Fennec – M7

Fennec (Mobile Firefox) has reached milestone 7 (M7) and can be installed to a Nokia N8x0 for testing. We got some good feedback (and bug reports) from M6, so there are more than a few bug fixes in M7. Other additions include better add-on support, initial kinetic scrolling, modeless password manager, and some zooming tweaks.

There are a few people looking at ways to get better performance out of the Mozilla stack on ARM (and Maemo). We have some patches coming together, so look for some speedups in the next milestone. Also in the next milestone, look for more UI (designs here and here).

Please take Fennec M7 for a spin and file some bugs.

Install instructions
M7 Readme

Toronto MozCamp – Workshops

Planning for the Toronto MozCamp continues. We decided to use the second day as a “Hands-on Workshop” day. The workshop will be split between development and testing tracks, choose the topic that interests you.

I’ll be working in the development workshop with other Mozilla developers, helping you work on tutorials or projects. We’ll have some tutorial XUL applications, extensions, and XPCOM components for people to hack on. Make sure you bring a laptop, if you want to work on the projects. If you want to build Firefox, XULRunner or binary XPCOM components – make sure your laptop is capable of building Mozilla. (check the prerequisites!)

The testing workshop will be covering topics on Mozilla testing processes, how we write unit tests, and how we automate testing of the Firefox UI (to name a few). Clint Talbert has more information on the testing workshop.

A bit of an event summary:

  • It’s a 2-day event, September 15th and 16th at Seneca @ York
  • It’s free to attend
  • Session topics range from an overview of Mozilla technology to details on application, extension and web development – Day 1
  • There will be hands-on workshops – Day 2
  • Talk to other developers using Mozilla technology in their projects

Remember to sign up!

Toronto MozCamp

We are planning a developer event in Toronto for mid September. It will be a bit more formal than our previous Developer Days. It’s really more of a MozCamp than a Developer Day, but whatever. The plan is to create a schedule full of sessions covering Mozilla technology.

If you have never used Mozilla technology or just want to learn more about the different parts of the platform, this event is for you. Some of the things you can expect to be covered:

  • What’s the overall structure of Mozilla’s platform?
  • How can you build XUL-based applications or extensions?
  • What’s the newest Web technologies appearing in Mozilla applications?
  • How can you embed Gecko into a native application?
  • Learn about how Mozilla handles localization, testing and cross platform issues (including mobile platforms)

Seneca College has graciously offered to host the event. We currently don’t have a fixed schedule. We could be making 2 session tracks. We might also be running the event for 2 days. If you’re interested in coming, sign up so we can get an idea of the turn out. Post suggestions for sessions as well. If you can’t make it to Toronto, where should we go next?

Fennec – M6

Fennec (Mobile Firefox) has reached milestone 6 (M6) last week and can be installed to a Nokia N8x0 for testing. Remember, we haven’t reach alpha yet, but we are getting close. M6 adds “tabs” to the browser UI, adds tel: and mailto: support and makes some much needed stability improvements.

We are adding more UI for M7 (August 19th) and are doing additional performance and stability work. Feel free to give Fennec M6 a try and please file bugs. Use bugzilla and the “Fennec” product category.

Install instructions
M6 Readme

XULRunner Session – Summit 2008

We had a XULRunner Roadmap session at the Firefox Summit this year. Since the summit was limited to mainly Firefox community, I didn’t know how well a XULRunner session would be attended. However, the room was pretty full and we had a fair amount of XULRunner and Gecko embedding people in attendance.

I wanted to talk about what had been happening with XULRunner recently and what new things we could do in the short-term future (slides here). After a rocky start (XULRunner can be a touchy subject – let’s leave it at that), I think we ended up with some good action items:

  • Look into creating a XULRunner incubator repository: Many patches related to XULRunner, and the platform in general, could be risky to other Mozilla products. Getting patches landed in a tree, unit tested and checked for performance regressions would be helpful in getting them landed on the real tree.
  • Patch gardening: We have seen patches submitted by contributors not land quickly (for a variety of reasons) and then are forgotten when another opportunity opens. We need a way to find those patches without needing to clone Reed Loden.
  • XULRunner security fix lifecycle: Firefox releases get security fixes until Mozilla decides to end-of-life a release. Some applications could stay on XULRunner longer than the corresponding Firefox release lifecycle, exposing the applications to security holes. Obviously, the quick answer here is for XULRunner applications to keep current.
  • XULRunner localization: More specifically, language packs for the platform that could be shipped with XULRunner releases. This is an issue for Fennec too, so we might be able to get some good traction.
  • Improved documentation: Some form of printed (or PDF) documentation and a complete doxygen-like reference list.
  • Improved tool support: Some form of integration with existing IDEs to support Mozilla projects. Yes, Komodo has good support for this, but not everyone uses Komodo. Also, a simple command line scaffold generator, like that found in Rails, would be helpful for beginners.

There is already work underway in a few of these areas. If you want to find out more and start contributing, let me know. If you have more ideas, leave a comment. I’m looking for small, focused achievable ideas. I don’t want to boil the ocean.

Summit 2008 Wrap-up

What a summit! Danger, drama and lots of Mozillians. The summit was really a full blown conference. I heard there were around 400 attendees. There were 3 days packed with sessions and breakouts. I had a blast talking to people I usually only ever interact with on IRC.

Surprisingly, I somehow ended up with a sizable to-do list as well:

  • Work with MozDev group on FizzyPop
  • Talk to a few people about an upcoming DevDay in Toronto
  • Work with AMO on an a11y tool for AMO editors
  • Talk to jresig about a possible jQuery for XUL idea
  • Look into an incubator Hg repository for XULRunner
  • More Prism work related to Maemo and Fennec

I’m sure I forgot an item or two. I barely had time to sit down and write notes. There was literally always something I could have been doing. Either a session I wanted to see or some brainstorming that could be done.

One of the things that impressed me was the fact that the bears, rock slide and power outage didn’t effect vibe. People took the problems in stride and went on with the business of the summit. The long bus ride and crazy flights didn’t dampen anyone spirits either. Everyone seemed upbeat.

Big thanks to Dan Portillo and crew for making the summit possible and for keeping it moving in the face of some pretty big obstacles.

I’d love for Mozilla to stage an event for the entire platform in the future. If the Firefox summit is any indication, a platform event would have massive attendance. That said, the Firefox summit has it’s place and wouldn’t be replaced by a platform event.