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Mozilla Fundraising: Bitcoin Donations to Mozilla: 17 Days In

ma, 08/12/2014 - 08:03
Just over two weeks ago Mozilla began accepting bitcoin donations. In the first three days our bitcoin donation form was live, we raised $1,600 USD in bitcoin, and to date we’ve raised about $5,000 USD. Here is the trendline: We … Continue reading
Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Ben Kelly: Implementing the Service Worker Cache API in Gecko

ma, 08/12/2014 - 06:43

For the last few months I’ve been heads down, implementing the Service Worker Cache API in gecko. All the work to this point has been done on a project branch, but the code is finally reaching a point where it can land in mozilla-central. Before this can happen, of course, it needs to be peer reviewed. Unfortunately this patch is going to be large and complex. To ease the pain for the reviewer I thought it would be helpful to provide a high-level description of how things are put together.

If you are unfamiliar with Service Workers and its Cache API, I highly recommend reading the following excellent sources:

Building Blocks

The Cache API is implemented in C++ based on the following Gecko primitives:

  • WebIDL DOM Binding

    All new DOM objects in gecko now use our new WebIDL bindings.

  • PBackground IPC

    PBackground is an IPC facility that connects a child actor to a parent actor. The parent actor is always in the parent process. PBackground, however, allows the child actor to exist in either a remote child content process or within the same parent process. This allows us to build services that support both electrolysis (e10s) and our more traditional single process model.

    Another advantage of PBackground is that the IPC calls are handled by a worker thread rather than the parent process main thread. This helps avoid stalls due to other main thread work.

  • Quota Manager

    Quota Manager is responsible for managing the disk space used by web content. It determines when quota limits have been reached and will automatically delete old data when necessary.

  • SQLite

    mozStorage is an API that provides access to an SQLite database.

  • File System

    Finally, the Cache uses raw files in the file system.


We did consider a couple alternatives to implementing a new storage engine for Cache. Mainly, we thought about using the existing HTTP cache or building on top of IndexedDB. For various reasons, however, we chose to build something new using these primitives instead. Ultimately it came down to the Cache spec not quite lining up with these solutions.

For example, the HTTP cache has an optimization where it only stores a single response for a given URL. In contrast, the Cache API spec requires that multiple Responses can be stored per-URL based on VARY headers, multiple Cache objects, etc. In addition, the HTTP cache doesn’t use the quota management system and Cache must use the quota system.

IndexedDB, on the other hand, is based on structured cloning which doesn’t currently support streaming data. Given that Responses could be quite large and come in from the network slowly, we thought streaming was a priority to reduce the amount of required memory.

Also, while not a technical issue, IndexedDB was undergoing a significant rewrite at the time the Cache work began. We felt that this would delay the Cache implementation.

10,000-Foot View

With those primitives in mind, the overall structure of the Cache implementation looks like this:

Here we see from left-to-right:

  • JS Script

    Web content running in a JavaScript context on the far left. This could be in a Service Worker, a normal Web Worker, or on the main thread.

  • DOM Object

    The script calls into the C++ DOM object using the WebIDL bindings. This layer does some argument validation and conversion, but is mostly just a pass through to the other layers. Since most of the Cache API is asynchronous the DOM object also returns a Promise. A unique RequestId is passed through to the Cache backend and is later used to find the Promise on completion.

  • Child and Parent IPC Actors

    The connection between the processes is represented by a child and a parent actor. These have a one-to-one correlation. In the Cache API request messages are sent from the child-to-parent and response messages are sent back from the parent-to-child. All of these messages are asynchronous and non-blocking.

  • Manager

    This is where things start to get a bit more interesting. The Cache spec requires each origin to get its own, unique CacheStorage instance. This is accomplished by creating a separate per-origin Manager object. These Manager objects can come and go as DOM objects are used and then garbage collected, but there is only ever one Manager for each origin.

