Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Zippity - and automated performance tests for Firefox Mobile

Many have wondered how we get the device coverage with our automated Performance tests.  Here's one way:

What you see running here are the Zippity tests (a plug in available for Firefox mobile ), running the pageload tests on a number of different devices.  I also have logcat attached and running, to catch any possible crashes.

Pageload tests load a series of predefined webpages, to gauge pageload speed.  There are also Startup tests (which start the application several times to measure startup speed); as well as SunSpider and V8 tests.   Lastly, you can ping your memory metrics to Zippity.  

Having the crowd available to help run these tests (just install the plug in), helps us get the device coverage up and ensures we find things like native crashes, hopefully sooner, rather than later.

Kudos to Mark Finkle for this great tool.

I made this video last winter, when I was still in Helsinki:

...and here is one of my songs from my performance at Hotel Utah, San Francisco on December 19, 2011:  http://theutah.org/performance/johnhammink/20111219/againsttheglass

Sunday, 11 December 2011

A plug for the Fullscreen, Gamepad, and Mouse Lock gaming APIs

Sometimes, when things are moving as quickly as they generally do here at the Moz (as in the open web generally), the best that one can do is channel the work of others to try and stay on track with everything.   It certainly beats trying to do everything oneself, at the breakneck speed at which envisioning the new technology - and technology itself - unfolds.

On that note, kudos to Dave HumphriesRob Hawkes and Chris Pearce for their recent blog posts on these brand new APIs.  And so, by way of a rehash...

Fullscreen, Gamepad and Mouse Lock APIs are available in a single experimental desktop build of Firefox.  There are also builds that support these features here.

These APIs are estimated to land soon in the nightly builds.

The Fullscreen API:

Scheduled to ship in firefox 10 by the end of January, you can still try out some of the examples in the latest nightly builds.

Based on the  W3C's draft spec, this API enables any HTML element to be made "fullscreen", which hides the browsers UI and stretches the element to cover the entire screen area.

To use it, the developer calls void mozRequestFullScreen(), which, if the request is granted (there are security implications here) gets a mozfullscreenchange event back to the specifying element; otherwise a mozfullscreenerror is dispatched.

The user can ESC or F11 to exit full screen mode.   As with YouTube or other fullscreen videos, navigating (ALT+TAB) will cause fullscreen mode to exit.

There is a cross-browser full-screen API example here. 

The Gamepad API:

As directed by the W3C spec, Javascript and Firefox now gives developers the possibility to connect a gamepad directly to the computer (using USB or Bluetooth) - a domain previously only available to gaming consoles and native computer games.  

You can try it out here; note that you''ll need that custom build.   This wiki page contains more implementation specifics.

Rob Hawkes made a great demo video:

The Mouse Lock API:

This API hides the cursor and locks it to the center of the screen, thus enabling developers to make games and visualizations of a 3D world (otherwise the cursor would go off the side of the screen or hit the edge). With the cursor locked, the user can roam X, Y, Z axes without restrictions.

David Humphrey and his students at Seneca College are currently implementing this API based on the W3C spec.

There are demo files available.

We're tracking Mouse Lock API on Bugzilla. You can also check out David Humphrey’s series of posts on the development of the Mouse Lock API.

I'm just now trying these out myself; of course, if you find any issues, please feel free to file a bug.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Fall tour of the Acoustic Circuit, S.F. Bay Area

From Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, Berkeley,  November 22, 2011
If I don't (yet) get to unleash the beast on my software evangelism (a quintessentially nerdy pursuit) the least I can do is hit the acoustic singer/songwriter music circuit around the Bay area (which I'm currently doing).  It's only been a few short weeks since I've started touring regularly in addition to my awesome day job  (longer geographic swaths in the works on both the music and work fronts), but it's already been a hell of a ride.
From St. Lukes Church, San Francisco, November 20, 2011
From Rockit Room, San Francisco,  November 24, 2011
From Panama Red Coffeehouse, Concord, December 9, 2011

From Berkeley City Club, November 17, 2011

Here is one of my songs from my performance at the Hotel Utah, San Francisco, from December 19, 2011.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

When going down is good

I've often complained about how jumping out of an airplane with an experienced tandem guide is safer than merging onto the 101.  It's certainly more fun.