Starting of my new mentoring program

16 February, 2015 § Leave a comment

Today starts the first day of the mentoring program that I announced in my previous blog post.

In good news, I was overwhelmed by the number of responses I received to the blog post. Within three days, 57 people sent me an email requesting to be a part of the program. This tells me there is a strong need for more guided programs like this. On the downside, it was very hard to select only four people from the group.

In the end, I ended up selecting five people to partake in this. They are from all over the world: India (2); Germany; and USA (2).

I have assigned the first bugs and work should proceed this week on getting a build working and finding their way through the Firefox developer ecosystem.

Firefox UI mentorship program

11 February, 2015 § 3 Comments

Update: Due to a large number of responses, I will be letting people know today, February 14th (instead of the previously mentioned February 13th).

Cheesy announcement graphic :PSince I joined Mozilla I’ve been looking for ways to increase the opportunities for new people to get started working on the Firefox user interface.

I’m now ready to try something that I’ve been thinking about doing for a little while.

I’m looking for four people that I will mentor and help along as they fix bugs across the Firefox user interface. The first bug will be an easy one to get started with the codebase and comfortable building the browser, and they will increase in difficulty from there. At the end of the program you will be able to say that you’ve made some large contributions to Firefox. We will use JavaScript, CSS, and XUL (similar to HTML).

The project will be about six weeks long, starting February 16th and ending March 31st. During this time, I will be available to meet through video chat, IRC (text-based chat), and email.

If you are interested in working with me and have at least two to three years of classroom experience in Computer Science (or equivalent open source experience), please send an email to jaws+goodfirstmentee@mozilla.com along with:

  • Your name
  • A short 1-2 sentences about any open source experience you have
  • And a rough estimate of how many hours per week you think you could dedicate towards the program.

I’ll let you know if you’ve been accepted by February 13th 14th. Thanks!

Status update – In-content Preferences, part 4

31 January, 2015 § 1 Comment

icons@2x

We are now about half-way through the normal development cycle of Firefox 38. In about 3-4 weeks, what is currently “Nightly 38″ will become “Firefox Developer Edition 38″ (previously known as Firefox Aurora). At this point, beta builds of Firefox 36 will now revert back to the old-school preferences implementation. Firefox Beta will see the in-content preferences get more testing at the beginning of the Beta 37 iteration.

These are some of the bugs that have been fixed since the last update:
Bug 1022582 – Checkboxes and radio buttons in about:preferences lack any indication they’re checked/selected when using High Contrast mode
Bug 1043346 – InContent Prefs – Dialogs should have their dimensions reset after closing
Bug 1008172 – Scrolling up and down on pages with scrollbars in about:preferences will change subgroups (the Advanced subpanes)
Bug 1012223 – in-content preferences loading slowly

I’ve gone through the remaining bugs and attached both a “point” value as well as priorities for the bugs. Point values follow the Fibonacci sequence, and should roughly approximate the difficulty of fixing the bug. Priorities range from P1 to P3.

P1 bugs are considered those that block using the feature, as well as those that are highly visible. We are tracking three P1 bugs:
top_1Bug 1108302 – Font size select list shows ellipsis instead of selected value (points = 1)
top_1Bug 1044597 – in-content preferences: resized dialogs should not push buttons into overflow (points = 3)
top_1Bug 1047586 – Unable to interact with In-content preferences after changing Font size (points = 5)

The full list of bugs can be found on Bugzilla.

Big thanks to Richard Marti, Shubham Jindal, and Gijs Kruitbosch for helping to fix the previously-mentioned bugs.

On volunteer and internship opportunities at Mozilla

29 December, 2014 § 2 Comments

About a month ago on a flight from Seattle to New York I met a lady who said that her son was studying computer science. I told her about the work that is being done at Mozilla and how we have a lot of opportunities for people who want to contribute to one of the world’s largest open source software projects.

Today I got an email from her son asking about internship opportunities. Her son is just getting started in computer science and has yet to take his introductory courses in CS. There are many people that are in his position and I believe that they can still contribute to Mozilla and gain valuable experience for their future. Below is my response to him:

Hi ____,

Thanks for the email. It was a pleasure to meet your mother on the flight.

Internships at Mozilla require a solid CS basis and will probably be too challenging to undertake before completing your introductory courses. However, that doesn’t mean that there is nothing that you can do at this point. With a basic understanding of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, there are probably a number of bugs that you could fix today within Firefox.

