Friend of Add-ons: Jocelyn Li

Firefox

Our newest Friend of Add-ons is Jocelyn Li! Jocelyn has been an active code contributor to addons.mozilla.org (AMO) since May 2018, when she found a frontend issue that involved broken CSS. She had known that Mozilla welcomed code contributions from community members, but hadn’t been sure if she was qualified to participate. As she looked at the CSS bug, she thought, “This doesn’t look that hard; maybe I can fix it,” and submitted her first patch a few hours later. She has been an avid contributor ever since.

Jocelyn says that contributing to a large public project like Mozilla has helped her grow professionally, thanks in part to positive interactions with staff members during code review. “They always give constructive comments and guide contributors,” she says. “When I learn either technical or non-technical skills, I can apply them to my own job.”

Mozilla and contributors alike benefit from the open source model, Jocelyn believes. “Mozilla receives contributions from the community. Contributors are like seeds all over the world and promote Mozilla’s projects or languages and improve their own companies at the same time.”

One of Jocelyn’s passions is learning new languages. Currently, she is learning Rust for a work project that uses node.js in typescript with tp-ts and Japanese to acclimate to Tokyo, where she moved earlier this year. “Every language provides different perspectives to us,” she notes. “One language may have terms or syntaxes that another language doesn’t have. It’s like acquiring a new skill.”

In her spare time, she enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, and learning how to play the cello. “I always feel like 24 hours in a day is not enough for me,” she says.

Thank you for your contributions, Jocelyn!

If you are interested in getting involved with the add-ons community, please take a look at our wiki for some opportunities to contribute to the project.

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Friend of Add-ons: B.J. Herbison

Firefox

Please meet our newest Friend of Add-ons, B.J. Herbison! B.J. is a longtime Mozillian and joined add-on content review team for addons.mozilla.org two years ago, where he helps quickly respond to spam submissions and ensures that public listings abide by Mozilla’s Acceptable Use Policy.

A software developer with a knack for finding bugs, B.J. is an avid user of ASan Nightly and is passionate about improving open source software. “The best experience is when I catch a bug in Nightly and it gets fixed before that code ships,” B.J. says. “It doesn’t happen every month, but it happens enough to feel good.”

Following his retirement in 2017, B.J. spends his time working on software and web development programs, volunteering at a local food pantry, and traveling the world with his wife. He also enjoys collecting and studying coins, and playing Dungeons and Dragons. “I’ve played D&D with some of the other players for over forty years, and some other players are under half my age,” B.J. says.

Thank you so much for your contributions to keeping our ecosystem safe and healthy, B.J.!

If you are interested in getting involved with the add-ons community, please take a look at our current contribution opportunities.

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Recommended Extensions & community involvement

Firefox

Firefox Logo on blue backgroundIn July we launched the Recommended Extensions program, which entailed a complete reboot of our editorial process on addons.mozilla.org (AMO). Previously we placed a priority on regularly highlighting new featured extensions to explore. With the Recommended program, we’ve shifted our focus to actively monitoring a fairly fixed collection of curated extensions.

For years community contributors on the Featured Extensions Board played a big role in selecting AMO’s monthly curated content. We intend to maintain a community project aligned with the Recommended program. We’re in the process now of reshaping the project to be known as the Recommended Extensions Community Board. As before, the board will be comprised of contributors who possess a keen passion for, and expertise of, browser extensions. Board membership will rotate every six months.

The add-ons team is currently constructing the first Recommended Extensions Community Board. To help shape the foundation of this project, we’re aiming to fill the debut board with some of our most prolific past editorial contributors. In general, the Recommended Extensions Community Board will focus on:

  • Ongoing evaluation of current Recommended extensions. All Recommended extensions are under active development. As such, contributors will participate in ongoing re-evaluations to ensure the curated list maintains a high overall quality standard.
  • Evaluating new submissions. As mentioned above, we do not anticipate significant amounts of churn on the Recommended list. That said, Firefox users want the latest and greatest extensions available, so the board will also play a role in evaluating new candidate submissions.
  • Special projects. Each board will also focus on a special project or two. For instance, we may closely examine a specific type of content within the Recommended list (e.g. let’s look at all of the Recommended bookmark managers; is this the strongest collection of bookmark managers we can compile?)

Future boards (rotating every six months) will have an open enrollment process. When the time arrives to form the next board, we’ll post information on the application process here on this blog and our other communication channels.

If you are interested in exploring the current curated list, here are all Recommended extensions.

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Friend of Add-ons: Martin Giger

Firefox

Our newest Friend of Add-ons is Martin Giger! Martin is a leader and member of the Mozilla Switzerland community, an extension developer, and a frequent contributor to Mozilla’s community forums, where he helps people find answers to their questions about extension development. If you have ever visited our forums or joined one of our channels on IRC, there’s a good chance you’ve seen Martin kindly and patiently helping people resolve their issues. (He has also written a great blog post about how to effectively ask for help when you get stuck on a problem.)

