flock flockblog main mozilla tech

SMIL got sr+ !

I just wanted to share my joy with you! SMIL, animation multimedia integration language – a language that allows easy animations with SVG got superreview from roc a few minutes ago!

picture-32What does it mean? SMIL may find its use in UI animations and will be another step on the way from static UI’s to animated UI’s (which are more natural to human eye when made carefully).

What’s amazing about this project in Mozilla is its story. Brian Birtles started this project in May 2005 as a project for his studies, he quickly crafted basic code and first wiki article, and in November 2005 Brian submited initial patch to Bugzilla.

After that Brian worked on the project till the end of December, finished his term, wrote a paper about Animation in Mozilla and took a break. He picked it up around summer 2006 but did not push too much forward.

A year has passed since Brian sent his patch to bugzilla, and everything started to seem rather skeptical for SMIL. No maintainer, obsolete patch not compiling against trunk and no activity around it… At this point, tor, SVG magician, picked up the patch, cleaned it up, updated to trunk and kept updating for the whole 2007!!! Next, in April 2008 Chris Double picked the patch against and updated once again even adding new features!

In May 2008 Daniel Holbert took charge and started working on the patch to finalize the implementation getting gathering a lot of feedback and reviews from Brian and from Robert O’Callahan. The things started to move faster and around December Daniel proposed the patch for review and super-review. This caused several more rounds of reviews and finally, today, roc gave superrevew which means that he agrees for this architecture of this feature to be implemented into our code base.

While there’s still more work to be done, now we can expect SMIL to land on trunk very soon, and we have Brian back to support Daniel with work on SMIL project.


It’s unique to such open project like Mozilla to have a full open access to working environment for an external student who can pick up his project of choice and lead it, get other peoples help to keep it alive while no leader is around and finally get it finalized by another community member with support from original author who additionally gets hired to work more on his project of choice.

There is such a tremendous variety of ways people are interacting with Mozilla project, such a huge flexibility of relations, its impossible to oversee everything and Mozilla could not operate in any top-down model. It’s such a different structure. Momentum, energy management, focus and global organization direction are being build all around the project on many levels, and being a leader in such organization means something very, very different. We have a huge luck that our l e a d e r s not only understand and incorporate it but also experience it together with us all.

flock flockblog main mozilla tech

MCS WordPress 1.0alpha

One of the major efforts during last 2 weeks was to prepare working application using Mozilla Community Theme.

The first app that got MCS support is… WordPress 2.7.


WordPress 2.7 is a modern, flexible CMS system, that is best known as an excellent blogging platform. Because of its clean design, easy maintainance and many plugins its also used by many websites as a classic CMS. For example polish community – – is using  WordPress and it proved to be very stable and solid platform for small websites.

Because one of the primary goals of MCS is to help our small communities get a shiny website with minimum effort WordPress was an obvious choice for the first app to be implemented.

Today, I believe we have a quite stable and usable theme for WordPress together with one custom plugin and support for another.

That’s how it looks in its full glory:


I call it Alpha, because there’s some work to do. JS code requires optimization, Theme should provide admin configuration panel, and it needs some experimental implementations with bug squashing before we can call it stable.

You can install it togther with OpenID to gain full OpenID support. It uses vanilla WordPress 2.7, so feel free to give it a try, and if you’re familiar with WordPress theming/plugins take a look at the sources and… you know… we’re accepting patches 🙂

p.s. we currently do not provide bundles, so to download the elements you either have to use mercurial (hg export or go to and click on “bz2” or “zip” to download the package. Then follow instructions in ./wordpress/INSTALL.


Flock 0.7 l10n

Last month was awesome. We’re almost ready with Flock 0.7 release, and we want to make it the first release with semi-official localization builds.

If you want to help us, and you speak any language beside of US English, it’s a good time for you 🙂

Please, take a look at my Flock-l10n maillist post  and contact me!

Flock l10n release should take place soon after en-US release. I’d like to mention, that unlike Mozilla we use a slightly different model, we release Cardinal (from 0.7 line) and then we release plenty small updates from the 0.7 branch while big changes will happen in 0.8. Between releases we have plenty small milestones like,,, and once we’re satisfied with the quality, we release one of them as official Flock 0.7 Cardinal, and then small updates are tagged with milestones like, until we release one of those as Flock 0.7.1.


Flock pays for fixing Mozilla bugs!

Yes. It’s official now. See Will’s meeting notes. And now it begins.

Today, we started money rewarding our developers for every bug/patch upstreamed to!

It simply means that beside of supporting Mozilla in their mission (to preserve choice and innovation on the Internet), we also joined the list of companies that are supporting Mozilla development by their employees worktime!!!

We’re very proud to be a part of the Mozilla world, we believe that we can do much more than previously to help in bugfinding and bugfixing of Gecko, Editor and Firefox, but we want to give more.

We see shared goals between Flock 1.0 and Firefox 2.0/3.0 that are not yet implemented in Fx, one of which is a places mechanism that we want to reuse as a backend for Favorites and another is inline spellchecking, and yet another is search service. We’re very busy with Flock 0.7 (Cardinal) right now, but once we’re ready, we want to move to Firefox 2.0 as a base for next Flock release (Danphe) and a big part of the plan is to actually get involved into Firefox 2.0 development with above.

I hope that you can all see this clear signal: Mozilla, we *want* to help you! 🙂


Mozilla folks at XTech 2006

We’re regrouping before the XTech! Add your name if you’re going to be there 🙂


Hacking Flock with Venkman Debugger

There’s the awesome tool made by Robert Ginda called Venkman Debugger.

There’s even a great tutorial on how to use Venkman, but it covers only the area of debugging your website scripts.

So, with help from Vera, using Yosh and Ian as a testers, I hacked a small tutorial that covers the hole and presents two trivial examples on how to use Venkman to hack Flock (and also applies to hacking Camino, Seamonkey, K-Meleon, Firefox your extension and your website of course).

I also did a small presentation on today’s meeting, on how the numbers looks for Flock, and how to clean the issues using various hand and automated tools.

We’re starting working on Flock’s performance as we’re slowly getting near to 1.0, and Jesse is full ahead now hunting for redundant code, unused timer calls, bottlenecks etc. Cross your fingers 🙂