  • Context

    When a Manager has a disk operation to perform it first needs to take a number of stateful steps to configure the QuotaManager properly. All of this logic is wrapped up in what is called the Context. I’ll go into more detail on this later, but suffice it to say that the Context handles handles setting up the QuotaManager and then scheduling Actions to occur at the right time.

  • Action

    An Action is essentially a command object that performs a set of IO operations within a Context and then asynchronously calls back to the Manager when they are complete. There are many different Action objects, but in general you can think of each Cache method, like match() or put(), having its own Action.

  • File System

    Finally, the Action objects access the file system through the SQLite database, file streams, or the nsIFile interface.

Closer Look

Lets take a closer look at some of the more interesting parts of the system. Most of the action takes place in the Manager and Context, so lets start there.


As I mentioned above, the Cache spec indicates each origin should have its own isolated caches object. This maps to a single Manager instance for all CacheStorage and Cache objects for scripts running in the same origin:

Its important that all operations for a single origin are routed through the same Manager because operations in different script contexts can interact with one another.

For example, lets consider the following CacheStorage method calls being executed by scripts running in two separate child processes.

  1. Process 1 calls'foo').
  2. Process 1’s promise resolves with a Cache object.
  3. Process 2 calls caches.delete('foo').

At this point process 1 has a Cache object that has been removed from the caches CacheStorage index. Any additional calls to'foo') will create a new Cache object.

But how should the Cache returned to Process 1 behave? It’s a bit poorly defined in the spec, but the current interpretation is that it should behave normally. The script in process 1 should continue to be able to access data in the Cache using match(). In addition, it should be able to store A value using put(), although this is somewhat pointless if the Cache is not in caches anymore. In the future, a caches.put() call may be added to let a Cache object to be re-inserted into the CacheStorage.

In any case, the key here is that the caches.delete() call in process 2 must understand that a Cache object is in use. It cannot simply delete all the data for the Cache. Instead we must reference count all uses of the Cache and only remove the data when they are all released.

The Manager is the central place where all of this reference tracking is implemented and these races are resolved.

A similar issue can happen with cache.match(req) and cache.delete(req). If the matched Response is still referenced, then the body data file needs to remain available for reading. Again, the Manager handles this by tracking outstanding references to open body files. This is actually implemented by using an additional actor called a StreamControl which will be shown in the cache.match() trace below.


There are a number of stateful rules that must be followed in order to use the QuotaManager. The Context is designed to implement these rules in a way that hides the complexity from the rest of the Cache as much as possible.

Roughly the rules are:

  1. First, we must extract various information from the nsIPrincipal by calling QuotaManager::GetInfoFromPrincipal() on the main thread.
  2. Next, the Cache must call QuotaManager::WaitForOpenAllowed() on the main thread. A callback is provided so that we can be notified when the open is permitted. This callback occurs on the main thread.
  3. Once we receive the callback we must next call QuotaManager::EnsureOriginIsInitialized() on the QuotaManager IO thread. This returns a pointer to the origin-specific directory in which we should store all our files.
  4. The Cache code is now free to interact with the file system in the directory retrieved in the last step. These file IO operations can take place on any thread. There are some small caveats about using QuotaManager specific APIs for SQLite and file streams, but for the most part these simply require providing information from the GetInfoFromPrincipal() call.
  5. Once all file operations are complete we must call QuotaManager::AllowNextSynchronizedOp() on the main thread. All file streams and SQLite database connections must be closed before making this call.

The Context object functions like a reference counted RAII-style object. It automatically executes steps 1 to 3 when constructed. When the Context object’s reference count drops to zero, its destructor runs and it schedules the AllowNextSynchronzedOp() to run on the main thread.

Note, while it appears the GetInfoFromPrincipal() call in step 1 could be performed once and cached, we actually can’t do that. Part of extracting the information is querying the current permissions for the principal. Its possible these can change over time.

