Sep 302009

I’ve been busily working my way through the stuff that needs documenting for Firefox 3.6. I just finished adding material covering lightweight themes, including minor updates to the XUL window documentation. For now, this documentation largely defers to the lovely existing material on the Personas site.

I’m also working on the documentation for device orientation. This is coming along but isn’t ready for consumption yet, as I’ve had some questions. I’ve now got the answers, just need to integrate that insight into the material and finish working on it. I expect to have this documentation finished tomorrow.

Documenting Firefox 3.6 has been a very pleasant experience so far. Coders are doing a great job of keeping me apprised of what’s going on, and most of the work to do is either small or fascinating. That’s my idea of a great, great release!

 Posted by at 5:35 PM
Sep 222009

Work continues (gradually) on documenting Firefox 3.6 for developers. I’ve just added information about an improvement to how add-ons can provide icons for display in the add-on manager.

In addition, the mozImageSmoothingEnabled property that’s been added to the canvas element is now documented. Looking at our canvas documentation, I realize we need a more traditional HTML element reference document added for canvas, and I hope to get to that before long, but in the meantime, I’m a little preoccupied just getting the Firefox 3.6/Gecko 1.9.2 stuff done in our current framework of content, so please bear with me!

I’m also continuing to triage various bugs, weeding out a few that don’t actually need documentation changes after all (my initial triage pass was very generous, erring on the side of assuming stuff would require doc changes).

I’m making good headway and feel pretty confident that we’ll once again have complete documentation in advance of shipping Firefox 3.6.

 Posted by at 4:45 PM
Sep 222009

The other day, I had to take the unfortunate step of disabling registration for new users to contribute to the Mozilla Developer Center wiki. I took this step because we’ve been having serious problems with accounts being created — seemingly by bots — and adding very intricate spam pages to the site.

These pages, in many cases, are using CSS to completely eradicate the wiki’s interface — including the admin controls that allow us to delete pages. This makes manually deleting the pages tricky in those cases.

MindTouch created a tool that can automatically delete these pages and ban the offending users. Unfortunately, that tool appears to have an issue with our load balancing system, by which it identifies all users as coming from the same IP address. The result is that when I used the tool over the weekend to attempt to process a large number of spam pages, all accounts got banned instead of just the spammers’.

We restored MDC from a backup shortly after that, losing edits made between 7 AM and about 10 PM Pacific Daylight Time on Saturday. Fortunately, this happened on a weekend, so we didn’t lose too much.

I’m actively engaged with MindTouch to figure out how these bots are bypassing the captcha we use to prevent this sort of thing from happening, and to add protections to keep content from overriding the site’s UI. I’m also talking to IT and MindTouch to try to get the automatic clean-up tool to work correctly on our system.

In the meantime, until we make significant headway on this problem, MDC will likely remain locked down. The confluence of the spam bot problem and the ability of content to completely override the user interface makes this a particularly tricky problem.

I know this is a huge inconvenience for some folks, and I’m doing everything I can to get this resolved as quickly as possible. I’ll keep you posted!

 Posted by at 12:14 PM
Sep 222009

The bug I had while I was in California utterly failing to attend the meetings I’d flown out for turned into bronchitis, which grew ambitious and advanced to pneumonia. So my productivity has utterly tanked the last couple of weeks. I’m trying to get as much work done as I can, but I need to rest so as to let myself recover. My availability will likely continue to be spotty for at least a few more days. I can tell things are finally starting to improve, but I have a few days’ worth of antibiotics left, and am being encouraged by several people (including my doctor) to take it easy, so I think I will do so.

My apologies to anyone waiting for stuff from me; I have a ton of “hey, could you look at this” emails that I just haven’t had the energy to deal with yet. I’m slowly making my way through them.

 Posted by at 11:32 AM
Sep 182009

I’m starting to get gradually more productive again as I work toward recovering from pneumonia. Here’s a look at the stuff I’ve been up to.

