Minutes of the mozilla.org Staff Meeting of Monday 26th July 2004
Wednesday July 28th, 2004
The minutes of the mozilla.org staff meeting held on Monday 26th July 2004 are now online. Issues discussed include Firefox PR1/RC1, Mozilla 1.8a3, the Developer Day, broken site reporting, and more.
I've been asked to check out the meeting minutes and post some comments, so here I am! :)
With regard to the system for reporting "broken" sites (I think of this as the website compatibility reporting system), there has been some discussion of this in the Firefox General forum on the MozillaZine board and this discussion has touched on the subject of the appropriateness of using Bugzilla for reporting website compatibility issues. In my opinion, the developers need to make known the best avenue for communicating website compatibility issues to them so those issues can be addressed in future releases of the Mozilla browsers.
Personally, I find the "simple" Bugzilla bug reporting form (<http://bugzilla.mozilla.o…Browser&format=guided> ) easy enough to use that opening Bugzilla reports has served as a great way to document website compatibility issues since I can also see the technical discussion and analysis that becomes part of the bug report and thus "lives" with the report of the compatibility issue for me or others to refer to at some later time. What's even better is having the ability to send a link to the bug report to the web development staff of the site in question so *they* can see the technical analysis of the compatibiliy issue and develop a plan to deal with that issue if they deem it appropriate. The bug report contains a lot of great pertinent information, like links to sites in question, affected browser versions and platforms, as well as providing a method of tracking when any given compatibility issue will be resolved as I can see when it's assigned to a developer and see for which release it's targetted to be addressed, etc.
One downside to using Bugzilla is the opening of redundant compatibility reports as it can be difficult to locate existing bug reports documenting a given problem if the right search criteria isn't used, and that's assuming a search is performed at all. Another downside is the research someone has to do to determine of the compatibility report is a legitimate browser bug or not. I think the benefits of using Bugzilla for reporting website compatibility issues outweigh the deficiencies.
One of the great benefits of creating a new site to document website compatibility issues is the presentation of the information can be designed to be easy to read and navigate. I don't know what the reporting capabilities of Bugzilla are so I'm not sure if a Bugzilla report would be adequate for reporting this kind of information. Perhaps a mixed solution is needed. Have a Mozilla website compatibility website that presents the information in a useful manner and link from that site to Bugzilla reports that contain the details of that particular compatibility issue.
I'm not sure how website compatibility relates to Mozilla browser evangelism and I'm not sure if evangelism should become part of this discussion.
I do realize this is still in the planning phase and I have confidence the great minds contributing to the develop of the excellent Mozilla products will come up with a solution that will work well for most if not all. :)
Thanks in advance for your time!
Evangelism works both ways, both on the client side and the server side. One of the biggest stumbling blocks for Mozilla/Gecko is "... but it doesn't work properly on my favourite site!" Explaining to developers the importance of valid code is probably one of the most important bits of evangelism Mozilla has to make.
Bugzilla is a great tool for "TechEvangelism" because it lives where people are already deciding whether issues are rendering bugs or bad code, and can be shifted to and from easily. I've always found the search to be efficient, and the system of duplicate marking is already effective. But Bugzilla is, indeed, quite intimidating for the new user, which is why events like the various bug day initiatives have been so useful. I think the easiest route to bug and compatibility reporting for those who may be confused by Bugzilla already exists -- the forums.
I agree with you but from the perspective of Bugzilla being useful (very useful in fact) for the web developers and designers doing the actual HTML coding and even for the HTML development tool developers whose tools are used to emit (hopefully) web standards compliant HTML. I really appreciate the tehcnical analysis that's part of the Bugzilla tech evangelism reports.
The thing is, I think Bugzilla is a bit too low level (intimidating as you mention for the new or casual user). Using the existing forums is probably the easiest approach but I'm not sure if it's the best since the forum users possibly don't search the forums for discussion on questions or topics they have in favor of starting new threads on redundant topics. Also, I wonder how much credibility a message forum would have (from the perspective of a developer of some sort) vs a bug database or a well organized site containing the pertinent information.
What do I know.... :)