Martin began contributing to Mozilla in the early 2010s when he began localizing a Thunderbird extension into German and building his first Firefox extension. He also became involved with the Nightingle Media Player project, an open-source audio player and web browser based on the Mozilla XULRunner.

Since then, Martin has contributed to a number of add-on projects, including the Add-on SDK, the add-ons linter, the site addons.mozilla.org, and the WebExtensions API. Always interested in finding creative technical solutions to solve problems he encounters in everyday life, he has recently been tinkering with Mozilla’s Web of Things platform, rewriting a Twitter tool used by the Mozilla Switzerland community, and managing web-related activities for the concert band he plays in.

In addition to spending time with Mozillians online, Martin also enjoys socializing in person with members of his local community. “Doing things with local contributors is meaningful,” he remarks. “No matter what they contributed to, meeting up with people and talking about things you’re passionate about makes Mozilla something you can grasp (and not just something you spend time in front of a computer on).”

Martin, the entire add-ons team extends their gratitude and appreciation to you for your kindness, willingness to help others, and sound judgement. Thank you for all of your contributions to our ecosystem!

If you are interested in getting involved with the add-ons community, please take a look at our wiki for some opportunities to contribute to the project.

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Friend of Add-ons: Shivam Singhal

Firefox

Please meet our newest Friend of Add-ons, Shivam Singhal! Shivam became involved with the add-ons community in April 2017. Currently, he is an extension developer, Mozilla Rep, and code contributor to addons.mozilla.org (AMO). He also helps mentor good-first-bugs on AMO.

“My skill set grew while contributing to Mozilla,” Shivam says of his experiences over the last two years. “Being the part of a big community, I have learned how to work remotely with a cross-cultural team and how to mentor newbies. I have met some super awesome people like [AMO engineers] William Durand and Rebecca Mullin. The AMO team is super helpful to newcomers and works actively to help them.”

This year, he’s looking forward to submitting patches to the WebExtensions API and Add-ons Manager in Firefox, and mentoring more new code contributors. Shivam has advice for anyone who is interested in contributing to Mozilla’s add-ons projects. “If you are shy or not feeling comfortable commenting on an issue, you can fill out the add-ons contributor survey and someone will help you get started. That’s what I did. You can also check https://whatcanidoformozilla.org for other ways to get involved.”

In his free time, Shivam enjoys watching stand-up comedy and sci-fi web series, exploring food at cafes, and going through pull requests on the AMO frontend repository.

Thanks for all of your contributions, Shivam! Your enthusiasm for the add-ons ecosystem is contagious, and it’s been a pleasure watching you grow.

To learn more about how to get involved with the add-ons community, check out our Contribute wiki.

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Friend of Add-ons: Jyotsna Gupta

Firefox

Our newest Friend of Add-ons is Jyotsna Gupta! Jyotsna first became involved with Mozilla in 2015 when she became a Firefox Student Ambassador and started a Firefox club at her college. She has contributed to several projects at Mozilla, including localization, SuMo, and WebMaker, and began exploring Firefox OS app development after attending a WoMoz community meetup in her area.

In 2017, a friend introduced Jyotsna to browser extension development. Always curious and interested in trying new things, she created PrivateX, an extension that protects user privacy by opening websites that ask for critical user information in a private browsing window and removing Google Analytics tracking tokens. With her newfound experience developing extensions, Jyotsna began mentoring new extension developers in her local community, and joined the Featured Extensions Advisory Board.

After wrapping up two consecutive terms on the board, she served on the judging panel for the Firefox Quantum Extensions Challenge, evaluating more than 100 extensions to help select finalists for each award category. Currently, she is an add-on content reviewer on addons.mozilla.org and a Mozilla Rep. She frequently speaks about cross-browser extension development at regional events.

When asked about her experience contributing to Mozilla, Jyotsna says, “It has been a wonderful learning experience for me as a Mozillian. When I was a student, Mozilla was something that I could add to my profile to enhance my resume. There was a time when I refrained myself from speaking up, but today, I’m always ready to speak in front of a huge number of people. Getting involved with Mozilla helped me in meeting like-minded people around the globe, working with diverse teams, learned different cultures, gained global exposure and a ton of other things. 
And I’m fortunate enough to have wonderful mentors around me, boosting me up to see a brighter side in every situation.”

Jyotsna also has advice for newcomers to open source projects. “To the contributors who are facing imposter syndrome, trust me, you aren’t alone. We were all there once. We are here for you. May the force be with you.”

Thank you so much for your many wonderful contributions, Jyotsna!

To learn more about how to get involved in the add-ons community, please take a look at our wiki to see current contribution opportunities.

