Real World Mozilla

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Real World Mozilla Development: a one week crash course


Mozilla, creator of the popular Firefox web browser, is one of the largest collaborative open source projects in the world. Working on Mozilla is challenging, fun, and one of the best ways to gain real-world development experience. Getting involved with Mozilla means learning new skills, meeting new people, and having the opportunity to work on global software products with tens of millions of users. However, as exciting as it is, getting started can be intimidating and overwhelming—Mozilla has millions of lines of source code. This course will give you the knowledge you need to start building Firefox extensions by introducing you to the following topics (NOTE: a complete topic list is also available):

Topic List by Day

Monday - Introduction to Open Source and Mozilla

  • What is Open Source?
  • What is the Mozilla Project?
  • The Mozilla developer community and its practices
  • Mozilla Platform and Technology overview
  • Using IRC to communicate with other Mozilla developers around the world
  • Using Mozilla’s collaborative documentation tools (wikis, wiki markup)

Tuesday - Building Mozilla from Source

  • More IRC
  • The Mozilla Build Process and Build System
  • Using Revision Control Systems (CVS and SVN)
  • Introduction to make and writing Makefiles
  • Building Mozilla from source code

Wednesday - Developing Mozilla

  • Using developer tools (e.g., diff, patch, etc.)
  • Using Mozilla webtools (LXR, Bonsai, Bugzilla, Pastebin)
  • Finding your way around in the Mozilla source tree
  • Introduction to XPCOM Components
  • Writing your first XPCOM Component in C++

Thursday - Debugging and Testing

  • Finishing your first XPCOM Component
  • Learning how to debug Mozilla (C/C++ and JavaScript)
  • Strategies for Testing XPCOM Components (e.g., xpcshell unit tests)
  • Bugs, Bugzilla, Testing, and QA
  • Bug Triage, methods of manual testing

Friday - Firefox and Extensions

  • Modifying Firefox
  • XUL and Javascript Firefox Extensions
  • Writing your first XUL/JS Extension
  • Combining your XPCOM and XUL Extension
  • XULRunner and application deployment