Streamlining Web Development at Mozilla Without Sacrificing Quality

A few months ago we founded an experimental new “rapid web development” team at Mozilla. Its purpose was to take care of a growing number of short- to medium-term web projects at Mozilla. We nicknamed it the “Flux” team (for its ability to maintain a higher throughput of projects while reducing the overhead of individual projects).

The team focused on two areas in particular:

  • software lifecycle management: establishing project management guidelines and driving web software projects from idea to completion (including their eventual retirement). The team also served as stewards for externally developed projects.
  • streamlined web development: reducing the amount of nonfunctional overhead when developing Mozilla web apps, while ensuring consistently high quality standards across projects.

The experiment proved successful: Together with a number of internal and external groups, Flux successfully released more than a dozen projects of varying size around the release of Firefox 4 and Firefox 4 mobile.

But along the way it became apparent that the two focus areas mentioned above are different and challenging enough to stand on their owns, so we rearranged the group accordingly, spawning the Web Productions team (led by Ryan Snyder) and the (new) Flux Development Team (led by me, Fred Wenzel).

The web productions team will continue to run Mozilla-internal web projects, but has also branched out into fostering community-sourced projects and similar endeavors.

In the Flux Development group, I am working with a team of (so far) three excellent engineers (Dave Dash, James Long, and Anthony Ricaud) on web development for various parts of the Mozilla community.

The Flux team will be working on:

  • Evolving our development platform: compiling and maintaining reusable code (libraries) as well as engineering best practices for web projects. (One tangible artifact of this work is the playdoh application template.)
  • Software architecture and development for existing and new projects, among them:, Firefox Input.
  • Tools and services to be shared by various projects, e.g., ElasticSearch, Grouperfish text clustering, Mozilla Product Details.
  • Assisting as technical stewards with Web Productions projects.

Say hi to the new Flux and Web Producers teams!

2 responses

  1. labels wrote on :

    The flux team should develop a new “flux capacitor” 🙂

  2. Fred Wenzel wrote on :

    Good suggestion — Perhaps we should make that our “team logo” 🙂