Writing software, the wrong way

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Back on the yellow brick road

After a series of unfortunate events, things seem getting better. I got enough back that I can start working again.

I started looking through some of FirefoxADM and WetDog code a while back, and I have been grossly misjudged these programs. Neither of them actually turned out to be extensions. This isn't a bad thing actually. FirefoxADM seems to be a fancy visual basic script that reads the registry and makes pref changes. WetDog is some C++ code (I haven't analyzed it too closely).

One of the things that I was worried about early on was redoing the work that has already been done. That doesn't look like it's going to happen. However, now the thing is trying to get enough work done for the next release.

Mike Kaply has started doing some work on using overlays to disable certain functionality, and loading those overlays dynamically. I need another copy of that program, put it into an extension if it's not already, and lubricate the firefox tree and jam it in. I also want to be able to set those overlays based on some registry values (there is a big fuss in bugzilla on where these key/value pairs should be. But that seems to have gotten in the way of getting actual work done).

This will probably be a giant hack, but it will be a good start. And it can be refined later as the semester goes.

Also, Mike made a useful blog post getting comments from people who have enterprise experience trying to figure out what enterprises would like to see. This will do until I can find some enterprises to collaberate with.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A leap of faith

For the next three and a half months, I will be working on integrating Active Directory into Firefox. This may come as a shock (or not), but after working on Linux for anything remotely productive in the past 3 years, my Windows knowledge could use a fair bit of upgrading.

Why is Active Directory special?
It isn't useful for the general public, but rather for Enterprise administrators who want to control the preferences of the browser. For example, let's say you want to have a default homepage for Firefox. How can you do this without going to each machine and setting the preference? Without re-imaging (Seneca's solution)?

Setting homepage for IE7 (don't ask why it says IE6)

Well, you can do it Firefox, sorta. You need to download an extension, at the very least. I haven't actually tried it. I may be wrong. And it is probably more complicated than that.

The solution seems to be Active Directory and Group Policies. Or it seems to be anyways. The concept is still new to me, but this is the next few months of work. It is not only required piecing this stuff together (and maybe some upgrading), but also working at it until it gets to the tree. I will hopefully understand Andrew's pain.

My first release will be learning about GPO, and starting to take apart extensions like CCK and FirefoxADM. I will have some documentation, definitely up on the wiki

An introduction

Firstly, an introduction.

My name is Cesar Oliveira. I am my 4th year of a Bachelors of Software Development at Seneca College. That is really all you need to know about me.

I have decided to make this blog, separate from my wordpress blog, mainly because I can more freely post here without spamming planet@mozilla. I will still post in wordpress, if the announcement I feel needs to reach more people.

This blog will mainly deal with my experience working with Mozilla. I have been working with Mozilla (both as a intern and as a volunteer). I am now doing a project as part of a course.