Neil's Place

September 23, 2003

5:51 PM OK. This is the last one.

There are so many different groups of people using or writing for different aspects of Mozilla, it's impossible to cater to everyone's needs. My recent posts have been based on comments made by others, not necessarily my thoughts. In fact, I didn't have strong opinion on the developer issues I raised until recently.

However, I did want to ensure that comments by dbaron, Boris, Pete Collins and mozdev.org project owners were addressed. There is a rift between groups, whether it be between Seamonkey and Firebird, user and developer, or something else. There are various developers (application, extensions, theme, or otherwise) that "think Mozilla.org is [not] doing a good job *clearly* articulating at a higher level the direction the project is heading."

Axel Hecht tried unsuccessfully to get mozdev developers to come up with a set of goals and requirements so that we'd know what issues needed to be addressed. I think that is a great idea. What happened though? The discussion quickly went off-topic and a new Mozilla branch/fork/project was created.

Sure, end-users are important. You can debate about gaining market share for months. Maybe Firebird will achieve world domination. Maybe it won't. There wouldn't be many developers without any end-users. (Of course, there wouldn't be any end-users without developers either.)

The point is, whatever the developer rift is, there is one, and we need to find a way to address it. Petending it doesn't exist isn't helping.

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2:27 PM So many thoughts, so few bullets

There are so many thoughts going on in my head over the last few days. It's hard to come up with a clear response to things. So I won't.

I will, however, do what Danny does by Turning a Blogger Off.

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September 22, 2003

2:44 PM Using Sockets in Mozilla

Now available: a simple guide to using sockets in Mozilla, with an example.

I also added some links to the book Creating Applications with Mozilla in the SDK guide.

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September 21, 2003

4:11 PM More on Mozilla Direction

Asa's weblog provides some commentary on my recent post about Mozilla developers. As would be expected, the comments there go off topic a bit.

I just wanted to clarify something. Asa quotes the following that I wrote:

Developers are getting frustrated by the direction Mozilla is taking and are unsure about developing for a moving target.

He then responds by saying that there are many more extensions for Firebird than the Mozilla Suite. That may be true, but I think that's primarily due to a much heavier marketing effort, the momentum of which creates more extensions and therefore even more interest. The quote mentioned doesn't mention extensions nor does it mention Firebird. Actually, I was refering to the refocus of Mozilla as an end-user product instead of a platform, not on the switch to Firebird. The mozdev.org developers such as myself who have projects that aren't extensions, are frustrated over the ever-changing APIs and the apparent lack of documentation and communication of changes.

Whether the Mozilla Suite is used or the Birds are used really doesn't matter. If people overall prefer Firebird, that's fine. Let's use it instead. We're just concerned that the new end-user focus is going to be at the compromise of the developer.

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September 19, 2003

3:03 PM Mozilla Developer Documentation

Over the years there has been numerous attempts to improve the documentation for Mozilla. Unfortunately, all of these attempts have failed because everyone spends too much time arguing about organization, style sheets, and naming conventions, and no one gets around to writing any documentation. Mozilla developers need some organized and detailed information about how to build applications, with examples.

So I've set up a big Mozilla SDK Table of Contents. Currently, it provides only links to existing documentation such as the XUL tutorial and the book Creating XPCOM Components.

I'll add as much to it as I can. If you have additional documentation to add, please, just write it. Select a section from the table of contents and write it. There won't be any meta-discussion since you only have two choices:

  • Host it on your own site which means you can do what like.
  • Host it on xulplanet.com which means you can write documentation the way I tell you to.

That may sound a bit harsh, but it's the only way to get things done. Eventually, I'll get around to providing a template you can just use, and adding a user notes section like just php.net has. Or, I will do the formatting for you.

Also, any comments about additional sections to add would be most welcome.

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September 18, 2003

4:52 PM Using the Mozilla Preferences API

Someone asked for documentation on using the Mozilla preferences service. So I wrote an introduction.

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September 17, 2003

John now has a weblog
And, as expected, it's weird!

9:24 PM On the twelfth day of software devlopment, I received Twelve New Users

"People who write reviews in magazines and web sites aren't your target user. You may get a bad review if your product doesn't meet their qualifications, regardless of whether it would meet those of your users."

Read more about Marketability

This is also the final section of this series. What originally started as a response to a comment on a weblog grew into a twelve part series collecting togther various thoughts I've had over the last couple of years. I'm surprised I actually managed to write a section every day.

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September 16, 2003

10:01 PM On the eleventh day of software devlopment, I received Eleven Mysterious Email Attachments

"Many people are reluctant to enter their age or even their gender on a web form. This is true, even despite that one can usually determine this information or approximate it by looking at you as you sit down on the bus. And someone sitting on the bus is far, far more likely to cause harm to you than Yahoo's database administrator living 2000 miles away ever could."

Read more about Security

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