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Apply to Join the Featured Extensions Advisory Board

Firefox

Do you love extensions? Do you have a keen sense of what makes a great extension? Want to help users discover extensions that will improve how they experience the web? If so, please consider applying to join our Featured Extensions Community Board!

Board members nominate and select new featured extensions each month to help millions of users find top-quality extensions to customize their Firefox browsers. Click here to learn more about the duties of the Featured Extension Advisory Board. The current board is currently wrapping up their six-month tour of duty and we are now assembling a new board of talented contributors for the months January – June, 2019.

Extension developers, designers, advocates, and fans are all invited to apply to join the board. Priority will be given to applicants who have not served on the board before, followed by those from previous boards, and finally from the outgoing board.

To apply, please send us an email at amo-featured [at] mozilla [dot] org with your name and a few sentences about how you’re involved with AMO and why you are interested in joining the board. The deadline is Monday, October 22, 2018 at 11:59pm PDT. The new board will be announced shortly thereafter.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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Building Extension APIs with Friend of Add-ons Oriol Brufau

Firefox

Please meet Oriol Brufau, our newest Friend of Add-ons! Oriol is one of 23 volunteer community members who have landed code for the WebExtensions API in Firefox since the technology was first introduced in 2015. You may be familiar with his numerous contributions  if you have set a specific badge text color for your browserAction, highlighted multiple tabs with the tabs.query API, or have seen your extension’s icon display correctly in about:addons.

While our small engineering team doesn’t always have the resources to implement every approved request for new or enhanced WebExtensions APIs, the involvement of community members like Oriol adds considerable depth and breadth to technology that affects millions of users. However, the Firefox code base is large, complex, and full of dependencies. Contributing code to the browser can be difficult even for experienced developers.

As part of celebrating Oriol’s achievements, we asked him to share his experience contributing to the WebExtensions API with the hope that it will be helpful for other developers interested in landing more APIs in Firefox.

When did you first start contributing code to Firefox? When did you start contributing code to WebExtensions APIs?

I had been using Firefox Nightly, reporting bugs and messing with code for some time, but my first code contribution wasn’t until February 2016. This was maybe not the best choice for my first bug. I managed to fix it, though I didn’t have much idea about what the code was doing, and my patch needed some modifications by Jonathan Kew.

For people who want to start contributing, it’s probably a better idea to search Bugzilla for a bug with the ‘good-first-bug’ keyword. (Editor’s note: you can find mentored good-first-bugs for WebExtensions APIs here.)

I started contributing to the WebExtensions API in November 2017, when I learned that legacy extensions would stop working even if I had set the preference to enable legacy extensions in Nightly. Due to the absence of good compatible alternatives to some of my legacy add-ons, I tried to write them myself, but I couldn’t really do what I wanted because some APIs were buggy or lacked various features. Therefore, I started making proposals for new or enhanced APIs, implementing them, and fixing bugs.

What were some of the challenges to building and landing code for the WebExtensions API?

I wasn’t very familiar with WebExtensions APIs, so understanding their implementation was a bit difficult at first. Also, debugging the code can be tricky. Some code runs in the parent process and some in the content one, and the debugger can make Firefox crash.

Initially, I used to forget about testing for Android. Sometimes I had a patch that seemed to work perfectly for Linux, but it couldn’t land because it broke some Android tests. In fact, not being able to run Android tests locally in my PC is a big annoyance.

What resources did you use to overcome those challenges?

I use https://searchfox.org, a source code indexing tool for Firefox, which makes it easy to find the code that I want to modify, and I received some help from mentors in Bugzilla.

Reading the documentation helps but it’s not very detailed. I usually need to look at the Firefox or Chromium code in order to answer my questions.

Did any of your past experiences contributing code to Firefox help you create and land the WebExtensions APIs?

Yes. Despite being unfamiliar with WebExtensions APIs at first, I had a considerable experience with searching code using Searchfox, using ‘./mach build fast’ to recompile only the frontend, running tests, managing my patches with Mercurial, and getting them reviewed and landed.

Also, I already had commit access level 1, which allows me to run tests in the try servers. That’s helpful for ensuring everything works on Android.

What advice would you give people who want to build and land WebExtensions APIs in Firefox?

1. I didn’t find explanations for how the code is organized, so I would first summarize it.

The code is mainly distributed into three different folders:

  • /browser/components/extensions/:
  • /mobile/android/components/extensions/
  • /toolkit/components/extensions/

The ‘browser’ folder contains the code specific to Firefox desktop, the ‘android’ is specific to Firefox for Android, and ‘toolkit’ contains code shared for both.

Some APIs are defined directly in ‘toolkit’, and some are defined differently in ‘browser’ and ‘android’ but they can still share some code from ‘tookit’.

2. APIs are defined using JSON schemas. They are located in the ‘schemas’ subdirectory of the folders above, and describe the API properties and methods, determine which kind of parameters are accepted, etc.