In theory, we could perform the EnsureOriginIsInitialized() call in step 3 only once if we also implemented the nsIOfflineStorage interface. This interface would allow the QuotaManager to tell us to shutdown when the origin directory needs to be deleted.

Currently the Cache does not do this, however, because the nsIOfflineStorage interface is expected to change significantly in the near future. Instead, Cache simply calls the EnsureOriginIsInitialized() method each time to re-create the directory if necessary. Once the API stabilizes the Cache will be updated to receive all such notifications from QuotaManager.

An additional consequence of not getting the nsIOfflineStorage callbacks is that the Cache must proactively call QuotaManager::AllowNextSynchronizedOp() so that the next QuotaManager client for the origin can do work.

Given the RAII-style life cycle, this is easily achieved by simply having the Action objects hold a reference to the Context until they complete. The Manager has a raw pointer to the Context that is cleared when it destructs. If there is no more work to be done, the Context is released and step 5 is performed.

Once the new nsIOfflineStorage API callbacks are implemented the Cache will be able to keep the Context open longer. Again, this is relatively easy and simply needs the Manager to hold a strong reference to the Context.

Streams and IPC

Since mobile platforms are a key target for Service Workers, the Cache API needs to be memory efficient. RAM is often the most constraining resource on these devices. To that end, our implementation should use streaming whenever possible to avoid holding large buffers in memory.

In gecko this is essentially implemented by a collection of classes that implement the nsIInputStream interface. These streams are pretty straightforward to use in normal code, but what happens when we need to serialize a stream across IPC?

The answer depends on the type of stream being serialized. We have a couple existing solutions:

  • Streams created for a flat memory buffer are simply copied across.
  • Streams backed by a file have their file descriptor dup()’d and passed across. This allows the other process to read the file directly without any immediate memory impact.

Unfortunately, we do not have a way to serialize an nsIPipe across IPC without completely buffering it first. This is important for Cache, because this is the type of stream we receive from a fetch() Response object.

To solve this, Kyle Huey is implementing a new CrossProcessPipe that will send the data across the IPC boundary in chunks.

In this particular case we will be sending all the fetched Response data from the parent-to-child when the fetch() is performed. If the Response is passed to Cache.put(), then the data is copied back to the parent.

You may be asking, “why do you need to send the fetch() data from the child to the parent process when doing a cache.put()? Surely the parent process already has this data somewhere.”

Unfortunately, this is necessary to avoid buffering potentially large Response bodies in the parent. It’s imperative that the parent process never runs out of memory. One day we may be able to open the file descriptor in the parent, dup() it to the child, and then write the data directly from the child process, but currently this is not possible with the current Quota Manager.

Disk Schema

Finally, that brings us to a discussion of how the data is actually stored on disk. It basically breaks down like this:

  • Body data for both Requests and Responses are stored directly in individual snappy compressed files.
  • All other Request and Response data are stored in SQLite.

I know some people discourage using SQLite, but I chose it for a few reasons:

  1. SQLite provides transactional behavior.
  2. SQLite is a well-tested system with known caveats and performance characteristics.
  3. SQL provides a flexible query engine to implement and fine tune the Cache matching algorithm.

In this case I don’t think serializing all of the Cache metadata into a flat file, as suggested by that wiki page, would be a good solution here. In general, only a small subset of the data will be read or write on each operation. In addition, we don’t want to require reading the entire dataset into memory. Also, for expected Cache usage, the data should typically be read-mostly with fewer writes over time. Data will not be continuously appended to the database. For these reasons I’ve chosen to go with SQLite while understanding the risks and pitfalls.

I plan to mitigate fragmentation by performing regular maintenance. Whenever a row is deleted from or inserted into a table a counter will be updated in a flat file. When the Context opens it will examine this counter and perform a VACUUM if it’s larger than a configured constant. The constant will of course have to be fine-tuned based on real world measurements.

Simple marker files will also be used to note when a Context is open. If the browser is killed with a Context open, then a scrubbing process will be triggered the next time that origin accesses caches. This will look for orphaned Cache and body data files.

