Webtools in 2012: Part 2

A couple of weeks ago I put up a blog post about what we did on Socorro in 2012.  I promised another blog post about all the non-Socorro things we did.  I have probably missed some things, but here’s the list:


Elmo is a localization management dashboard.  We worked this into a Playdoh app, completed a redesign, built a new homepage, deployed it on new infrastructure, moved it to a new domain, added metrics and launched the app!


Bouncer is the download redirector and is one of the oldest webapps at Mozilla. In 2012 we revived the project in order to support the stub installer.  We worked with IT to build out new dev, stage and prod clusters.  We added support for the redirects that stub installer needed, and made Bouncer SSL aware.  We also fixed a number of other issues.

Air Mozilla

We built and launched the brand-new Air Mozilla webapp, including support for Persona, secure/private streams, integrated event scheduling, and a bunch of other exciting features.


We worked with A-team to update graph server into Datazilla to support changes to make Talos more statistically reliable.


DXR is a code search tool based on static analysis of the code.  We ran a usability study and built mockups in preparation for the work we’ve been doing this year (new UI, MXR parity).

Etherpad / Etherpad Lite

We deployed Etherpad with Persona support, and added Persona and Teampad support to Etherpad Lite (staged on the PaaS so I won’t link it here).  We are working on security review of EL prior to deployment, and also on getting our changes upstreamed.


We developed the UI for a new IT maintenance and outage dashboard. Bonus: This looks like it will be part of the NOC we are going to build out in 2013.


We developed a product plan for building out a webtools-as-a-service offering for Marketplace.


We built an API that wraps LDAP, so if you want to write a Mozilla webapp that uses LDAP for auth you can use this library and avoid having to build your own LDAP code.

Balrog (AUS)

We built an admin UI for the new Automated Update Service for Release Engineering.


We developed a new UI for plugincheck. This is about to launch.


We developed code for a new crowdsourced DLL directory, based on the DLL information that we have in Socorro.  This is code complete and in a pre-launch state.

Mediawiki-Bugzilla plugin

We took over development and launched this plugin after Legneato left. It provides integration between Bugzilla and Mediawiki.

Privacy Hub

We developed a new set of pages (UI and code development) to hold Mozilla’s Privacy policies.  These will form part of mozilla.org.


We worked on the UX for Gaia, the user-facing layer of FirefoxOS.


We contributed many patches to Playdoh, the Mozilla version of Django.


We added support for contributor acknowledgments which was accepted upstream in Pootle.


We built out a new PTO app for reporting vacation. This was completed but did not launch as a different approach is being pursued.


We built out a new app for co-ordinating the Sheriffs calendar. This was completed but did not launch due to hiring a perma-sheriff (probably a better solution than a webapp).


We prototyped a monitoring and capacity planning dashboard for the build farm.  This project was later put on hold and did not launch.

Team growth and development

During the year, we welcomed new team members Selena Deckelmann and Erik Rose, and intern Tim Mickel.  We participated in several Mozilla workweeks, including a Stability themed work week with Engineering, a team-only workweek at DjangoCon, and a Webdev workweek.  We gave talks at several conferences and participated in HackerSchool.

We got better at working with Ops, QA, and RelEng and built trust and relationships with those groups.

We automated a bunch of processes, perhaps most notably building on pull requests with Leeroy (awesome!).


My New Year’s Resolution for 2012 was, “Do more. Go Faster.”  Mission accomplished.

If I could change anything it would be avoiding the rabbithole of projects that were later killed – it’s a waste of team effort.  We had a small handful of these.

Overall, it was an awesome, invigorating, and exhausting year. I hope we can do even more and cooler things in 2013.

One point to note is that we are a broadly distributed and largely remote team, but we work well together and ship a lot of stuff.  We are currently spread across Mountain View, northern California, Oregon (multiple locations), Maryland (multiple locations), France, and South Africa.

My thanks to the Webtools team: Adrian Gaudebert, Brandon Savage, Chris Lonnen, Erik Rose, K Lars Lohn, Peter Bengtsson, Rob Helmer, Schalk Neethling, and Selena Deckelmann; and interns Tim Mickel and Tony Young.  You are all awesome.