3. The actual logic of the APIs is written in JavaScript files in the ‘parent’ and ‘child’ subdirectories, mostly the former.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

The existing Webextension APIs are now more mature, useful and reliable than they were when support for legacy extensions was dropped. It’s great that promising new APIs are on the way!

Thanks, Oriol! It is a pleasure to have you in the community and and we wish you all the best in  your future endeavors.

If you are interested in contributing to the WebExtensions API and are new to Firefox’s infrastructure, we recommend that you onboard to the Firefox codebase and then land a patch for a good-first-bug. If you are more familiar with Firefox infrastructure, you may want to implement one of the approved WebExtensions API requests.

For more opportunities to contribute to the add-ons ecosystem, please visit our Contribution wiki.

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Thank you, contributors!

Firefox

As a large, complex, and heavily visited site, it can be challenge for our small team to make sure that extension users and developers have a good experience on addons.mozilla.org (AMO). Fortunately, we are not alone. Thanks to volunteer contributors who share their time, energy, and talent, we’re able to extend our ability to extend the web by fixing reported bugs, implementing routine updates, landing new features, and moderating content listed on AMO.

We’d like to acknowledge and thank the following community members for their contributions to AMO from April – June 2018.

addons.mozilla.org (AMO)

Last quarter, 19 community members submitted 68 patches to fix a variety of frontend and backend issues on AMO, like removing obsolete code, keeping the content on the Developer Hub up-to-date, making it easier for users to rate add-ons, and making sure the user interface stays tidy. Many thanks to community members Biskit1, Ankush Chadda, Deepanshu Jain, Dominic Lee, gabbyjose, Lavish Aggarwal, Manish Devgan,  Piyush Mittal, Raffaele Spinelli, Revi, Sanyam Khurana, Sean Prashad, Shivam Shingal, Svitlana Galianova, Swarnava Sengupta, Trishul Goel, TwinProduction, Vimal Raghubir, and xu3u4 for their code contributions to improve AMO!

Extension & Theme Reviewers

No one enjoys coming across spam or unsavory themes while browsing AMO, or installing an extension that comes with a nasty surprise (like compromising user security). Our team of volunteer reviewers helps ensure that users have a good experience on AMO by moderating extensions and themes to make sure they comply with our Acceptable Use Policy and Add-on Policies.

We would like to extend a special thanks to this quarter’s top reviewers: erosman, rctgamer3, Ett Chung, B.J. Herbison, Jyotsna Gupta, happy-ferret, Pam, and candelora for their exceptional contributions to the review process during the last few months.

Community members contribute in many other ways to keep the add-ons ecosystem vibrant and strong. To learn more about these contributions, please visit our recognition wiki. To get involved, wiki for current contribution opportunities!

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Friend of Add-ons: Viswaprasath Ks

Firefox

Please meet our newest Friend of Add-ons, Viswaprasanth Ks! Viswa began contributing to Mozilla in January 2013, when he met regional community members while participating in a Firefox OS hackathon in Bangalore, India. Since then, he has been a member of the Firefox Student Ambassador Board, a Sr. Firefox OS app reviewer, and a Mozilla Rep and Tech Speaker.

In early 2017, Viswa began developing extensions for Firefox using the WebExtensions API. From the start, Viswa wanted to invite his community to learn this framework and create extensions with him. At community events, he would speak about extension development and help participants build their first extensions. These presentations served as a starting point for creating the Activate campaign “Build Your Own Extension.” Viswa quickly became a leader in developing the campaign and testing iterations with a variety of different audiences. In late 2017, he collaborated with community members Santosh Viswanatham and Trishul Goel to re-launch the campaign with a new event flow and more learning resources for new developers.

Viswa continues to give talks about extension development and help new developers become confident working with WebExtensions APIs. He is currently creating a series of videos about the WebExtensions API to be released this summer. When he isn’t speaking about extensions, he mentors students in the Tamilnadu region in Rust and Quality Assurance.

These experiences have translated into skills Viswa uses in everyday life. “I learned about code review when I became a Sr. Firefox OS app reviewer,” he says. “This skill helps me a lot at my office. I am able to easily point out errors in the product I am working on. The second important thing I learned by contributing to Mozilla is how to build and work with a diverse team. The Mozilla community has a lot of amazing people all around the world, and there are unique things to learn from each and every one.”

In his free time, Viswa watches tech-related talks on YouTube, plays chess online, and explores new Mozilla-related projects like Lockbox.

He’s also quick to add, “I feel each and every one who cares about the internet should become Mozilla contributors so the journey will be awesome in future.”

If that describes you and you would like get more involved with the add-ons community, please take a look at our wiki for some opportunities to contribute to the project.

Thank you so much for all of your contributions, Viswa! We’re proud to name you Friend of Add-ons.

 

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