I would recommend that you spend time this summer, either the whole summer or a period within, as a volunteer contributor to Mozilla. Many of our interns and full-time employees contributed to Mozilla or other open source software projects before joining Mozilla. There are two major benefits for doing so: familiarity with the project and what type of work people do; and practicing the skills necessary to succeed during an internship or full-time role.

I understand that volunteering can present its own time and financial challenges as it is unpaid, but one of the benefits of volunteering is that the work can be done at your own pace and on your own schedule.

You can take a look at the following bugs if you would like to see what the type of work may look like:

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1026679

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1043257

As you contribute, more responsibilities will be given to you and you’ll feel confident working on larger tasks.

Let me know if you are interested, and I will find some bugs that are available for you to fix.

Cheers,
Jared

That offer at the end of the email is not something that people can only get by bumping in to me while traveling. If you are reading this blog post and you would like to learn how you can contribute to Mozilla, please join the #introduction channel on irc.mozilla.org and ask how you can get started. Be patient however, it may take a couple hours to get a response from someone due to timezones and busy schedules.

Status Update – In-content Preferences, part 3

10 December, 2014 § 2 Comments

icons@2x

Since the last update, bug 1022582 (checkboxes and radio buttons in about:preferences lack any indication they’re checked/selected when using High Contrast mode) has been marked ready for check-in and should be marked fixed by late tomorrow.

This marks the last of the high-contrast bugs blocking the release :)

We also have had great progress on bug 1043346 (dialogs should have their dimensions reset after closing). This bug looks ready to land after the patch gets updated.

I’m optimistic that we can get a fix in for bug 1008172 ([linux-only] scrolling up and down on pages with scrollbars in about:preferences will change subgroups) soon. I put some tips in the bug, and Richard Marti has said that he will try to take a look at it.

As for bug 1056478 (resizer of sub-dialog follows only half of the movement of mouse pointer), I’m not sure if we should keep it as a blocker. This bug reveals an underlying issue in Gecko (bug 1105906) that exists with any centered resizable element. Webkit doesn’t suffer from this issue, so it’s hopeful that we will find a solution, but I don’t know if this quirk should stop us from shipping.

The next bugs that I would like to see attention on are:
Bug 1043612: Persist the size of resizable in-content subdialogs
Bug 1044597: in-content preferences: resized dialogs should not push buttons into overflow
Bug 1044600: in-content preferences: empty dialogs after pressing backspace or the Back button

All three of these bugs are part of the subdialogs category. Thanks for the work to those contributing patches and helping test, we couldn’t do this without you! :)

The Bugs Blocking In-Content Prefs, part 2

26 November, 2014 § 1 Comment

Season's greetingsAt the beginning of November I published a blog post with the list of bugs that are blocking in-content prefs from shipping. Since that post, quite a few bugs have been fixed and we figured out an approach for fixing most of the high-contrast bugs.

As in the last post, bugs that should be easy to fix for a newcomer are highlighted in yellow.

Here is the new list of bugs that are blocking the release:

The list is now down to 16 bugs (from 20). In the meantime, the following bugs have been fixed:

  • Bug 1022578: Can’t tell what category is selected in about:preferences when using High Contrast mode
  • Bug 1022579: Help buttons in about:preferences have no icon when using High Contrast mode
  • Bug 1012410: Can’t close in-content cookie exceptions dialog
  • Bug 1089812: Implement updated In-content pref secondary dialogs

Big thanks goes out to Richard Marti and Tim Nguyen for fixing the above mentioned bugs as well as their continued focus on helping to bring the In-Content Preferences to to the Beta and Release channels.

The Bugs Blocking In-Content Prefs

6 November, 2014 § Leave a comment

Paper Firefox!If you’ve been following my blog, you know that there has been a long on-going project to rewrite Firefox’ preferences and move them to a page within the browser.

Work has continued on that front, but it has been moving at a slow pace. Today, representatives from engineering, user experience, and project management met together to form the remaining list of bugs that are blocking us from shipping in-content preferences to the Release channel.

In total, we have 20 bugs blocking the release. There are five different categories that the bugs fit in. Bugs that should be easy to pick up and finish for a new-comer are highlighted.

If you’d like to work on one of the above bugs, please click on the bug and read the details. If you have any questions, please post the question in the bug and someone will get back to you. Thanks!

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