These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 8

The first Firefox Desktop Engineering meeting for 2017 took place this morning! Here are the interesting bits:

Highlights

  • past wrote a blog post about some upcoming privacy and security features
  • ashughes has posted some very interesting GPU Process Experiment Results
    • TL;DR: A GPU process is a very good idea!
  • The Cliqz Test Pilot experiment has launched in Germany!
    • It’s available in other regions as well, but the suggestions it offers will be very Germany-centric

Contributor(s) of the Week

Project Updates

Add-ons

Content Handling Enhancement

Electrolysis (e10s)

Firefox Core Engineering

Form Autofill

Platform UI and other Platform Audibles

Privacy/Security

  • Florian reports that the new Captive Portal UI will ship in Firefox 52. Last bits of polish have just landed and are being uplifted.

Quality of Experience

Here are the raw meeting notes that were used to derive this list.

Want to help us build Firefox? Get started here!

Here’s a tool to find some mentored, good first bugs to hack on.

These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 7

The last Firefox Desktop Engineering meeting for 2016 recently occurred! Here are the relevant tidbits.

Highlights

Contributor(s) of the Week

Project Updates

Add-ons

  • andym reports that the Washington Post Trump article has been updated with the Firefox version of the add-on. This is yet another example of the WebExtensions API making it easy to ship multi-browser add-ons!

Activity Stream

Content Handling Enhancement

Electrolysis (e10s)

Firefox Core Engineering

Platform UI and other Platform Audibles

  • jjong landed Bug 1286182 – Implement the layout for <input type=date>
    • This is currently disabled behind dom.forms.datetime and dom.forms.datetime.timepicker
  • MSU students have finished up their semester – see this update on jaws’ blog, along with their excellent final video presentation
    • Bug 1300784 – Combine e10s and non-e10s <select> dropdown mechanisms
      • A blocking bug autolanded yesterday, this will hopefully land today (preffed off)
    • Bug 1309935 – Add ability to find within select dropdown when over 40 elements
      • Currently undergoing review iterations

Privacy / Security

Quality of Experience

  • Kicking off a project to update preferences UI and remove inconsistencies
    • UX team in Taipei completed user research and user testing of different organizations to get a more productive, consistent UI
    • Here’s the spec
    • There are great bugs in here for mentoring, and hacking on Firefox for the first time! Like this one! Or this one! Or this one! Or this one!
  • New theme API
    • Work will begin in Q1 to start implementing the Theme API in mozilla-central
    • Community outreach soon to communicate the planned API
    • Will schedule a couple short meetings with some Firefox front-end engineers to discuss implementation and ask for feedback on internal API
  • Onboarding 51 funnelcake
    • Work is ongoing to provide a new onboarding experience for new Firefox users as part of a funnelcake running against Firefox 51 release

Search

  • Drew posted a first draft of a patch that will allow add-ons to replace the entire AwesomeBar dropdown without having to go through XBL or XUL. This is groundwork to potentially expose this as a WebExtension API.
  • The SHIELD study for a unified URL and search bar is still ongoing. The results are expected some time in January.

Here are the raw meeting notes that were used to derive this list.

Want to help us build Firefox? Get started here!

Here’s a tool to find some mentored, good first bugs to hack on.

Upcoming Community Efforts Around Nightly

I have been speaking with several community members about Activate Mozilla, a new campaign that the Participation team has launched.

I believe there are some potential tasks around Nightly that might fit well into Activate Mozilla. To this end, several of us met back in November and hashed out some possible ideas – you can see the notes from that meeting here.

The idea is that we create an Activate Mozilla campaign around something community can work on at a meetup or hackathon, for example. During the last meeting I suggested that bug triage might be one good task. On a daily basis there are new bugs being filed in Nightly that need to be moved into the correct component, or need additional information in order to move along and be fixed. This is a area where community can really have an impact on the Firefox project.

Another area that would be interesting to explore would be to have a campaign around a new feature in Nightly. Each cycle there is feature work being done, and I think our first “proof of concept” for Activate Mozilla may be around an upcoming feature. The work on our end will be create a clear document which explains how the feature is supposed to work, and how
you would go about testing it.

Some of the challenges we may have will be training community to be able to do these tasks – and the solution to that may be a combination of some training events as well as good online documentation. When we first started the Triage Bot project it seems some of the first individuals who triaged did not read the documentation. The end result is that they started triaging bugs and not doing it correctly, which can actually be detrimental to the project. So we do need participants to do some preparation by reading documentation prior to the event, so that they are ready to go when the event happens. This is a technique I employed when I was working on the BuddyUp project, and it worked well from a preparation standpoint.

There are some additional challenges around working with contributors who are at different levels. My approach in this situation is to make sure you have enough mentors and facilitators available with the specific subject area knowledge available to answer questions at the event.

Finally, I have given some thought to ways that we might promote Nightly tasks now that we don’t have One and Done. Someone suggested we try using github. I am definitely open to other suggestions if you have them.

If you are interested in helping with this effort, please feel free to contact me at marcia at mozilla dot com. I am hoping to be able to host several small Nightly themed events (in conjunction with the l10n team) next year, so stay tuned for more information regarding these.

