weblog dedicated to software development, philosophy, and theology

Reflections on Release 0.4

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Places is very interesting new feature that is going to be included in Firefox 3. Although I don’t quite understand all the ins and outs of the feature…yet!, what I do like is that there is studies and work being done to improve on how Firefox manages information such as bookmarks/history (I think information management and HCI is a field that I think I’m growing a liking for).

My initial research was sifting through documentation on the Mozilla website. I found articles, documents on the goals and requirements for the Places API and was able to find the main channel of the Places developers on IRC. Before obtaining the bugs list, I wanted to try to connect with the Places developers and just let them know that I was interested in helping out the team by providing bug fixes. I want to be able to build a relationship with this community so that I can know how to work with them as a team and meet both my objectives and theirs.

I had a very good conversation in IRC with Dietrich (eventually I learned Dietrich was going to be my mentor), a Firefox engineer working on Places. Dietrich gave me an overview of the Places code location within the trunk:

Places is split (as you can see on the wiki) between /browser and /toolkit
places code in /browser is mostly xul and js
places code in /toolkit/components/places is mostly xpcom services
some in js, some in c++

He also gave me tips on joining the Places mailing list and watching others handle and attack bugs. Other cool Moz folks helped me to get edit bug status on my Mozilla bugzilla account (Thanks Gijs, mfinkle and gavin!).

Dietrich initially suggested that I work on the multi-ended bug as the tag editor bug had some dependencies that needed to get resolved but we then decided that working on Bug 412600 would be more fitting for me to tackle first. This way it would allow me to do some code scanning of the Places code base and help me to get accustomed to the bugzilla environment. Although the bugzilla interface is quite intuitive and the topic was introduced in last years course, I still wanted to find references to help guide me when submitting my FIRST patch. Here are some articles I stumbled over the Internet that I want to share before ending this post.



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