In this issue…

Firefox 3.5 Release Candidate!

The Firefox 3.5 Release Candidate is now available for download and testing. We need feedback on several things in this milestone, including all 70+ localizations, new privacy tools, open audio and video, performance and stability improvements, geolocation features, native JSON support, web worker threads, downloadable fonts, CSS media queries, and a whole host of other changes and new features. Developers should read the Firefox 3.5 for Developers article, and everyone should read through the release notes before installing this release candidate.

Extend Firefox 3.5 contest

Extend Firefox is a worldwide developer contest that will be giving out prizes for the best new Firefox Add-ons developed for Firefox 3.5. Last year’s contest (for Firefox 3) received over 100 add-on submissions, and with Firefox 3.5 raising the bar in terms of features, we expect this year’s competition to be intense. Top prizes include MacBook Pro laptops, professional development tools, software and books. For all the details, head over to the Mozilla Add-ons blog and read the full contest announcement.

Help Firefox users transition to 3.5

The Firefox Support (SUMO) team is looking for help! When Firefox 3.5 launches they’re hoping to provide friendly, prompt and personal support to new Firefox 3.5 users through the knowledge base, forums, and live chat service. If you’re an experienced Firefox user, you can help the team by joining the dedicated SUMO community for the first week or two after the final Firefox 3.5 release and volunteering some of your time and expertise to help new users. If you would like to help, there’s more information about what you can do and how to get started over at the Firefox Support Blog.

More Firefox 3.5 hacks and demos

The Firefox Hacks team has continued to post feature articles and demos for some of the new Firefox 3.5 features at the Hacks weblog. Recent topics include: DOM traversal in Firefox 3.5, Using HTML5 video with fallbacks to other formats, Color correction for images in Firefox 3.5, an update on open video codecs and quality, and geolocation with open street maps. All of these demos and more can be found at hacks.mozilla.org.

Multi-process Firefox, Phase I demo

Benjamin Smedberg recently posted about the motivation for splitting Firefox into multiple processes, and now Chris Jones has posted a video (Ogg format, viewable with Firefox 3.5) that demonstrates what the team has accomplished so far. The demo is of the nearly-Phase I-complete browser, and represents a lot of hard work done by the team. See Chris’ blog post for more information.

SUMO 1.1 – screencasts are here!

Chris Ilias writes, “Last week, the fixes for SUMO 1.1 were applied to support.mozilla.com. The big news: SUMO now supports screencasts! Firefox 3.0.x users will be able to view screencasts in Flash format, but we also support the open video format called Ogg/Theora. Firefox 3.5 users will be able to view Ogg/Theora videos without the need for a plugin. What makes screencasts on SUMO especially great is that the SUMO knowledge base is a wiki. Adding a screencast to an article can be done by anyone!” The SUMO team has put together a tutorial about how to add screencasts, including a list of software you can use to create them. Other details are available on Chris’ post.

Localizing the Getting Started page

Seth Bindernagel has written an interesting article in which he talks about the power of localized Getting Started pages, and why he believes they are a critical step in helping users optimize their experience on the Web. The example he uses is the Danish version of the Getting Started page, where the team experimented with featuring the Danish dictionary add-on. “The experiment resulted in a bit of a surprise. The link became the most popular click-through on the page!” Read the rest of Seth’s article on his weblog.

Open video and the price of freedom

Robert O’Callahan writes, “With the imminent release of Firefox 3.5 and the big step forward for unencumbered video and audio that this represents, there’s been a lot of discussion about the merits of the free Ogg codecs vs the flagship encumbered codecs. The real question that matters is this: at comparable bit rates, in real-world situations, do normal people perceive a significant quality advantage for H.264 over Theora? Because if they don’t, theoretical technical advantages are worthless.” Some tests have been run and, “in these tests, it seems pretty clear that there is no real advantage for H.264, or even that Theora is doing better.” Robert’s full post is available on his weblog.

Mozilla Add-ons: a week of collections

The Add-ons team launched the new collections feature on addons.mozilla.org (AMO) over a week ago, and the response has been amazing. Justin Scott writes, “Above the Fold has details on press coverage, and we’re happy to see so many bloggers and news sites creating their own collections. Reading the articles, it was very exciting to see that people really understood collections and their potential.” During the first week, add-on users created more than 11,000 collections, comprising 140,000 instances of 3500 different add-ons. Over 245,000 add-on downloads were served from collection view pages, not including downloads served from other pages accessed through collections. In addition, the Add-on Collector has been downloaded 46,000 times.

