Quick note from @moz08

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I’m going to write a longer post about the awesomeness that has been the Mozilla Summit 2008 later (so many stories to tell), but today had a special highlight. I finally got to meet himorin (aka. Shimono) after working with him on Mozilla Developer Center for a long time. I had originally thought he wasn’t able to make it to the Summit, so was absolutely thrilled when we were introduced. Himorin has been a driving force behind MDC since its inception, and it was an incredible honour to finally have a chance to meet him and to thank him face-to-face. MDC would not be the project it is today without his help and enthusiasm, particularly in the early days when we were still trying to figure out what a collaborative developer documentation resource should look like.

I’ve had a chance to meet lots of other folks as well, and have had tons of great, inspiring, and amazingly energizing conversations over the past three days. Being in a room with 400 brilliant, dedicated, passionate, and incredibly hard-working Mozillians is humbling. I am astonishingly lucky to be part of this community. So, even though there were bears, and a rockslide that blocked the road, and a power outage, and even snow in July — this has been the best Summit ever.

I haven’t blogged in a while…

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Since there seems to be a trend starting, I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and blog (about work stuff) for the first time in ages.

So what’s new? Since my departure from the Mozilla Developer Center project, it seems to be whizzing along like a well-oiled machine, producing docs and excruciatingly cute posters at top speed. Basically, the whole thing is doing just fine without me, which means either I did something very right, or I was excess baggage the whole time. I’m sure opinions vary.

While no longer working on MDC, I’ve been scrabbling around madly trying to figure out how to do my new job which involves a bewildering array of meetings, email, various documents, and a strange mix of Firefox 3 and Mozilla Labs.

Most recently, Mozilla Labs has had an extreme web makeover to jazz up its look and feel to be more unique, happier, and brighter. Hopefully it reflects the spirit of play and exploration with which we want to infuse all things related to Mozilla Labs. We have also launched the new Mozilla Labs Community Forum where everyone is welcome to participate and help drive the future of web innovation and invention. There’s also a new Labs IRC channel at #labs on the irc.mozilla.org server, so feel free to drop by and chat. A good time will be had by all.

In Firefox 3 news, the requirements document is shaping up nicely and we’re hoping to get it under a formal change request system in the near future. If you have any comments about the draft change request system (see link), feel free to comment on the Talk page, or in the dev.planning thread I just started for this very purpose.

Soon I’ll be heading to lovely Boston for the Mozilla Developer Day where apparently I’ll be chatting about Mozilla Labs. I’ve never spent any time in Boston at all (in spite of knowing a bunch of people there), so I’m looking forward to finally seeing the city. Fun times. Later, in mid-April, I’ll be heading down to Mountain View for a week of meetings and planning and etc etc. Etc.


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According to our (admittedly unreliable and incomplete) statistics, the Mozilla Developer Center‘s English wiki received its 20,000,000th page view some time in the past day or so. This means that since initially launching on March 15, 2005, that wiki has seen an average of 40,000 page views, 70 page edits, and 5 new pages added per day.

These statistics don’t include the huge amount of incredible work the localization teams have been doing, of course, and I would like to thank them (a thousand times over) for all their help and contributions. And thanks to everyone else who has ever contributed to the project in any way. Clearly none of this would be possible without you :)

Mozilla Developer Center update – 10/07/2006

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XUL Reference

The initial XUL Reference migration has been completed. We do need some help in improving this reference in several ways:

  • More examples
  • Screenshots of the various widgets (ideally taken in Windows or Mac)
  • More cross-linking within the reference and between the reference and the XUL Tutorial
  • Links out to the LXR source where appropriate
  • Improved and expanded text for any page within the reference

Sheppy will also be working on copy-editing and other improvements when he has time.

Discussion about replacing “Talk” pages

At the Mozilla all-hands meeting it was suggested that we begin exploring possible replacements for the Wiki “Talk” pages, as the existing pages are poorly suited to actual discussion as they lack threading, structure, editorial control, and any sort of guaranteed permanence. After a long discussion Brion Vibber let us know that the Mediawiki group had a Summer of Code project underway that sounds like it will do exactly what we need. You can read more about the LiquidThreads project on the Wikimedia Meta-wiki.

Suggested new feedback system

Another suggestion from the all-hands meeting is that MDC create a system that would allow users to quickly and easily send feedback from any given page of the MDC site without having to deal with Talk pages, registering on the wiki, or looking up email/list addresses. The system we’re currently planning to implement is simply a new, open mailing list with a mailto: link on each page of the wiki (either in the footer or sidebar).

Content additions and improvements


As always, the localization teams have been doing a fantastic job, with recent significant activity on the Italian, Spanish, French, Japanese, Polish, and Portuguese wikis.