Finally, the bulk of the SQLite specific code is isolated in two classes; DBAction.cpp and DBSchema.cpp. If we find SQLite is not performant enough, it should be straightforward to replace these files with another solution.

Detailed Trace

Now that we have the lay of the land, lets trace what happens in the Cache when you do something like this:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 // photo by leg0fenris: var troopers = 'blob:' var legoBox; Promise.all([ fetch(troopers),'legos') ]).then(function(results) { var response = results[0]; legoBox = results[1]; return legoBox.put(troopers, response); }).then(function() { return legoBox.match(troopers); }).then(function(response) { // invade rebel base });

While it might seem the first Cache operation is, we actually need to trace what happens when caches is touched. When the caches attribute is first accessed on the global we create the CacheStorage DOM object and IPC actors.

I’ve numbered each step in order to show the sequence of events. These steps are roughly:

  1. The global WebIDL binding for caches creates a new CacheStorage object and returns it immediately to the script.
  2. Asynchronously, the CacheStorage object creates a new child IPC actor. Since this may not complete immediately, any requests coming in will be queued until actor is ready. Of course, since all the operations use Promises, this queuing is transparent to the content script.
  3. The child actor in turn sends a message to the parent process to create a corresponding parent actor. This message includes the nsIPrincipal describing the content script’s origin and other identifying information.
  4. Before permitting any actual work to take place, the principal provided to the actor must be verified. For various reasons this can only be done on the main thread. So an asynchronous operation is triggered to examine the principal and any CacheStorage operations coming in are queued.
  5. Once the principal is verified we return to the PBackground worker thread.
  6. Assuming verification succeeded, then the origin’s Manager can now be accessed or created. (This is actually deferred until the first operation, though.) Any pending CacheStorage operations are immediately executed.

Now that we have the caches object we can get on with the open(). This sequence of steps is more complex:

There are a lot more steps here. To avoid making this blog post any more boring than necessary, I’ll focus on just the interesting ones.

As with the creation trace above, steps 1 to 4 are basically just passing the open() arguments across to the Manager. Your basic digital plumbing at work.

Steps 5 and 6 make sure the Context exists and schedules an Action to run on the IO thread.

Next, in step 7, the Action will perform the actual work involved. It must find the Cache if it already exists or create a new Cache. This basically involves reading and writing an entry in the SQLite database. The result is a unique CacheId.

Steps 8 to 11 essentially just return the CacheId back to the actor layer.

If this was the last Action, then the Context is released in step 10.

At this point we need to create a new parent actor for the CacheId. This Cache actor will be passed back to the child process where it gets a child actor. Finally a Cache DOM object is constructed and used to resolve the Promise returned to the JS script in first step. All of this occurs in steps 12 to 17.

On the off chance you’re still reading this section, the script next performs a put() on the cache:

This trace looks similar to the last one, with the main difference occurring in the Action on the right. While this is true, its important to note that the IPC serialization in this case includes a data stream for the Response body. So we might be creating a CrossProcessPipe actor to copy data across in chunks.

With that in mind the Action needs to do the following:

  • Stream body data to files on disk. This happens asynchronously on the IO thread. The Action and the Context are kept alive this entire time.
  • Update the SQLite database to reflect the new Request/Response pair with a file name pointer to the body.

All of the steps back to the child process are essentially just there to indicate completion. The put() operation resolves undefined in the success case.

Finally the script can use match() to read the data back out of the Cache:

In this trace the Action must first query the SQLite tables to determine if the Request exists in the Cache. If it does, then it opens a stream to the body file.

Its important to note, again, that this is just opening a stream. The Action is only accessing the file system directory structure and opening a file descriptor to the body. Its not actually reading any of the data for the body yet.

Once the matched Response data and body file stream are passed back to the parent actor, we must create an extra actor for the stream. This actor is then passed back to the child process and used to create a ReadStream.

