May MDN sprint wrap-up

Here are some of the high points from the MDN sprint that took place last weekend, May 31st and June 1st.

New content

Mixed security content blocking is now turned on by default in Firefox Aurora. David Bruant and Xavier Borderie improved the Mixed content page and David created How to fix a website with blocked mixed content.

Jérémie Patonnier hosted the meet-up in the Paris office, and finished documenting the WebFM API. Jérémie has been documenting lots of the hardware device APIs. Check out this Device orientation example, if your browser and device support it.

New contributor Scott Turner improved the Using IndexedDB article.


A sprint meet-up in Mozilla’s Paris office meant that lots of French translation work got done, with lots of fixes to the corresponding English content along the way. Several people continued working after the end of the sprint, so by now:


William Reynolds completed editorial reviews on a large number of articles, from Rhino Runtime to Object defineProperty.

Editorial reviews (checking grammar, spelling, etc.) are a quick and easy way to contribute to MDN, even if you’re new to development. Lots of newcomers to MDN start out by doing editorial reviews — you can too! Just click Sign in on any MDN page, and create an account via Mozilla Persona.

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Firefox Developer Tools work week wrap-up

Last week in Sunnyvale we had the first Developer Tools work week to include the recently-integrated Jetpack team ( for a slightly different take on the week, see Paul’s post. ). And what a week! I was a bit shocked by how many things I thought were just interesting ideas suddenly became real things that actually worked. By Friday morning we had some amazing demos from the team, which I will try to group together according to theme:

Remote everything, everywhere.

Within the next 3 months we will land remote protocol support for all of the development tools we ship. The remote protocol is a network client/server protocol that exposes the developer tools to each other external tools like editors as well as Firefox on Android and Firefox OS. We had some awesome demos that leverage or extend these capabilities:

  • Based on Heather Arthur’s work on implementing remote style editing, Paul Rouget amazed us and soon many others with remote CSS editing from popular editor Sublime Text 2: (Tweet, Youtube, Github).
  • Joe Walker showed off how to run gcli commands remotely between different instances of Firefox Desktop.
  • Jim Blandy walked us through some important platform fixes that will enable content process debugging on Firefox OS. This will allow us to support remote on-device debugging of B2G apps.

Revolutionary Dev Tools hacks

Many team members got a ton of work done on their existing projects and showed us some great enhancements by the end of the week:

  • Mihai Sucan showed off progress on the Global Console, which now understands all network requests and also supports stdin/stdout and some handy timing utilities.
  • Anton Kovalyov showed off an initial integration of Codemirror as the source editor for the devtools, replacing the current Orion editor.
  • Nick Fitzgerald got sourcemaps working with the debugger and gave us a demo of Coffeescript debugging.
  • Joe Walker re-factored gcli commands to de-couple processing from presentation, making it much easier to implement multiple commands that use a common data formatter.
  • Last but not least, Victor Porov walked us through a fully-operational Network Panel that is nearly ready to land!
  • Stephen Shorlander showed off some great first steps on defining what in-browser web app development might look like.

Developer tools + Jetpack == Super Powers!

On Tuesday Paul Rouget walked us through the fledgling developer tools API and challenged the Jetpack team to see how working with the developers could be made simpler. By Friday Irakli answered the challenge by showing us a Jetpack add-on called ‘Add-on Pad’ for live-coding SDK-based add-ons.

Dave Camp had a slightly different take on Jetpack’s possibilities and by the end of the week was able to show off a version of the Developer Tools code-base that could be dynamically re-loaded from disk using Jetpack’s CommonJS loader, without the need to re-build or even restart Firefox.

Not to be outdone, Dave Townsend made some tweaks to tilt mode to expose it to add-ons and even scratchpad hacks to change how tilt visualizes a page based on arbitrary code that could be injected either via an add-on or from scratchpad.

Paul also released a new version of his excellent Firefox Terminal add-on recently which you should go install it immediately! Right now! I’ll still be here when you get back.

Add-on developer love

The developer tools team has been focused like a laser on improving life for web developers, but Firefox itself is created and extended with web technologies like JS and CSS. At this first Devtools work week that included the Jetpack team we saw some really promising work:

  • Eddy Bruel tackled several bugs I don’t completely understand and by the end of the week showed us debugging for almost all browser chrome and add-on Javascript code. There are still some known limitations to work through ( not all add-ons or content scripts can be debugged currently ) but the Browser is already very useful to developers as of today’s Nightly build.
  • Mihai Sucan and Alexandre Poirot made changes to both the SDK and the Global Console that will pipe any calls to console.log in Jetpack code to the Global Console, greatly improving ‘printf’-style debugging for add-on developers.

Some of these hacks landed last week during the work week, many will be landing over the next couple weeks. If you’d like to get involved in driving these features home, find us in #devtools and #jetpack on irc.mozilla.org or the Developer Tools project mailing list at mozilla.dev.developer-tools.

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