If you have any questions about anything here or anything else related to the MDC, please ask on the MDC discussion list, the #devmo channel on irc.mozilla.org, or mail me directly (deb-at-mozilla-dot-com).

XUL reference progress, and a request for help

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One of the major projects I’m hoping to have more-or-less completed by the end of June is the addition of Neil Deakin’s XUL Element Reference content from XULPlanet into the MDC wiki. This project has been underway (primarily in discussion/planning phases) for the better part of a month, but we’re in the process of finalizing the final structure and formatting now.

To make the process go a lot more quickly, I could use some help in sorting the attribute, property, and method lists for each element. We will be including an alphabetical list of these on each element page, including all those that are inherited from the XUL and DOM elements. So each element needs to have three separate lists (attributes, properties, and methods) and the things inherited from the DOM element need to be marked as such (the linking for DOM items will be different than XUL).

If you could help with the creation and sorting of those lists, please find me in the #devmo channel on irc.mozilla.org. Any help would be appreciated here, because it can be a bit time consuming. Thanks!

Update: after a somewhat agonizing (and ongoing) debate over a few things, it turns out that this is largely unnecessary.  If you started working on these lists, you have my eternal gratitude, but it turns out we’re not going to need them.  Thanks!

JavaScript 2 and the Future of the Web

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Brendan Eich’s keynote presentation from this year’s XTech conference is now available at the Mozilla Developer Center: JavaScript 2 and the Future of the Web.

Other XTech presentations, including Layout Algorithm Improvements for Web User Interfaces, Microsummaries for Firefox and on the Web, SVG and Canvas: Graphics for Web Apps, and Converging Rich-Client and Web Application Development with Mozilla XULRunner are available here: XTech 2006 Presentations.

MDC problems — contributors please read

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Last night we upgraded the MDC wikis to MediaWiki 1.6.5. Unfortunately we missed something in testing and the upgrades needed to be rolled back this morning. The result is that we have, at the moment, lost whatever changes were made to the MDC wikis between ~6:30p and ~10:30a Eastern time. We will endeavour to reapply those changes, but due to possible data corruption it may not be possible in all cases.

I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused, I can assure you that we’ll be reviewing our processes to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Thanks for your patience.

Update: we’re still noticing some issues and have thus locked the database for the time being. Current rollback is at almost a full day right now, but we will hopefully preserve the majority of yesterday’s changes by the time this is sorted out.

Update 2: We’ve managed to preserve the majority of data for all languages except Japanese. There is still a chance we’ll be able to get it all back, so in the meantime we’ll be leaving the MDC wikis as “read only” (ie: no changes to the db). The logic here is that we’d rather block changes for a few hours rather than lose changes if we manage to revert to a even-more-recent backup of the databases. Again, I’m very sorry for the inconvenience. As it stands all dbs are currently rolled back to their state as of ~6:30p Eastern yesterday, except Japanese which is back to ~4:30a yesterday.

Update 3 (and final): I’ve decided that, unfortunately, we’re going to accept last night’s wiki changes as lost in the main databases. We do have a record of those changes, however, and hopefully I’ll find some kind volunteers on the MDC mailing list to help out with reimplementing those. So, any changes to the MDC wikis made between 6:30p last night and 10:30a this morning (Eastern time) are no longer in the live databases.

As of now the MDC wikis are reopen for editing. Thanks to everyone for your patience, and I’m really sorry we messed this up.

Update (really final): Thanks to Victory, all “lost” data has been restored to the EN wiki. I would also like to thank Aravind, Oremj, Polvi, Nickolay, Callek, and Shaver for all being basically awesome and helping sort out yesterday’s mess.

Help verify some bustage?

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So, I installed IE7b2 and immediately noticed that the top nav tabs at the MDC are very broken. Could someone else with IE7b2 check the site and verify that I’m not the only one seeing the problem? They work OK (not perfect, but OK) in IE6, so I’d like to figure out what the problem is.

Bonus points if you can figure out how to fix it. The (currently sort of ugly) CSS are here.



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I’m on vacation and more-or-less afk from Friday April 14 to Sunday April 23. I’ll check email sporadically when I can, but net access is going to be unreliable at best. While I’m away contact shaver or sheppy about MDC-related issues. Thanks!

Eric Shepherd: Technical writer

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I’m extremely excited to announce that Eric Shepherd has joined the Mozilla Developer Center team as a full-time technical writer.

Eric has a very solid background in programming/development as well as technical writing, making him an excellent fit for improving and expanding our developer documentation.

You can find Eric in IRC as “sheppy”.

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