A ReadStream is a wrapper around the body file stream. This wrapper will send a message back to the parent whenever the stream is closed. In addition, it allows the Manager to signal the stream that a shutdown is occurring and the stream should be immediately closed.

This extra call back to the parent process on close is necessary to allow the Manager to reference track open streams and hold the Context open until all the streams are closed.

The body file stream itself is serialized back to the child process by dup()‘in the file descriptor opened by the Action.

Ultimately the body file data is read from the stream when the content script calls Response.text() or one of the other body consumption methods.


Of course, there is still a lot to do. While we are going to try to land the current implementation on mozilla-central, a number of issues will need to be resolved in the near future.

  1. SQLite maintenance must be implemented. As I mentioned above, I have a plan for how this will work, but it has not been written yet.
  2. Stress testing must be performed to fine tune the SQLite schema and configuration.
  3. Files should be de-duplicated within a single origin’s CacheStorage. This will be important for efficiently supporting some expected uses of the Cache API. (De-duplication beyond the same origin will require expanded support from the QuotaManager and is unlikely to occur in the near future.)
  4. Request and Response clone() must be improved. Currently a clone() call results in the body data being copied. In general we should be able to avoid almost all copying here, but it will require some work. See bug 1100398 for more details.
  5. Telemetry should be added so that we can understand how the Cache is being used. This will be important for improving the performance of the Cache over time.

While the Cache implementation is sure to change, this is where we are today. We want to get Cache and the other Service Worker bits off of our project branch and into mozilla-central as soon as possible so other people can start testing with them. Reviewing the Cache implementation is an important step in that process.

If you would like to follow along please see bug 940273. As always, feedback is welcome by email or on twitter.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Robert O'Callahan: We Aren't Really Going To Have "Firefox On iOS"

ma, 08/12/2014 - 02:22

Whatever we decide to do, we won't be porting Firefox as we know it to iOS, unless Apple makes major changes to their App Store policies. The principal issue is that on iOS, the only software Apple allows to download content from the Internet and execute it is their built-in iOS Webkit component. Under that policy, every browser --- including iOS Chrome, for example --- must be some kind of front-end to Apple's Webkit. Thus, from the point of view of Web authors --- and users encountering Web compatibility issues --- all iOS browsers behave like Safari, even when they are named after other browsers. There is some ability to extend the Webkit component but in most areas, engine performance and features are restricted to whatever Safari has.

I certainly support having a product on iOS and I don't necessarily object to calling it Firefox as long as we're very clear in our messaging. To some extent users and Web developers have already acclimatised to a similar confusing situation with iOS Chrome. It's not exactly the same situation: the difference between iOS Chrome and real Chrome is smaller than the difference between iOS Firefox and real Firefox because Blink shares heritage and still much code with Webkit. But both differences are rapidly growing since there's a ton of new Web features that Chrome and Firefox have that Webkit doesn't (e.g. WebRTC, Web Components, ES6 features, Web Animations).

In the meantime I think we need to avoid making pithy statements like "we're bringing Firefox to iOS".

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Robert O'Callahan: Portland

ma, 08/12/2014 - 02:19

Portland was one of the best Mozilla events I've ever attended --- possibly the very best. I say this despite the fact I had a cough the whole week (starting before I arrived), I had inadequate amounts of poor sleep, my social skills for large-group settings are meagre, and I fled the party when the music started.

I feel great about Portland because I spent almost all of each workday talking to people and almost every discussion felt productive. In most work weeks I run out of interesting things to talk about and fall back to the laptop, and/or we have lengthy frustrating discussions where we can't solve a problem or can't reach an agreement, but that didn't really happen this time. Some of my conversations had disagreements, but either we had a constructive and efficient exchange of views or we actually reached consensus.

A good example of the latter is a discussion I led about the future of painting in Gecko, in which I outlined a nebulous plan to fix the issues we currently have in painting and layer construction on the layout side. Bas brought up ideas about GPU-based painting which at first didn't seem to fit well with my plans, but later we were able to sketch a combined design that satisfies everything. I learned a lot in the process.

