Migrating off Wordpress

This post is a celebration of finishing a migration off of Wordpress for this site and on to flat files, built by Jekyll from Markdown files. I'm definitely looking forward to writing more Markdown and fewer HTML tags.

90% of the work was done by jekyll-import to roughly pull my wordpress data into Markdown files, and then I spent a late night with Vim macros and sed to massage it the way I wanted it.

If all I wanted to do was have my posts up, I'd be done, but having the option to accept comments is important to me and I wasn't comfortable using a platform like Disqus because I didn't want to force people to use a 3rd party.

Since my posts only average one or two comments I ended up using a slightly modified jekyll-static-comments to simply put a form on the page and email me any comments (effectively, a moderation queue). If it's not spam, it's easy to create a .comment file and it will appear on the site.

My original goal was to host this all on Github but they only allow a short list of plugins and the commenting system isn't on there so I'll stick with my own host for now.

Please let me know if you see anything broken.

The Great Add-on Bug Triage

The AMO team is meeting this week to discuss road maps and strategies and among the topics is our backlog of open bugs. Since mid-2011 there has averaged around 1200 bugs open at any one time.

Currently any interaction with AMO's bugs is too time consuming: finding good first bugs, triaging existing bugs, organizing a chunk of bugs to fix in a milestone -- they all require interacting with a list of 1200 bugs, many of which are years old and full of discussions by people who no longer contribute to the bugs. The small chunks of time I (and others) get to work on AMO are consumed by digging through these old bugs and trying to apply them to the current site.

In an effort to get this list to a manageable size the AMO team is aggressively triaging and closing bugs this week, hopefully ending the week with a realistic list of items we can hope to accomplish. With that list in hand we can prioritize the bugs, divide them into milestones, and begin to lobby for developer time.

Many of the bugs which are being closed are good ideas and we'd like to fix them, but we simply need to be realistic about what we can actually do with the resources we have. If you contribute patches to any of the bugs, please feel free to reopen them.

Thanks for being a part of AMO.

Retiring AMO's Landfill

A few years ago we deployed a landfill for AMO - a place where people could play around with the site without affecting our production install and developers could easily get some data to import into their local development environment.

I think the idea was sound (it was modeled after Bugzilla's landfill) and it was moderately successful but it never grew like I had hoped and even after being available for so long, it had very little usable data in it. It could help you get a site running, but if you wanted to, say, test pagination you'd still need to create enough objects to actually have more than one page.

A broader and more scalable alternative is a script which can make as many or as few objects in the database as you'd like. Want 500 apps? No problem. Want 10000 apps in one category so you can test how categories scale? Sure. Want those 10000 apps owned by a single user? That should be as easy as running a command line script.

That's the theory anyway. The idea is being explored on the wiki for the Marketplace (and AMO developers are also in the discussion). If you're interested in being involved or seeing our progress watch that wiki page or join #marketplace on irc.mozilla.org.

Marketplace Update for Q2

Every quarter the apps team gets together to meet people and talk about all the pieces of the projects. This quarter we're doing a little different format which I think will turn out to be a lot more social and hopefully keep things interesting. As part of the project I put together this short video talking about Q2 for the Marketplace. Thanks to all the developers working on the Marketplace, Andy McKay for the payments videos, and Katt Taylor for helping piece it together.


You can download this video.

...and yeah, when I say "mammoth feat" I'm totally thinking of "mammoth feet."

Improving our process; part 2: Public Priorities

Part 1: Identifying Priorities

As promised, there is now a public view of upcoming work on the Firefox Marketplace. This dashboard shows a rough representation of our thought process when we evaluated each project using the criteria from Part 1. If you hover over the titles there are also some helpful descriptions and questions we asked ourselves. Clicking a project title will expand to show some information about the project as well as any notes about the scoring. Some of the projects have been grandfathered in to this process so they are a bit light on details, but if you look at a project like Support Low Memory Firefox OS Devices (128MB) you'll see the potential.

We're still working on the right people to get in the room to do the scoring. Mailing lists are hard because of the lack of easy discussion but in person is hard due to scheduling and not wasting time bikeshedding. We'll get better as we get experience, our main focus at this point is staying consistent with the scoring - being sure to consider the entire ecosystem when assigning a value.

There are still a lot of projects to evaluate but I'm really excited about being able to link to a backlog of projects and easily point out which are a high priority and why. As always, feedback welcome.