Why Good-First-Bugs often aren't

Let me start by saying that I'm a huge fan of open source projects putting a Good-First-Bug type label on issues. From my own experience over the past decade trying to get students engaged in open source projects, it's often a great way to quickly find entry points for new…

Service Workers and Cache Storage in Thimble

tldr; During the spring and summer, I've been working on rewriting Thimble to use Service Workers and CacheStorage. Now that we've shipped it, I wanted to talk about how it works and what I learned. On Twitter a few weeks back, I was reminiscing with Dave Herman and Brendan about…

"When in doubt, WebIDL"

Yesterday I was fixing a bug in some IndexedDB code we use for Thimble's browser-based filesystem. When I'm writing code against an API like IndexedDB, I love knowing the right way to use it. The trouble is, it can be difficult to find the proper use of an API, or…

On Sabbatical

As I begin the new year, I'm trying something new. I'll be taking a sabbatical for all of 2016. Normally at this time of year I'm starting new courses and beginning research projects that I'll lead in the spring/summer semester. I've been following that rhythm now for over 16…

How to become a Fool Stack Programmer

At least once in your career as a programmer, and hopefully more than once and with deliberate regularity, it is important to leave the comfort of your usual place along the stack and travel up or down it. While you usually fix bugs and add features using a particular application,…

Introducing a New Thimble and Bramble

Introduction This week we're shipping something really cool with Mozilla, and I wanted to pause and tell you about what it is, and how it works. The tldr; is that we took the Mozilla Foundation's existing web code editor, Thimble, and rewrote it to use Bramble, our forked version of…

Messing with MessageChannel

We're getting close to being able to ship a beta release of our work porting Brackets to the browser. I'll spend a bunch of time blogging about it when we do, and detail some of the interesting problems we solved along the way. Today I wanted to talk about a…

Learning to git bisect

Yesterday one of my students hit a bug in Brackets. We're working on an extension for Thimble that adds an autocomplete option to take a selfie when you are typing a URL that might be an image (e.g., <img src="...">). It also needs to work…

Repeating old mistakes

This morning I've been reading various posts about the difficulty ahead for the Pointer Events spec, namely, Apple's (and by extension Google's) unwillingness to implement it. I'd encourage you to read both pieces, and whatever else gets written on this in the coming days. I want to comment not on…

Video killed the radio star

One of the personal experiments I'm considering in 2015 is a conscious movement away from video-based participation in open source communities. There are a number of reasons, but the main one is that I have found the preference for "realtime," video-based communication media inevitably leads to ever narrowing…