Another discussion where I learned a lot was with Jason about using rr for record-and-replay JS debugging. Before last week I wasn't sure if it was feasible, but after brainstorming with Jason I think we've figured out how to do it in a straightforward (but clever) way.

Portland also reemphasized to me just how excellent are the people in the Platform team, and other teams too. Just wandering around randomly, I'd almost immediately run into someone I think is amazing. We are outnumbered, but I find it hard to believe that anyone outguns us per capita.

There were lots of great events and people that I missed and wish I hadn't (sorry Doug!), but I feel I made good use of the time so I have few regrets. For the same reason I wasn't bothered by the scheduling chaos. I hear some people felt sad that they missed out on activities, but as often in life, it's a mistake to focus on what you didn't do.

During the week I reflected on my role in the project, finding the right ways to use the power I have, and getting older. I plan to blog about those a bit.

I played board games every night, mostly Bang! and Catan. It was great fun but I probably should cut back a bit next time. Then again, for me it was a more effective way to meet interesting strangers than the organized mixer party event we had.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Richard Newman: On soft martial arts and software engineers

ma, 08/12/2014 - 01:29

I recently began studying tàijíquán (“tai chi”), the Chinese martial art.

Richard, holding a sword.

It always helps to have someone correct your form.

Many years ago I spent a year or two pursuing shōtōkan karate. Shōtōkan, by most standards, is a “hard” martial art: it opposes force with force, using low, stable stances to deliver direct strikes.

Tàijíquán is an internal art, mixing hard with soft. To most observers (and most practitioners!) it’s entirely a soft, slow-moving exercise form. To quote Wikipedia:

The ability to use t’ai chi ch’uan as a form of self-defense in combat is the test of a student’s understanding of the art. T’ai chi ch’uan is the study of appropriate change in response to outside forces, the study of yielding and “sticking” to an incoming attack rather than attempting to meet it with opposing force. The use of t’ai chi ch’uan as a martial art is quite challenging and requires a great deal of training.

(Other martial arts are soft, but more immediately applicable: jujutsu, judo, and wing chun, for example.)

I see some parallels between the hard/soft characterization of martial arts and the ‘lifecycle’, if you will, of software engineers.

You might find it hard to believe (HTML needs a sarcasm tag, no?), but I was once a young, arrogant developer. I’d been hired at a startup in the US on the strength of a phone call, I was good at what I did, and there was an endless list of problems to solve. I like solving problems, and I liked that I could impress by doing so. And so I did.

I routinely worked 14-hour days. I’d get up at 7, shower, and head to the office. After work I’d go out for dinner with coworkers, then work until bed. I had no real hobbies apart from drinking with my coworkers, so my time was spent writing code. It’s so easy to solve problems when you can solve them yourself.

Eventually, after one too many solo victories over seemingly impossible deadlines, I was burned out.

Hard martial arts are very tempting, particularly to the young and able-bodied: they yield direct results. The better you get, the harder and faster you hit.

The problem with hard martial arts is that the world keeps making newer, tougher opponents, while time and each engagement are conspiring to strip away your own vigor. It takes a toll on your knees, your shoulders. Bruises take longer and longer to go away.

The software industry is like this, too. It will happily take as much time as you give it. Beating that last hard problem by burning a weekend will only win you a pat on the back and a new, bigger task to accomplish. Meanwhile your shoulders hunch, RSI kicks in, your vision worsens. You take your first week off work because the painkillers aren’t enough to let you type any more. You find out what an EKG is, what a sit-stand desk is, what physical therapy is like.

And while it looks like you’re winning — after all, you’re producing software that works — you’re accruing costs, too. You’re spending your future. Not only are you personally losing your motivation, your vitality, and a large part of your self, but you’re also building more software. Either you have to own it, or nobody really does. Maybe someone else should. Maybe it shouldn’t have been built at all. You think you’re winning, but you won’t know until later. And all along, your aggressive approach to building a solution alienates those around you.

