Aug 212009

Now that I’m largely recovered from my flu (but not so much so that I’m not about to go get some more rest), I figured I should post a more detailed status report about the Mozilla Developer Center.

I expect to post another status report soon. I’m juggling several things at once (Firefox 3.6 documentation, general upkeep of MDC, enhancements to MDC, and driving resolution of these problems we’ve been having the last week or so), so things are a little hectic.

Glitches and crashes

As you probably noticed, we’ve been having a series of weird problems with MDC the last week or so. We had a cluster of crashes of the database server, which appears to have caused a chain reaction of glitches.

Among those was that the preferences for a key wiki plugin — the one that handles script content imported from MediaWiki (used by the vast majority of our templates) — lost all its preferences.  This caused a large number of very weird problems.

I think I’ve fixed most or all of these lost preferences now, but for some reason, only one of our two wiki hosts is seeing the changes. I’ve asked IT to look into this, and hopefully we’ll have a better idea what’s wrong there soon.

Performance and security

One problem we have is performance. We’re aware of several possible causes for performance issues, and we are actively engaged in working out the best possible solutions.

The most obvious issue is that we’re currently using SSL for everything on MDC. We did this to protect users’ passwords and other information while they use the site, but using SSL for so many transactions does slow things down appreciably. We’re working on a solution for this. I’m talking with several people at MindTouch about the best way to make it possible to avoid SSL for every single transaction. Exactly how we do it is still up in the air, but I want to be sure you know that we know about it and are working on it.

Another issue is that some content, including a bit of CSS and some scripts, are being loaded from MindTouch servers instead of our own. This, too, I’m looking at, but I only just found out about it so I haven’t had time to seriously investigate yet. I will.

Sort those tables!

If you right-click inside a table, you will now find a new “TableSort” option. This lets you sort the contents of the current table, with several options for configuring the sort. This will finally make it easy to clean up sloppy and disorganized tables, and that makes me very, very happy!

The table sort dialog box

Not sure why the box’s title is “undefined” there. It may be because this feature is designed for use with the next version of MindTouch.

Which brings us to…

MindTouch 9.08 “Minneopa” coming soon

MindTouch has delivered a preview release of MindTouch 9.08, and they tell me the final release should be out in a very short time (possibly just a couple of weeks, if things go extra smoothly). This is primarily a bug-fix and cleanup release, but does have some improvements of special significance.

I won’t list everything that’s changed here, since only a few of the items are ones that have given us special headaches, but if you’re curious, you can take a look at the full list on the MindTouch wiki.

There are only a couple of items fixed in Minneopa that we had specifically asked about, but some of the stuff that’s been done will be nice nonetheless, such as the fix to keep from scrolling back to the top of the document when you finish editing a section of an article. That was annoying, but never made it onto my hit list, so to speak.

One thing our international users will be pleased about is that finally the RSS feed offered on the “recent changes” page will be for changes in your language. This should improve discovery of these feeds significantly.

 Posted by at 7:50 AM

  2 Responses to “MDC status report”

  1. Will search FINALLY work right yet?

  2. If you enable all the security dialogs (particularly the mixed content dialog) then you quickly find out when devmo starts linking in external content!

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