“We’re just 61 days away from the Game On submission deadline and we hope you’re having fun building your games on open Web technologies. For those who are still thinking about what to make or are in the process of building, we’ve pulled together some helpful resources: Creating an HTML5 Game; Massive Fun Building; Sound, Demo Code, and Web GL; Docs, Frameworks & Libraries. We will continue to share helpful tips, tricks, and tutorials on this blog and on our Game On Resources Page throughout the competition.”

Design Jam London
Design Jams are one-day design sessions during which people team up to solve User Experience challenges. Similar to developer “hackdays,” they aim to get designers together to learn and collaborate with one another while working on solving real-world problems. On Nov 20th, the First Design Jam London will be held at City University London within its Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design. This event is a cooperative effort between City University London and Mozilla Labs and anyone is welcome to take part. Read more about this event on the Mozilla Labs weblog.

Personas Test Day: this Friday!
This Friday, Mozilla’s QA team is hosting a test day for Personas in Firefox 4. “Time to explore all of your favorite Personas, and make sure they mesh well with the latest Firefox beta (or nightly)! Firefox 4 has had some UI changes such as Tabs on Top, the new Add-ons Manager, etc. We will have moderators and community members available to help test and answer questions.”

We could really use your help making sure that Personas are working well in Firefox 4, even if you can only spare a few minutes. You can take part by joining the #testday channel on on Friday between 9am to 5pm Pacific time. There’s also an etherpad document we’ll be using throughout testing, and you’re welcome to add your ideas about we could or should be testing for on Friday. Please try to find a few minutes to stop by and give us a hand!

Open Data Visualization contest
“Mozilla Labs is back with an all new Design Challenge! We’re calling on all data visualization wizards to participate and help the Test Pilot & Mozilla Metrics teams create visual answers to the question: ‘How do people use Firefox?'” Desigan Chinniah’s recent post to the Labs weblog includes all the information and links you need to get started, including to where the data will be released tomorrow (Nov 17th).

Thunderbird testers needed
The Thunderbird team is hard at work getting the first alpha version of Thunderbird 3.3 ready to go, and they could use your help. “In the course of the next two weeks we should build Thunderbird 3.3a1. I’m looking for volunteers to participate in our distributed testing effort. The distributed testing effort is built in order for you to have a focus area of testing — so it doesn’t take you too long to complete. By summing each and everyone’s pieces of work we end up with a complete coverage of our tests and a good idea of the quality of the build.” Ludovic Hirlimann’s blog post contains all the information you need to get involved.

Software releases
* Bugzilla API 0.8
* RequireJS 0.15.0

Upcoming events
* Nov 19, Online, Personas Test Day
* Nov 20, London, Design Jam
* Dec 4, Online, International Open Data Hackathon
* Dec 5, Open Data competition deadline
* Dec 15, Sunnyvale, Bugzilla Users & Administrators Group meeting
* Jan 11, Game On! competition deadline
* April 9-10, Bulgaria Web Summit 2011

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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