A soft martial art tries to use your opponent’s strength and momentum against them. It yields and redirects. Ultimately, it asks whether you need to engage at all.

Hard martial arts eventually force you to confront your own fragility: “I can’t keep doing this”. So does software development, if you’re paying attention. You need to learn to ask the right questions, to draw on the rest of your team, to invest your time in learning and tools, in communication, and above all to invest in other people.

As the quote above suggests, this takes practice. But it works out best in the long run.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Soledad Penades: Meanwhile, in Mozlandia…

zo, 07/12/2014 - 22:25

Almost every employee and a good amount of volunteers flew into Portland past week for a sort of “coincidental work week” which also included a few common events, the “All hands”. Since it was held in Portland, home to “Portlandia“, someone started calling this week “Mozlandia” and the name stuck.

I knew it was going to be chaotic and busy and so I not only didn’t make any effort to meet with non-Mozilla-related Portlanders, but actively avoided that. When the day has been all about socialising from breakfast to afternoon, the last thing you want is to speak to more people. Also, I am not sure how to put this, but the fact that I visit some acquaintance’s town doesn’t mean that I am under any obligation to meet them. Sometimes people get angry that I didn’t tell them I was visiting and that’s not cool :-(

Speaking about not-coolness: my trip started with two “incidents”. First, I got mansplained at the Heathrow Airport by an Air Canada employee that decided to take over my self-check in machine, trying to press buttons on the screen and answering security questions for me instead of just, maybe, allowing me to operate it as I was doing until he came and interrupted me, out of the blue. There was no one else in the area and I have no idea why he did that, but he got me angry.

Then the rest of the trip went pretty much as usual, with no incident. It was fun to spend layover time at the Vancouver Airport with Guillaume and Zac from the London office, and then share the experience of the Desolate Pod of Gates that is home to the mighty Propeller Planes.

I was really tired by the time I made it to my hotel–it was well past 6 AM in London time and I had been up for almost 24 hours with no sleep except for the short nap in the Vancouver-Portland flight, so the only thing I wanted was to make it to my room and sleeeeep. I got into one of the hotel lifts, and just as the doors were almost closed, someone waved their arm in and the doors opened again. Three massively tall and bulky men entered the lift and pressed some buttons for their floor, while I kept looking down and wondering how would the room look like and whether the pillows would be soft. And then I noticed something… something being repeated several times. I started paying attention and turns out that one of the men was talking to me. He was asking me:

How are you? How are you?

But I hadn’t replied because I was on my own world. So he repeated it again:

How are you?

So here’s the thing. When you’re that tired you have zero room for any sort of bullshit, and I was really, really tired. But those men were also really, really huge, compared to me. So I looked at him and I was really willing to give him a piece of my mind, but the only thing I said was

Maybe that is none of your business.

And luckily the doors for my floor opened and I didn’t have to stand their looks of “disappointment because I hadn’t been nice to them” any longer.


I suddenly felt very unsafe because I hadn’t been nice to them.

Were them following me? Should I request my room to be changed to a different floor? Was there anything I was wearing that would be distinctive and would they be able to identify me the following days?

It took me a while to get asleep because I kept thinking about this, but eventually I got some sound slumber, hoping for an incident-free Sunday.

And it was a great, sunny and very COLD Sunday in Portland. Temperatures were about 0 degrees, which compared to London’s 12 degrees felt even colder. I kept going to warm closed places (cafes! shops! malls!) and then back to the glacial streets, so by Monday morning my body had decided it hated me and was going to demonstrate how much with a number of demonstrations. First came the throat pain, then tummy ache, sneezing, the full list of winter horrors.

