Mozilla at 4CCON

I’m writing a blog post after a long, long time and the reason why I’ve been dormant is because I’ve not done anything of significance for the past 6 months. As I’m writing this, I’m also watching the US Open Semifinals between Rafa and Dimitrov (the 5th set is on and I really hope Rafa wins this one! *fingers crossed*).

Back to my story, I had the wonderful opportunity to represent Mozilla at 4CCON (Collaboration, Contribution, Communities and Commons) which is a National Level Conference organized by FSMI, a premier free software organization in India. I was invited to give an advanced workshop on using Selenium for testing web applications using Python on the Firefox browser.

The session went well, initially with 15 participants which later swelled into a crowd of 50 participants. The conference had workshops in a variety of topics and my session was scheduled to be on the first day – the 26th of January. Incidentally, it was the Republic Day of the country – I feel good sharing the things I’ve learned and practiced on the very day the Indian Constitution came into effect, over 60 years ago.

The full day workshop started off with a quick introduction on Python as a programming language, moving on to the uses and applications of the Selenium test framework and most importantly – the significance of unit testing. I highlighted the various API methods that Python developers could use to test a simple web page. The entire slide deck of the 1 day workshop is hosted online here.

In the later half of the day, I made the participants set up a basic website on their own and test for simple elements on the page like Dialog Boxes, Forms and Links. The participants found it interesting to inspect the DOM (Document Object Model) structure of their favorite websites and give various test scenarios and the exciting part was when they actually found a few bugs.

At the end of my workshop, I had a section on Open Source projects and how the participants could contribute. I shared stories of many successful people who started off fixing the odd bug here and there – are now the leaders in their technology fields. This was found to be inspirational by the participants there.

 

During the next 2 days of the conference I was invited as a delegate and attended various keynotes apart from meeting many FOSS enthusiasts whom I had met only virtually, hitherto.

On the whole, it was a productive workshop and I hope the participants will take up open source contribution and do justice to the enthusiasm they’ve displayed.

Chennai has grown in leaps, I hope to see better things in the days to come. 🙂

 

 

Bugzilla Session at FSMK

Exploring Bugzilla – FSMK #ContributionDrive

This Saturday was all about how to find bugs, rather than how to fix bugs (for a change). Often we developers just log on to Bugs Ahoy to find out our favorite bugs and get to solving them. I really hadn’t given a thought as to what the process is, behind how a bug gets filed until recently when I heard about Mozilla’s bug bounty program. According to the program, critical bugs if reported can fetch you up to $3000, which is a considerable amount of money especially for students like me. Apart from that, it’s like playing god with some poor chap’s well written code. It makes you feel all powerful when you get to point the mistakes, right?

The one thing I understood while I was searching for bugs is that they are like witnesses in a court case. “Bugs don’t appear out of thin air, you got to look for them.”  And to be specific I’d like to borrow the words of caitp,

“Usually you’re just going about your day, and then something doesn’t work the way it should or if you’re really lucky it just flat out crashes the browser.”

That’s exactly how you stumble upon bugs. It’s really not rocket-science. Well you need to get a Firefox Nightly or Beta setup ready since this is where the bugs are in abundance, waiting to be exterminated. From Nightly, the version takes shape into Beta and then to the Firefox release version that we are so fond of as you can see here.

Bugzilla Main Page

Bugzilla Main Page

At the FSMK office we first setup a working version of Nightly on our Linux based operating systems. Then, we made accounts on BMO, which was followed by “exploring” the newly installed Nightly version of the browser.

Abhiram, talking about Bugzilla

Here’s me – talking about Bugzilla

I did talk about what known bugs are, and how we differentiate from the unknown ones. When you hit Ctrl + P on your Nightly browser on a Linux machine, you are bound to get the following message,

e10s printing is not implemented yet. Bug 927188.

which confirms the fact that it is a known bug and that, the Print function has still not been implemented properly. When you see the bug info for #927188  on the Bugzilla page, you can see that it’s been assigned to someone equally awesome, who’s probably working right now to fix it. As you can see, there’s other vital info about the bug as well. The comment section which follows keeps track of all the communication about the particular bug. And basically gives you an idea as to how the bug’s going to be fixed – sooner or later!

Coming back to what we were talking about, how do you report an unknown bug? Nightly often crashes while multiple tabs are open and you’re trying to load simultaneously, multiple websites. At times, this causes a crash. The page at which the crash occurs might be different at different points of time. Logging the erroneous page could also be helpful for developers to authenticate the site. And when such a thing does occur, all you have to do is this,


  • Click on File a Bug
  • Choose a platform on which your bug is (Firefox)
  • In Step 2 you need to describe a few keywords about the bug
  • If a similar bug shows up, please avoid filing the bug and look for new ones
  • If it’s a new issue, Click on “My Issue is not listed” to go this page
  • Once you’re there, fill in all the steps and answer the questions
  • Click on Submit Bug once you’re done

If you were a part of the #ContributionDrive, do log in your bug number for the BugSprint (tinyurl.com/bugsprint) . And on verification, we do have some goodies for you.

That’s all for today folks. I hope it would’ve been a lot more better if the power god had shown some mercy. Do put in your feedback, suggestions or any questions you might have in the comment section below. I’ll be happy to get back to you.

Mozillian in the crowd

Mozillian in the crowd

Selfie time

Selfie time-1

Selfie time

Selfie time-2

Peace out.