The Firefox engineering program management team formed at the end of 3Q 2011. The team is currently comprised of Sheila Mooney (smooney – our fearless leader), Martin Best (mbest), Erin Lancaster (elancaster), and me (Lawrence Mandel – lmandel). Our first whole quarter as a team was 4Q 2011. Looking back over the last three months, I find it quite amazing how far the reach of the team has expanded in this time. Here’s a short summary of the efforts in which the team was involved in 4Q 2011. You can also track our team against our 4Q goals.
Back in October it was decided to rewrite the Firefox mobile UI as a native Android application. This is no small feat. Erin stepped up as the project manager for this effort and has been doing an amazing job. If you haven’t seen the progress that this team has made in 3 months check out the latest Nightly or Aurora builds. I can’t wait to see this effort reach the first release of the new native Android application early in 2012.
Transforming the Firefox update experience into a silent update experience is another big task that requires changes to the way the browser handles update related prompting including restart, Windows user account control (UAC), and information pages, the update operation itself, and add-on compatibility. Lawrence has been managing this effort, which landed changes for the restart prompt, the what’s new page, and add-ons default to compatible in Q4. The remaining changes are slated to land in 1Q 2012 with all features being released in the 1H 2012.
In an effort to better understand our project’s use of bugzilla, Martin conducted a series of interviews with Mozilla contributors on various teams. The goal of this project is to understand how people use bugzilla. Martin put together a good blog post that provides details about this important project.
Sheila continued to run the ever important Crashkill program that monitors and acts on Firefox stability issues. Along with supporting Firefox desktop, the Crashkill program has been actively contributing crash reports to the new mobile native UI rewrite.
Lawrence picked up management of Telemetry with the immediate goals of improving the Telemetry adoption rate, improving the consumability of the Telemetry dashboard, and increasing adoption of the framework by the implementation of more probes. 4Q saw the release of v2 of the Telemetry dashboard and the initial efforts to improve adoption of this data collection framework among the users on the various Firefox channels. 1Q 2012 will see an improved Telemetry adoption rate, continued work on the dashboard, and even more probes.
In October Firefox project leadership made a decision to put the electrolysis effort on hold to focus resources on short term responsiveness gains. The result of this is project Snappy, which kicked off late in 4Q. Lawrence is managing Snappy, which includes broad membership from various front-end and platform teams. In 1Q we plan to move from investigation to solutions. Look for changes to start landing as early as 1Q.
Martin kicked off a new effort late in the 4Q to make Firefox an awesome platform for HTML5 based game development. There is lots more coming in 1Q on this active effort. You can follow along on the HTML5 games wiki page.