This made me not really enjoy the whole “Mozlandia” week. I was in an state of confusion most of the time, either by virtue of my sinuses pressuring my brain, or just because of the medicine I took. It was hard to both follow conversations and articulate thoughts. I hope I didn’t disappoint anyone that wanted to meet me this week for SERIOUS BSNSS, but I was generally a shambles. Sorry about that!

And yet despite of that, I still had some interesting discussions with various people at Mozilla, both intentionally and accidentally, so that was cool. Some topics included:

  • how can we work better with the Platform team (the ones implementing browser APIs, for those not in the Moz-know) so we know for certain which features are planned/implemented and with which degree of completion, and so we can give better advice to interested devs, and how can we improve the way we provide the feedback we get from developers at events, blog posts, etc. By the way: there’s a huge amount of cool new APIs coming up! this is neat :-)
  • future plans for the Web Audio API and the Web Audio Editor in Firefox DevTools, and also a general discussion on the API architecture and how it often takes developers by surprise, and whether we can do anything about that from a tooling point of view or not. Also, games, performance, and mixing other APIs together such as MediaRecorder.
  • the Web Animations API and support for visualising that in the devtools-with keyframes and time lines and all that good, exciting stuff! It got me thinking about whether it would be possible to make another build of tween.js or some sort of util/wrapper that uses the Animations API internally. Food for thought!
  • future Air Mozilla plans, including making it easier to upload content both from a moz-space and from an offline recording, and support for subtitles in various languages. I liked that they stress the fact that content does not need to be in English–after all, the Mozilla community speaks many languages!
  • Rachel Nabors told us about her animation/authoring process to create interactive experiences/comics using just HTML+JS+CSS. This was really enlightening and while I don’t have all the answers to the issues yet, it got me thinking about how can we make this easier and more enjoyable for non-super-tech-savvy audiences. There were cries for a Firefox Designer Edition too–we joked that it would come with some extra colorpickers because why not? :-P

I had to skip a couple of evenings because my immune system was just too excited to be on call, and so I stayed at my room. I didn’t want to go to sleep too early or the jetlag would be horrible, so I stayed awake by building a little silly thing: spoems, or spam poems (sources). I want to use it as a playground to try CSS stuff since it’s mostly text, but so far it’s super basic and that’s OK.

It was funny that this… morning? yesterday afternoon…? other mozillians that were flying back to London in the same plane than me were telling about the best of the closing party and internally I was like “well, I just drank some coffee and listened to Boards of Canada and then had ramen and watched random things on the Internet, and that was exactly what I needed”.

And that was my “Mozlandia”. What about yours? :-P

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Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Benjamin Kerensa: Mozilla All Hands: They can’t hold us!

zo, 07/12/2014 - 21:06
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis perform for MozillaMacklemore & Ryan Lewis perform for Mozilla

What a wonderful all hands we had this past week. The entire week was full of meetings and planning and I must say I was exhausted by Thursday having been up each day working by 6:00am and going to bed by midnight.

I’m very happy to report that I made a lot of progress on meeting with more people to discuss the future of Firefox Extended Support Release and how to make it a much better offering to organizations.

I also spent some time talking to folks about Firefox in Ubuntu and rebranding Iceweasel to Firefox in Debian (fingers crossed something will happen here in 2015). Also it was great to participate in discussions around making all of the Firefox channels offer more stability and quality to our users.

It was great to hear that we will be doing some work to bring Firefox to iOS which I think will fill a gap that has existed for our users of OSX who have an iPhone.  Anyways, what I can say about this all hands is that there were lots of opportunities for discussions on quality and the future is looking very bright.

Also a big thanks to Lukas Blakk who put together an early morning excursion to Sherwood Ice Arena where Mozillians played some matches of hockey which I took photos of here.

In closing, I have to say it was a great treat for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis to come and perform for us in a private show and help us celebrate Mozilla.


Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Jen Fong-Adwent: Broken Communication

zo, 07/12/2014 - 16:00
Here are the typical flows of communication from in real life to GPG
Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet