Talos for Mobile – The System Works!

Talos is the Mozilla performance testing system. Talos runs in conjunction with our continuous build system (Tinderbox). After every build completes, it is sent off to Talos for performance testing. Mobile has continuous builds for Maemo and Windows Mobile (not sure what’s up with mobile-wince-arm-dep-191). Recently, Talos was setup for the Maemo builds. We are collecting data for a few metrics. Tp3 (pageload time) is notably missing. Aki has it working on the staging server, so it should be available soon.

It’s pretty nice to see improvements like this one. However, we primarily monitor performance data for regressions (slow-downs). It didn’t take long before we found our first performance regression. One of our check-ins caused Ts (startup time) to increase about 350ms. We really want the check-in to stick, since it fixes some nasty focus bugs. We will probably need to rework the code a little to recover the Ts speed.

Thank you, Talos!

WordPress Turbo using Firefox Native Offline Cache

WordPress has had a Turbo feature for a while now. The feature uses Google Gears to store many of the Admin Dashboard resources (images, CSS, etc.) locally on the client machine. This improves overall performance and responsiveness of WordPress.

If you read the technical details on how Gears is being used, you’ll see that no fancy SQL or Worker Threads are needed to make this work. Only the offline cache is needed. Firefox 3.1 is shipping with the necessary HTML5 Application Cache support to implement the same feature natively – no Gears plugin needed.

In fact, a native approach means the “Turbo” link isn’t even needed – it just works. Better yet, the long list of instructions for downloading and installing Gears is completely avoided.

It. Just. Works.

Hopefully, the WordPress bug to add support for HTML5 Application Cache lands soon.

Fennec with tel: Support on Windows Mobile

Nino D’Aversa, a student at Seneca College, has been working on some Fennec Windows Mobile features. His latest blog post shows the progress he has made on Bug 465664, adding tel: link support. That’s right, click a tel: link and the dialer opens to make the call.

Nino has been doing a great job. He decided he wanted to start hacking on Fennec for his course projects (Yay Seneca!). His next goal is adding a Geolocation implementation to Fennec via Windows Mobile GPS support.

Fennec + CrunchPad?

TechCrunch has an ongoing project to design a “dead simple and dirt cheap touch screen web tablet to surf the web.” The latest version, Prototype B, looks pretty nice.

The device is currently running Ubuntu and has a Webkit-based browser. Arrington originally wanted Firefox to run on the tablet. I’d be interested to see how Fennec works on the tablet. Fennec is designed to work well on mobile-class processors with tighter memory requirements. Fennec is also designed for touchscreens and supports the same add-ons mechanism as Firefox. Since Fennec is built on XULRunner, other XUL-based apps (Songbird, Chatzilla) get a free runtime.

Anyone with a Prototype B can test out Fennec Alpha 2 for Linux Desktop.

Unofficial XULRunner 1.9.1 Builds

It’s taking a while to get nightly XULRunner 1.9.1 builds available. At this point, I’d like to have nightly XULRunner 1.9.2 builds available too. In order to help anyone that really wants to start building against XULRunner 1.9.1, I made some unofficial runtime and SDK builds.

These are unofficial (I’ve mentioned that three times) and may not be configured exactly the same as official builds. I was not able to get the Mac Universal build working. I was not able to package a Mac runtime. Macs hate me.

If you’re an extension, XUL app or plugin developer, these builds should help you move ahead with your Firefox 3.1 (Mozilla 1.9.1) development. If you find a drastic problem with the builds, please let me know (comments/email).

7 Things

Steven Lau tagged me with the 7 things meme. He feels I don’t blog about myself enough and that is probably true. But then, who in their right mind wants to know about me? Benjamin thinks it’s important for people to know I’m not so one dimensional 🙂

The Rules

  • Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged.

The Things

  1. I wanted to build spaceships when I grew up. I have Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering degrees to prove it. But alas, the Wall came down and defense contracts dried up. So I started looking for work using my hobby skills.
  2. I worked at Enron. Yes, that Enron. It was an amazing journey through Corporate America and I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. Of course, I knew they were selling lies and my 401k was safe. The stories I could tell…
  3. I worked on a project that used MSHTML (embedded IE) very heavily. We did some amazing things using MSHTML. Much of this blog (pre-2007) was about the subject.
  4. I married my wife in Las Vegas at the Little Church of the West.
  5. I always wanted to learn to play guitar. Now I have RockBand
  6. I am jealous of people who are multi-lingual.
  7. I never ate many fruits or vegetables, but I now find myself forced to set a good example for my two daughters.


Here I will break the rules. I was only doing this for the extra dimensions. I finally get to use the “Personal” tag!