Sep 302008

It turns out that MindTouch Deki already has RSS feeds for each language, there’s just no UI exposed to get at them.  I’ve added links to these feeds to the Localizing MDC page.  This should be a big help for all our localizers!  MindTouch will be adding UI for getting at these feeds in their next release, Lyons, coming later this year.

I continue to work with MindTouch to ensure that as many of our needs are addressed as possible as soon as possible.  Despite the bumpiness of our transition, I’m mostly pleased with it, and am quite sure everyone will be very happy once we get through the next release of Deki, which is going to address the vast majority of our most common issues.

 Posted by at 5:44 PM
Sep 302008

This week I’m working furiously on Firefox 3.1 documentation, with the intent of having as much of it done as possible by the time Firefox 3.1 beta 1 is delivered.

I’ve just finished documenting the Selectors API; see document.querySelector(), document.querySelectorAll(), element.querySelector(), and element.querySelectorAll().

Other stuff has been done as well; I’ve gotten a lot done on the CSS documentation updates the last day or so.

 Posted by at 2:26 PM
Sep 212008

For some reason, I’m awake painfully early this morning, so I figured I’d blog a bit about our first day of vacation.  We arrived at the beach house we’re renting around 4 PM yesterday.  Interestingly, we found out that due to an air conditioning problem in the original cottage we were going to be in, we got moved to the beachfront unit!  Our patio opens right out onto the beach.  Sweet!

We took Sophie down to the beach shortly before sunset.  Sarah figured she’d play in the sand a bit and that would be it, but I suggested we put Sophie in her bathing suit anyway just in case.  Good thing, too — she was quite adamant that she go into the water.  So she and I waded around in the surf for a while, me clinging to her hand to make sure it didn’t knock her over.

We’ll go back down this morning and bring her life vest along so she can have a little more fun.  We’ll also bring some toys so she can really get into playing in the sand.

This assumes the weather clears up.  Right now it’s a little cold and foggy out.

Sarah has some friends here in Florida; one of them is coming by to visit with her daughter (I think) this evening.

My primary goal for this vacation remains to do as little as I can get away with.

 Posted by at 7:28 AM
Sep 182008

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been swapping emails with a couple folks at MindTouch about what to expect in the next release of Deki, and things are looking quite promising.  I’ve updated my “MindTouch Deki bug priorities” page with some information based on those discussions, indicating which items on the list are most likely to get resolved.

For your my entertainment, I’ll repeat myself and touch on some of them here.

The diff tool will be improved, although the extent to which it’s done is uncertain yet.  However, there will be a link to the diffs on the recent changes page, and the RSS feed of “what’s new” will only show the parts of articles that have changed instead of including the entire thing.  Whew!

There will also be per-language RSS feeds for what’s new, which will take a load off everyone’s feed reader.

Support will be added for adding edit summaries when committing changes.  In addition, users will be able to configure whether or not they want search terms to be highlighted on search result pages.

There are a ton of other things that are coming as well, including some interesting new features that, if they work out the way they’re being planned, may really shape up to be extremely useful for us.  Time will tell.

 Posted by at 5:47 PM
Sep 182008

Tonight we’ll be upgrading the Mozilla Developer Center web site to the latest version of MindTouch Deki: the 8.08 (Kilen Woods) release.  The version we’re running currently is a waypoint in between the 8.05 release and the 8.08 release, so it will be nice to be on a production version.

Among other things, this will get us improved PDF printing support and fixes a few bugs, including a few minor security issues.  Some of the changes listed are things we already have (such as using FCKeditor by default).

After the upgrade, there may be some configuration changes made.  We’ll see how things go on that front.  I have filed a ticket with IT to disable the search term highlighting feature, which has gotten me a lot of complaints.  We’ll probably turn it back on once users are able to configure it themselves.

I’ve been exchanging email with the folks at MindTouch, and it looks like the vast majority of the things our users (and myself) have been concerned about will be addressed in the next release of Deki, codenamed Lyons.  I’m quite excited — some of the stuff is being addressed in innovative ways that have potential to totally reshape how we do things for the better.

