Apr 262009

Today’s a travel day; I leave the house in about 30-40 minutes to head to the airport for my trip to Mountain View for the Mozilla all-hands meetings happening starting tomorrow.  I’m all packed, and wrapping up some final online stuff I need to get done before I leave, such as making sure critical files I need access to are posted in my dropbox, etc.

I spent a lot of time Friday and yesterday working on a couple of Thunderbird bugs that I would like to see fixed but are sort of on the bubble as to whether or not any of the Thunderbird regulars will have time for them anytime soon.  I made a lot of progress, but have a bit more to do, so I made a patch that contains my work so far so I can bring that along and resume work when I arrive in California.

Catch y’all from California, where to my surprise, it sounds like the weather is not going to be as perfect as it’s been here the last few days!

 Posted by at 9:40 AM
Apr 222009

I’ve temporarily reverted to the default new user page on MDC, because currently it appears that Deki does not support conditionals in the new user page template, so it can’t properly be localized.  There’s a bug filed with Mindtouch on this issue, and it’s tentatively slated to be fixed in their next patch, which they tell me is due in mid-May.  That’s the build we expect to upgrade to next, so we’ll just stick with the default new user page until then.

 Posted by at 10:39 AM
Apr 222009

After several weeks of discussion and cleanup work, this morning I rolled the new MDC menus out.  These new menus are designed to make it easier for newcomers to the Mozilla project to find what they’re looking for, by guiding them through different categories of content until they come to what they need.

These are, so far, only available on the English version of the site; hopefully our intrepid localizers will update theirs soon.

For our experts, we have the Documentation hot links page, which is essentially the old main page, with a lot of links directly to specific subject areas.

In addition, over the coming weeks, we’ll be adding features that will make it easy to customize your user page with links and widgets to quickly navigate the documentation, as well as to do other Mozilla related tasks, such as filing and searching bugs.

 Posted by at 10:13 AM
Apr 212009

I tried Tweetie for a while yesterday, and while it’s pretty — and easy on my computer’s resources — I couldn’t bring myself to keep using it, because of certain ways it does things that just don’t suit my workflow.

  • No notifications when tweets arrive.  Personally, I don’t want my Twitter client to be nonobtrusive.  I want a subtle beep when new tweets arrive.  I don’t follow so many people that this is a big distraction, and I use Twitter as a primary means of communication with some people, so I don’t want to miss anything.
  • No indicator of which tweets are new.  I can’t tell which tweets I’ve read already unless I happen to remember reading them.
  • Separate tweet entry window.  I can see how this is awesome for a lot of people, but for me, it’s a hassle.  I vastly prefer to have my tweet entry in the same window, as I can simply place my twitter window in a screen corner, keep it uncovered, and just click and go.
  • What’s the deal with the icon in my menu bar that shows and hides the window but does nothing else, and can’t be gotten rid of?  I have 20 items hanging out at the right side of my menu bar already — I don’t want another one, especially one I don’t need.
  • Unremovable sidebar.  Why is there a big sidebar that you can’t get rid of?  I essentially never leave the “all tweets” view, so why waste space with this sidebar?

For a lot of people, Tweetie is probably fantastic.  For my personal needs, it’s a poor fit.  If these issues were addressed, I’d happily pony up the $14.95 for it.  As it stands, I’m going to keep using the beta of Syrinx 2.0, despite its quirks.  It’s a closer match to my personal needs.

 Posted by at 2:25 PM
Apr 212009

Turns out that a security problem we found over the weekend on MDC has resulted in a slight delay in our plans to upgrade to Deki Lyons.  While Mindtouch turned around a fix for the security glitch in about an hour (way to go, by the way!), and we’ve deployed the fix already, the fix needs to be applied to Lyons as well, and Mindtouch has recommended that we wait until their upcoming point release in mid-May before we upgrade.

This seems sensible to me, since we’ll also pick up a few other fixes and enhancements at the same time.  Among these will hopefully be a fix to the new user page problem where it isn’t properly parsing the conditionals to only show the text in the user’s language (instead, all languages get shown).

In the meantime, we’re going to start testing the upgrade process on the current version of Mindtouch 2009 (the apparent official name of Deki Lyons), hopefully later this week.  We should then be in great shape to throw the switch quickly and smoothly once the update is shipped.

In the meantime, I’m continuing to work on other stuff.  For example, I’ve now added documentation for WiFi access point monitoring.  Other small tweaks and additions are ongoing, and I am continuing to watch the status of localStorage.

 Posted by at 2:04 PM
Apr 202009

There can be interesting side-effects to doing cleanup work on a documentation site such as the Mozilla Developer Center.

For example, last week I used a tool to rename several tags that had underscores in them instead of spaces.  This resulted in several dozen articles winding up on the “what’s new and changed” list.

The unexpected — but delightful — side effect of this is that at least a couple dozen of those articles got edited.  Some of them were simple typo corrections, others were fairly critical technical revisions.

That was a very pleasant side effect, and easily negated my initial concerns about having all those articles show up on the “what’s new” feed all at once the way they did.

My thanks to those who actually took time to look over and update all those articles!

 Posted by at 11:12 AM
Apr 152009

The folks over at Mozilla Messaging have gotten themselves a documentation wrangler to help get the Thunderbird documentation project ramped up!  Jennifer Zickerman will be helping to figure out what’s needed, what needs to be fixed, and how to get everything organized.  She’ll also be goading and taunting people into contributing the needed documentation.

I had a great talk with her the other day, and I look forward to seeing her impression on the Mozilla Developer Center.

 Posted by at 4:44 PM
Apr 132009

I made another pass through the proposed new MDC menu hierarchy today, using feedback from the newsgroups to reduce the number of clicks needed to find what you need.

As part of this work, I’ve redone the Web Development page, so it’s now actually, you know, useful, instead of being a list of relatively obscure articles covering very specific topics.

Hopefully this will be the last round of feedback for these changes so we can roll out the new menus this week or next.  I’m excited by the potential to help people (especially those new to MDC) find what they want more easily.

Something else I’m looking at doing, which I think will be a hit with our regular users, is to create a set of templates or widgets that users can add to their user page, that would create boxes for things like “File a bug,” “Search bugs,” and lists of articles for various subject areas.  This would make it really easy for users to create custom “home” pages for themselves on MDC, to help get exactly what they want as quickly as possible.

As always, I’d love more feedback on both the changes I’ve implemented as well as these ideas!

 Posted by at 5:50 PM
Apr 092009

As I’ve blogged about and talked about in IRC and elsewhere recently, I’m currently taking advantage of the relative downtime following getting the Firefox 3.5 documentation done to work on some organization and back-end stuff that needs to be done on the Mozilla Developer Center site.

In order to track what I’d like to do, and get feedback from the community, I’ve put together a list of what I hope to do during this cycle of work.  Let me know what you think!

 Posted by at 2:10 PM