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.
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).
I’m now ready to try something that I’ve been thinking about doing for a little while.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
31 January, 2015 § 1 Comment
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:
Bug 1108302 – Font size select list shows ellipsis instead of selected value (points = 1)
Bug 1044597 – in-content preferences: resized dialogs should not push buttons into overflow (points = 3)
Bug 1047586 – Unable to interact with In-content preferences after changing Font size (points = 5)
Big thanks to Richard Marti, Shubham Jindal, and Gijs Kruitbosch for helping to fix the previously-mentioned bugs.
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:
Thanks for the email. It was a pleasure to meet your mother on the flight.
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:
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.
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.
1 August, 2014 § 17 Comments
In case you haven’t noticed yet, Firefox Aurora contains some great speed ups when searching from the location bar. For far too long, searches that consisted of a single-word or arithmetic expressions would either result in errors or long delays before a search results page was presented.
This has all changed starting in Firefox Aurora. Take for example, a search for “867-5309”:
Previously when a single word was typed in to the location bar and Enter was pressed (or the Go button clicked), Firefox would look for a website at http://
867-5309/. After the lookup timed out, Firefox would redirect to a search for “
867-5309“. If the hyphen was removed and “
8675309” was entered, Firefox would immediately go to an error page saying that it was unable to connect to the server at
Some people may have become accustomed to placing a `?` at the beginning of the location bar to subvert this behavior. With the new Firefox Aurora, this is no longer necessary.
Now, in both of these cases Firefox will kick off the search request immediately. In the background, Firefox will look for locally-hosted sites that have a hostname matching the value that was typed in. Most people will see search results on average 5 seconds quicker!
In cases where there is a potential match, Firefox will show a notification bar asking if the locally-hosted site was the intended destination. Clicking “Yes, take me to 8675309” will navigate to the matched site and whitelist it for future.
If you’d like to proactively whitelist a site, you can go to
about:config and create a new Boolean pref with the name of `
browser.fixup.domainwhitelist.` followed by the single word that you would like whitelisted. Set the pref to true, and the search will be skipped. localhost is already whitelisted.
Firefox continues to gain speed, customizability, and security with each release. This feature will find its way to the Release population with Firefox 33. In the meantime, you can install Firefox Aurora or Firefox Nightly and begin using it today.
There are two minor cases left to fix:
27 May, 2014 § 28 Comments
Starting today, users of Firefox Nightly will see a new look to the classic context menu.
Context menus on desktop browsers have changed very little since Firefox 1.0 was introduced. Meanwhile, new devices have brought new concepts to context menus. The context menu on Firefox for Android is much more graphical, showing recognizable symbols at a glance.
Switching frequently used menuitems to their iconic forms can improve the usability of the menu, as it can make it easier to find the menuitems at a glance as well as click on. One way to visualize the difference is by performing what is known as a “squint test”. The image on the left is the old Firefox context menu, and the image on the right is the new Firefox context menu.
Looking at the squint test above, not only is it easier to see the actions of the buttons at the top, but we can also see that the new menu feels a bit leaner.
We don’t have plans to switch all menuitems over to their iconic forms, mainly because many menuitems lack a well-understood graphical metaphor. We’ll keep experimenting with our context menus, hopefully adding the ability to customize them just like the rest of Firefox.
Known issues: The context menus found in today’s Firefox Nightly are still missing a couple finishing touches that we are going to follow up with:
- The icons being used are not the right size and are lacking HiDPI versions
- The bookmark star is not shown as filled-in when the page being right-clicked on is already bookmarked
- OSX is missing the inverted icons, currently showing grey icons on a blue-hovered background
30 April, 2014 § 1 Comment
Firefox on GTK Linux now matches the look of Firefox on Windows and Mac OS X. The new Firefox brings interactions and visual designs that were present previously only on Windows and Mac OS X to Linux to provide a more familiar user experience to Firefox users regardless of platform.
Firefox on Linux now has the familiar “keyhole” design. This design is an immediately recognizable feature of Firefox, and is shown by the shape of the back button connected to the forward button and location bar.
Many brands have identifiable shapes such as the Mickey Mouse ears that Disney uses, and the curvy bottle shape of Coke. These shapes are immediately recognizable as part of their respective brands, and bringing Linux in to the mix is something that has been on the Firefox front-end team’s backlog for a while now.
I’m really happy to see the keyhole shape now present on all of our tier-1 platforms: Windows, Mac OS X, and now Linux (GTK).
Another large refinement that has been brought to Linux is new toolbar icons for buttons such as the Home, Back/Forward, and tab close buttons. The iconography of our Linux version now matches that of Windows and Mac OS X.
These changes help unify the experience of Firefox users independent of platform, while also allowing for a faster pace of development for the people working on making Firefox.
If you’re already running Firefox, it will automatically update to the latest version. If not, you can download Firefox now, always free and always open.