I’ve continued to triage the bugs that are marked dev-doc-needed in Bugzilla; some of these, which I tagged myself, don’t actually correspond to things needing documentation, but instead were things I needed to investigate.

I documented the nsIScreen and nsIScreenManager interfaces today. This happened because of a minor Windows-only change to nsIScreen, in which it now reports 24 bits per pixel instead of 32 bits per pixel, since 24 bits per pixel is more accurate for the interface’s purposes. But these interfaces hadn’t been documented yet, and are small, so I figured I’d go ahead and write them up in their entirety while I was at it.

I started work on the SVG animation documentation, but found out shortly after starting work on it that SVG animation has been bumped to Gecko 1.9.3, so that’s on hold for now while I focus on stuff for Gecko 1.9.2.

I’ve added a new article, Updating themes for Firefox 3.6, to which we’ll add any information about theme-related changes in Gecko 1.9.2 and Firefox 3.6. So far I’ve added what I’m presently aware of to this, but if you know something I don’t, please feel free to update it!

 Posted by at 12:42 PM
Sep 172009

We’ve scheduled our upgrade of the Mozilla Developer Center to MindTouch 9.08 for next Tuesday (September 22). Some of its improvements we’ve already received by installing various plug-ins; however, there are still some improvements that will be very welcome with this update.

There’s now a feature that lets us export the contents of a subtree in XML format; theoretically, we could use this to provide an offline reader for MDC content.

See the complete change log for this release of MindTouch here.

A few of the things I personally am happy to see:

  • Pressing enter in the Edit Summary edit field will now save your edit.
  • Editing a section and saving the change no longer takes you to the top of the page; instead, the section remains on screen. Yay!
  • Canceling editing a new talk page now takes you to the corresponding article instead of to the site’s home page.

There’s lots more, but these are the ones that immediately leap out at me as being of particular interest that I haven’t previously blogged about.

Obviously this is mostly a tidy-up type release, rather than a huge new feature release. As always, I’ll immediately set about prodding our friends at MindTouch to work on more stuff we want and need. They’ll say something about needing a vacation first, and I’ll begrudgingly grant them that, then I’ll get back to being pushy again.

 Posted by at 4:50 PM
Sep 042009

I’ve started using the whiteboard field in Bugzilla to take documentation-related notes about bugs, and I figured a quick explanation of what I’m doing would be helpful.

The “[doc-waiting-1.9.3]” note means that the issue isn’t expected to land until Gecko 1.9.3. This doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be documented until then, it’s just to help me prioritize work, since for obvious reasons stuff that’s in Gecko 1.9.2 is my top priority right now.

“[doc-waiting-info]” is used so that I can easily see that I’ve already looked at an issue and have asked one or more questions that need to be answered before I can write the material up. This will help me avoid spending a lot of time looking at the same bug over and over again before I actually have the necessary information to write it up.

“[doc-waiting-landing]” is used to mark items that have a patch, but it’s unclear on which branch the code will be checked in (or if it will be at all). Again, this helps me avoid looking repeatedly at items that aren’t ready to write about yet.

I’m sure I’ll have more of these in the future, but I wanted to explain my usage of these in case any of them seemed confusing, and to point out that they don’t necessarily mean super-long delays getting stuff written about (especially in the “[doc-waiting-1.9.3]” case).

 Posted by at 3:15 PM
Sep 022009

Because the developer tools on Mac OS X 10.6 default to building for 64-bit now, there are a few changes you have to make in order to build Mozilla on Mac OS X 10.6. Josh Aas wrote a very helpful blog post a few days ago about this.

I followed his instructions and successfully built Namoroka on my Mac at home, so I revised the Mac OS X build prerequisites article to explain how to configure things to successfully compile a 32-bit Intel build of Mozilla on Mac OS X 10.6. It also still explains how to do it on previous versions of Mac OS X.

Hopefully this added information will help you get going!

In related news, progress is being made on building Firefox as a 64-bit binary; the guys working on it are estimating it’ll be running within a month or so. I look forward to seeing it in action!

 Posted by at 9:55 AM