February 2013 Firefox Desktop Work Week

5 February, 2013 § 5 Comments

Firefox Work Weeks Rock!

Firefox Work Weeks Rock!

Last week I was in Toronto, ON with the rest of the Firefox Desktop team. We met for a week and discussed a number of topics that we want to get moving in Q1 and Q2 of 2013.

On Monday we had a 2013 overview by Johnath where he gave a similar talk that he has been doing at the MozCamps around the world. This was nice for us because it is not often that we get to see how Firefox and Mozilla are talked about at these events (I was lucky enough to attend the MozCamp in Poland in 2012 though).

We also got a deep dive in to the various personas of Firefox users in a presentation given by Bill Selman. Bill talked about there being seven distinct groups that users fall into. These range from “evergreens” to “wizards”, and we talked about what features to add/remove to help these users, as well as how to go about making changes to the software so as not to adversely affect these users.

Photo by DoNotLick, and used under a CC license.

On Tuesday we did an “ideation” activity, also known as brain storming :P, where we wrote down ideas of things that we would like to change with Firefox. After writing these down on post-it notes, we then grouped them together with other like-minded ideas on the wall and named the groups. On Tuesday afternoon we paired up in small teams to try to tackle some of these issues.

I spent Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday focusing on three small projects.

On Wednesday I worked with Dão Gottwald and Felipe Gomes on a simple slow start-up feature. The feature works by keeping track of the previous 5 start-up times. If the average startup time is greater than our threshold (currently 1 minute, with plans to lower it), then we will show a notification bar at the bottom of the browser window.

With help from Matej Novak, we got some nice whimsical text for the notification bar. When the user clicks on the “Learn how to speed it up” button, they are taken to a page on SUMO that can guide them towards a faster start-up time. Not pictured in the below screenshot, but part of the feature, is a second button that says “Don’t tell me again”. Stephen Horlander created the turtle icon.

Slow to Start

On Thursday I worked with Stephen Horlander to see what parts of our user interface can have animation added to them. I wanted to work on a feature that is toggled often, thus having higher visibility. Stephen spent some time looking at transitioning the site-identity information in our location bar, and I spent some time working on adding a transition for the Find toolbar. You can follow along with my work in bug 836867.

A project that I had started a while ago but never finished was a refresh of Firefox’ in-content error pages. I got a few requests to resume that work and on Friday I unbitrotted Blair’s patch for bug 676795. That work is now awaiting Blair’s feedback and I’ll keep working on the bug when I get time.

On Friday night, I went with Paolo Amadini and Marco Bonardo to see the Johnson Report’s concert (starring the Firefox desktop team’s own Mike Conley on the guitar). The concert was at Lee’s Palace on Bloor St, and I must say that Mike and his band had an amazing performance. A funny kicker to the story is that each attendee to the show got a raffle ticket. Paolo, Marco, and I left early to catch the midnight subway back to the hotel and gave our raffle tickets to Mike’s girlfriend. We found out on Monday that she won the guitar! :-D

The Johnson Report

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§ 5 Responses to February 2013 Firefox Desktop Work Week

  • Ge3k0s says:

    Transitioning the find bar is cool, but the bar should be redesigned first. In fact Chris Lee had already made a lot on an OSX patch. Windows was also worked on at the time (summer 2012).

    • msujaws says:

      The patch that I wrote is a simple adjustment of how the Find toolbar works, not a complete redesign so it is more likely that it will land in a shorter time frame. I hope that someone will pick up Chris’ work, but I don’t have the time to do so.

  • Ken Saunders says:

    “With help from Matej Novak, we got some nice whimsical text for the notification bar. When the user clicks on the “Learn how to speed it up” button”
    Some of those are funny. I got the add-on via Asa’s blog, where is this button?
    Is it associated with the add-on or some other feature?

    • msujaws says:

      This is separate from the add-on mentioned in Asa’s blog post. This notification bar only appears if startup of the browser is determined to be slower than we would like. You can test out the feature in Nightly builds by going to about:config and tweaking the values of browser.slowStartup.*

  • [...] Jared Wein describes this new feature, “The feature works by keeping track of the previous 5 start-up times. If the [...]

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