Infectious Designs + Mozilla Firefox

Jay Patel has been heading up a new Community Art Project to inspire creative contributors to join us in making the internet better for everyone. “Today we unveil some amazing designs by 5 Infectious artists that we asked to help kick off the project. We challenged them to create art inspired by Firefox and the values that drive the Mozilla project. The result? Original art pieces that reflect the innovation, openness, opportunity and idealism that Mozilla represents.” The designs are available as iPhone skins, car decals, desktop wallpaper, and iPhone wallpaper through Infectious.com, as T-shirts at the Mozilla Community Store, and as Personas for your Firefox browser. To read more about this collection and the Community Art Project, read Jay’s post.

Embedding the error console in Fennec

One thing many developers don’t realize is that any Mozilla-based application automatically supports displaying and using the JavaScript Error Console, you simply need to launch the application using the -jsconsole command line flag. Making this work on a mobile device, however, is a bit trickier. Mark Finkle writes, “Trying to debug problems in Fennec while running on a mobile device can be a pain. To make it easier to view errors, we added the Error Console as a browser panel in Fennec. It’s hidden by default — you need to use about:config to display it.” Read the rest of Mark’s post (which includes screenshots of the Fennec Error Console) at his weblog.

Shutting down XSS with Content Security Policy

For several years, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks have plagued many of the web’s most popular sites and victimized their users. At Mozilla, a team has been working on a new technology called Content Security Policy (CSP), designed to shut these attacks down. Brandon Sterne has written an article that gives some of the background of the project and provides an update of the progress so far.

Madrid Mozilla Technologies Course

The Madrid Mozilla Technologies Course is a three-month blended learning course organized by the Mozilla Foundation, Mozilla Europe and the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (Madrid Spain). The course starts July 1st 2009 and will finish October 15th. Most of the course is on-line and can be followed by students using the web, mailing lists, wikis, IRC, etc. Students who follow the course with success will obtain a degree from the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and a diploma from the Mozilla Foundation/Mozilla Europe. For more information, see the course website. Note that registration closes on June 30th.

Lifehacker’s Top 10 Firefox 3.5 features

With the release of Firefox 3.5 right around the corner, Lifehacker has put together its list of “Top 10 Firefox 3.5 Features“. These include: open video, the geolocation API, TraceMonkey JavaScript engine, Color profile support, Private browsing mode, Smarter session restore, Keyword AwesomeBar filters, tear-off tabs, Forget this site, and Undo closed window. If you’re champing at the bit to get a look at these, you can download the newly released Firefox 3.5 Release Candidate now (and help test!)

Upcoming events

The Mozilla community is organizing an increasing number of events and meetups all the time, and we include a list of these here every week. If you have events you would like listed, send them along to: about-mozilla*at*mozilla.com.

* Wed, Jun 24 – Mountain View, CA – Testing Mozilla web properties
* Thu, Jun 25 – Online – Support Firefox Day
* Thu, Jun 25 – Mountain View, CA – Mozilla Labs Meetup
* Fri, Jun 26 – Online – Fennec web compatibility testing
* Sun, Jun 28 – Fastest Firefox videos deadline!
* Fri, Jul 10 – Online – Firefox 3.5 Security Testday
* Sept 14-21 – Everywhere! – Mozilla Service Week

Developer calendar

For an up-to-date list of the coming week’s Mozilla project meetings and events, please see the Mozilla Community Calendar wiki page. Notes from previous meetings are linked to through the Calendar as well.

About about:mozilla

about:mozilla is by, for and about the Mozilla community, focusing on major news items related to all aspects of the Mozilla Project. The newsletter is written by Deb Richardson and is published every Tuesday morning. If you have any news or announcements you would like to have included in our next issue, please send them to: about-mozilla[at]mozilla.com.

If you would like to get this newsletter by email, just head on over to the about:mozilla newsletter subscription form. Fresh news, every Tuesday, right to your inbox.

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Related posts:

  1. Multi-Process Support Coming to Firefox?
  2. about:mozilla – Firefox 3.5, Firefox Hacks, add-ons, Design Challenge, community scaling, Fennec, Camino, Firebug, and more…
  3. Mozilla Developer Preview Now Available With Out-of-Process Plugins
  4. about:mozilla – accessibility projects, SFX rewards, triage team, testdays, hacks, t-shirts, and more…
  5. Mozilla Introduces Add-on Collections

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