I’ll go into more detail on that as things develop, but if you poke around the MindTouch site, you can find some information on what they’re working on.

 Posted by at 11:50 AM
Sep 162008

Since it doesn’t seem to have been published yet on the Wikis4SE site, I figured I’d post a copy here for anyone interested in reading it.  It talks a little about how we run MDC, how administration of the site is handled, and why we switched from MediaWiki to MindTouch Deki.

The paper was well received when I presented it, despite a few rough edges on my presentation.  Interestingly, because most of the people in attendance seemed to be researchers and academics, rather than wiki administrators, my perspective was one that turned out to be quite interesting to a number of people, and I found my input requested on a variety of topics.

I had no idea there were so many people who actually study wikis rather than actually using them.

 Posted by at 2:40 PM
Sep 162008

Documentation work has been gradually easing into swing for Firefox 3.1, and this week I expect to spend most of my time working on that.  If you’ve been working on Firefox 3.1, please drop by the Firefox 3.1 for developers page and make sure that any developer-facing changes you’ve made are listed, so that they can be documented properly.

There are lots of exciting changes in this release, which will involve more documentation than a normal point-release would.  Still, I don’t expect any trouble getting everything written up before release.  Some material has fortunately already been finished.

If you’re a subject-matter expert on any of the new features in Firefox 3.1, expect to hear from me (or another documentation contributor) sometime in the coming weeks!

 Posted by at 1:54 PM
Sep 042008

It’s time to admit that we need to keep the Space Shuttle flying for a few more years. We simply can’t give up our only access to space (and the space station) for multiple years until Constellation is ready to fly.

This is especially critical now, with our relationship with Russia taking on a more complicated edge, and with Congress about to recess without approving permission to buy more seats on future Soyuz craft. As NASA administrator Mike Griffin says, this is going to almost unavoidably result in a period of time during which only the Russians will be aboard the International Space Station.

This can’t be allowed to happen. Congress needs to get off its butt and fund both the Space Shuttle through 2014 as well as fully fund the Constellation program. It’s time to man up, boys, and do what needs to be done to ensure the United States maintains its leadership role in space exploration.

 Posted by at 4:42 PM
Sep 042008

Today I fixed a few pages in the XUL Reference that were using unsupported MediaWiki commands to do conditional text. While Deki supports conditional text, it doesn’t yet offer the ability to look at the name of the page including another, so we’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way for a while. I also fixed an amusing typo in the XULRef template. Oops.

I’ve also checked into SVN some more changes to the skin for the site, this time changing the default fonts from serif to sans-serif, in response to popular demand. The print version should still be using sans-serif fonts, for easier reading on paper. I’ve filed a ticket with IT to get this revision activated on the server; hopefully that will happen in the next day or two.

I know a lot of folks are still frustrated with the new site, but I continue to hope that as people get used to the changes they’ll grow to like it. And, of course, now that MindTouch has finished the Killen Woods release of Deki, I’ll be able to hound them incessently — without guilt — to make more changes to make our lives better. Bwwwahahahaha!!


As I was saying, we’ve got plenty to do still. Most of the good feedback, including folks pointing out serious problems, didn’t come until after the launch, which is why there are so many rough edges at the moment. We’ll get them ironed out. It’s my mission in life to do so. And that’s not even hyperbole; it’s my job to make MDC rock, and that’s what we’ll do. Even if it takes a little longer than everyone would like.

 Posted by at 12:04 AM
Sep 022008

We’ve pulled in a new update of the software from MindTouch, so the bug with tags being deleted when editing pages should now be fixed.

Also, I’m in the initial stages of arranging to do an overhaul of the skin to bring back a sidebar, since the resentment of the drop-down menus is very nearly universal. I don’t have an estimate for when this will happen, and can’t even say for certain that it will, but I’m doing what I can to arrange it.

 Posted by at 4:36 PM