Syllabus for Learning Mozilla

Being a new member of the community can be very confusing at times. Coming from a close source background I had a lot of difficultly grasping how the Mozilla community operates. I remember my first week at Mozilla when I had someone jokingly grunt at me for not being on IRC. “That archaic chat client I hadn’t used since grade school?” I though. Little did I know how this old chat protocol would become nearly as valuable as my compiler.

My concern is the current mozilla wiki does a great job of being a key reference for nearly every topic but acts as just that, a reference. I have discussed offline a few times the idea of creating resources aimed specify at new members. Dria’s recent blog (1) posts (2) asking for screencasts and resources aimed at learning mozilla caught my attention.

My goal is not to duplicate the existing resources but to create a comprensive guide that gives an appropriate overview of all the different systems, interactions and processes we have in place and explain how they fit together and use them.

I would like to get feedback on the bare essentials that should be covered. I would like to receive input on this before I commit to a Syllabus. Here is the current Syllabus I had in mind.

Communicating at Mozilla

Discuss how we use e-mail, IRC, bugzilla, blogs and RSS. What medium should be used to discuss what.

Developing at Mozilla

Checking out the source, building, finding a bug in bugzilla ([good first bug] tag maybe?), finding a mentor for your bug, applying & creating patches, running tests, tinderbox, tryserver, getting your patch reviewed and landed. For this one I was considering walking a user through reverting to prevision revision before a small bug, recreating the patch, testing it and showing the steps taken to land the patch.

4 thoughts on “Syllabus for Learning Mozilla

  1. This sounds good to me as is.

    “finding a mentor for your bug” caught my eye. Then I thought, well, the module/component owner will default to being the bug mentor really. Then I wondered if this was ideal. I suspect mentoring by patch review is just part of the mentoring potential to bug fixing.

    As for developing at Mozilla. I struggled a bit in the beginning wondering what tools would work best for editing/debugging the Mozilla codebase. We have wiki pages on various tools, but we don’t have anything like a ‘best practices”, or “recommended workflows” to my knowledge.

    I constantly tweak my workflow.

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