Webdev Extravaganza – August 2014

Once a month, web developers from across Mozilla gather to summon cyber phantoms and techno-ghouls in order to learn their secrets. It’s also a good opportunity for us to talk about what we’ve shipped, share what libraries we’re working on, meet newcomers, and just chill. It’s the Webdev Extravaganza! Despite the danger of being possessed, the meeting is open to the public; you should stop by!

You can check out the wiki page that we use to organize the meeting, check out the Air Mozilla recording, or amuse yourself with the wild ramblings that constitute the meeting notes. Or, even better, read on for a more PG-13 account of the meeting.

Shipping Celebration

The shipping celebration is for anything we finished and deployed in the past month, whether it be a brand new site, an upgrade to an existing one, or even a release of a library.

Peep 1.3 is out!

There’s a new release of ErikRose‘s peep out! Peep is essentially pip, which installs Python packages, but with the ability to check downloaded packages against cryptographic hashes to ensure you’re receiving the same code each time you install. The latest version now passes through most arguments for pip install, supports Python 3.4, and installs a secondary script tied to the active Python version.

Open-source Citizenship

Here we talk about libraries we’re maintaining and what, if anything, we need help with for them.


pmac and peterbe, with feedback from the rest of Mozilla Webdev, have created contribute.json, a JSON schema for open-source project contribution data. The idea is to make contribute.json available at the root of every Mozilla site to make it easier for potential contributors and for third-party services to find details on how to contribute to that site. The schema is still a proposal, and feedback or suggestions are very welcome!

New Hires / Interns / Volunteers / Contributors

Here we introduce any newcomers to the Webdev group, including new employees, interns, volunteers, or any other form of contributor.

Name IRC Nick Project
John Whitlock jwhitlock Web Platform Compatibility API
Mark Lavin mlavin Mobile Partners


The Roundtable is the home for discussions that don’t fit anywhere else.

How do you feel about Playdoh?

peterbe brought up the question of what to do about Playdoh, Mozilla’s Django-based project template for new sites. Many sites that used to be based on Playdoh are removing the components that tie them to the semi-out-of-date library, such as depending on playdoh-lib for library updates. The general conclusion was that many people want Playdoh to be rewritten or updated to address long-standing issues, such as:

  • Libraries are currently either installed in the repo or included via git submodules. A requirements.txt-based approach would be easier for users.
  • Many libraries included with Playdoh were made to implement features that Django has since included, making them redundant.
  • Django now supports project templates, making the current install method of using funfactory to clone Playdoh obsolete.

pmac has taken responsibility as a peer on the Playdoh module to spend some time extracting improvements from Bedrock into Playdoh.

Helping contributors via Cloud9

jgmize shared his experience making Bedrock run on the Cloud9 platform. The goal is to make it easy for contributors to spin up an instance of Bedrock using a free Cloud9 account, allowing them to edit and submit pull requests without having to go through the complex setup instructions for the site. jgmize has been dogfooding using Cloud9 as his main development environment for a few weeks and has had positive results using it.

If you’re interested in this approach, check out Cloud9 or ask jgmize for more information.

Unfortunately, we were unable to learn any mystic secrets from the ghosts that we were able to summon, but hey: there’s always next month!

If you’re interested in web development at Mozilla, or want to attend next month’s Extravaganza, subscribe to the dev-webdev@lists.mozilla.org mailing list to be notified of the next meeting, and maybe send a message introducing yourself. We’d love to meet you!

See you next month!

2 responses

  1. clouserw wrote on :

    Thanks for the notes. I’m happy to see playdoh getting some love.

  2. Jerry Mathew wrote on :

    Hi, Thank you for the great information