These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 6

Highlights

Contributor(s) of the Week

Project Updates

Add-ons

Electrolysis (e10s)

  • Turning on e10s-multi on Nightly (with 2 content processes) is blocked on Talos regressions and a few test failures. This should happen sometime soon during the Nightly 53 cycle (and hold on Nightly)

Firefox Core Engineering

  • ddurst reports that there is going to be an aggressive push to update “orphaned” Firefox installs (44-47, inclusive) between now and the end of 2016
    • “Orphaned” = not updated since 2 versions back.
    • Concerted effort to encourage people to update from 42-47 to current (50). 42-25 isn’t a huge chunk, but this is a much more aggressive push.
    • What causes orphans?
      • Some are just users being slow to update
      • Blocked by security suite. (Avast was trying to update on users’ behalf). Some are worked out with vendors, some are actual problems.
      • Some are related to network latency (bugs have been filed and fixed), but ddurst’s team just got a machine that’s not updating and not affected by latency.
    • 3.x upgrades

Form Auto-fill

Platform UI and Other Platform Audibles

Privacy / Security

  • nhnt11 has simplified the way we open captive portal tabs

Quality of Experience

  • mikedeboer reports that the demo / ideation phase for the new Theming API is nearly finished
    • An engineering plan in the making, and almost ready for feedback rounds
    • The team is looking at performance measures now (memory, new window creation, tab opening, etc)
  • dolske has some onboarding updates:
    • 51 Beta is now live with the latest automigration test/data-gathering. (No wizard on startup, migrates and gives option to undo)
    • Gijs is starting work on allowing automigration-undo even after activating Sync
    • In discussions with verdi about an updated first-run experience (nutshell: simplified, focus on new-tab page so user can quickly see familiar auto-migrated data, starting point for low-key introduction of features)
      • Fewer tabs, sign in to FxA, and then directly to about:newtab. (If you migrated from Chrome, your top sites will be there)

Search

Sync / Firefox Accounts

Here are the raw meeting notes that were used to derive this list.

Want to help us build Firefox? Get started here!

Here’s a tool to find some mentored, good first bugs to hack on.

These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 5

Highlights

Contributor(s) of the Week

Project Updates

Content Handling

Electrolysis (e10s)

  • More patches have landed which should, in theory, help with tab spinners. At the very least, they remove synchronous messages, which is good for performance in general
  • A new Telemetry probe has landed to measure how long it takes to paint an entire tab from the perspective of the content process

Firefox Core Engineering

Form Auto-fill

Platform UI and Other Platform Audibles

Privacy / Security

Quality of Experience

Search

Sync / Firefox Accounts

Storage Management

Here are the raw meeting notes that were used to derive this list.

Want to help us build Firefox? Get started here!

Here’s a tool to find some mentored, good first bugs to hack on.

Simulate slow connections with the network throttling tool

Network throttling UI

Firefox DevTools has now a network throttling tool to simulate slow connections, so you can get a rough idea of the user experience under different connection types (bug #1283453).

This is extremely important when building responsive sites, which are meant to perform well on many different devices and scenarios.

To access this tool, make sure you’re running an updated version of Nightly, then open the Responsive Design Mode tool via ToolsWeb DeveloperResponsive Design Mode. You can then select the desired simulated speed with the dropdown menu to the right of “Responsive Design Mode”, and reload the page to see the effect of the changes.

And if you want to find out what is being loaded, use this tool in combination with the Network inspector:

These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 4

The Firefox Desktop engineering team met together last Tuesday to chat about what they’re working on. Here are some juicy tidbits from that meeting:

Highlights

Contributor(s) of the Week

Project Updates

Add-ons

Content Handling

Electrolysis (e10s)

Firefox Core Engineering

Form Auto-fill

Go Faster

  • Next areas of focus are likely to be improving the system add-on roll-out facilities (tools to make publishing easier) & update times (time from publish to when a user is running with the update).
    • Restartless system add-ons likely to land soon
    • Other issues being discussed in this bug

Localization

Platform UI and Other Platform Audibles

  • daleharvey fixed a bug that was preventing GMP installation for 64-bit OS’s
  • mconley is working with Layout to make it easier to style checkbox / radio boxes
  • Simplify Page feature for Print Preview has been disabled in a few areas:
    • Only enabled on Nightly for Linux until this bug is fixed
    • Enabled on Windows up to early beta until these two bugs are fixed

Privacy / Security

Quality of Experience

Search

Video Controls

Here are the raw meeting notes that were used to derive this list.

Want to help us build Firefox? Get started here!

Here’s a tool to find some mentored, good first bugs to hack on.

These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 3

The Firefox Desktop team met yet again last Tuesday to share updates. Here are some fresh updates that we think you might find interesting:

Highlights

Contributor(s) of the Week

Project Updates

Context Graph

Electrolysis (e10s)

Platform UI

Privacy / Security

Search

Here are the raw meeting notes that were used to derive this list.

Want to help us build Firefox? Get started here!

Here’s a tool to find some mentored, good first bugs to hack on.

Better default bookmarks for Nightly

Because software defaults matter, we have just changed the default bookmarks for the Nightly channel to be more useful to power-users deeply interested in day to day progress of Firefox and potentially willing to help Mozilla improve their browser through bug and crash reports, shared telemetry data and technical feedback.

Users on the Nightly channels had the same bookmarks than users on the release channel, these bookmarks target end-users with limited technical knowledge and link to Mozilla sites providing end-user support, add-ons or propose a tour of Firefox features. Not very compelling for a tech-savvy audience that installed pre-alpha software!

As of last week, new Nightly users or existing Nightly users creating a new profile have a different set of bookmarks that are more likely to meet their interest in the technical side of Mozilla and contributing to Firefox as an alpha tester. Here is what the default bookmarks are:

New Nightly Bookmarks

There are links to this blog of course, to Planet Mozilla, to the Mozilla Developer Network, to the Nightly Testers Tools add-on, to about:crashes and to the IRC #nightly channel in case you find a bug and would like to talk to other Nightly users about it and of course a link to Bugzilla. The Firefox tour link was also replaced by a link to the contribute page on mozilla.org.

It’s a minor change to the profile data as we don’t want to make of Nightly a different product from Firefox, but I hope another small step in the direction of empowering our more technical user base to help Mozilla build the most stable and reliable browser for hundreds of millions of people!