For the last year and a half or so my Mozilla work has been primarily focused on the Fennec project (Firefox for mobile devices). It’s been a great experience for a number of reasons, not least because we basically set out to create an entirely new Gecko-based browser front-end from scratch. That forced us to re-evaluate design decisions made in Firefox, and let us try something new with far fewer compatibility constraints. We ended up with new ways of doing default bookmarks, a trimmed-down version of the awesomebar, a new way of displaying pages so that panning is faster, entirely different UIs for many of the important browser functions (bookmarks, download manager, add-ons, preferences, common dialogs, etc.), among others. Some of the work we did also benefited Firefox directly, and a lot of the work that didn’t still has the potential to benefit Firefox with a little bit of extra porting/re-factoring effort.

In addition to being a fun project to work on code-wise, it also gave me the opportunity to work in a team that’s been rapidly growing. Since I got involved, a bunch of new contributors have joined in with contributions to the front-end: bcombee, stechz, vingtetun, fabrice, froystig and mwu, to name a few. Combined with the rest of the mobile team and the Mozilla project in general, the project’s in pretty good shape to kick butt in 2010 and beyond.

With the mobile team in good shape, and with Fennec 1.0 in the RC stage, I’m taking advantage of the new year to transition out of my focus on mobile and return my primary focus to “desktop-edition” Firefox. While I’ve had a great time on-loan to the mobile team, I’ve also missed working closely with the Firefox team on pieces of the product that got me involved with Mozilla in the first place, and I feel that I have some responsibilities that I haven’t been able to keep up with as much as I should while focusing entirely on Mobile.

So in the immediate future, I’m looking forward to contributing more actively to the Firefox team’s Q1 goals, but I’m not disappearing from mobile, either. I expect to continue doing some reviews for changes to the mobile code I know well and will generally help out where I can. I’m also still quite interested in eliminating many of the things that cause us to treat the projects as separate entities (on a code-level as well as organizationally). I think that ideally, having to choose between focusing on either “Fennec or Firefox” should make less sense as the two projects evolve and as mobile gets more established, and I’d like to work towards making that happen.

To that end, I’ll be writing up some of the lessons we’ve learned in mobile in the coming weeks, and talking about how to integrate those into Firefox.

4 thoughts on “Transition

  1. Mark Finkle

    I have to echo what Doug said. Your guidance and experience will be missed. Thanks for all the help that only someone who’s done it all before could give.

    Please don’t go! 🙂

    Fine, but if the desktop browser ever gets too boring, remember we have some cool, shiny toys.

  2. Pingback: Browsersphere: Around the Browsersphere #15

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