Camino 2006 in Review

Posted in Camino, Life at 2:06 am by

Tap…tap Is this thing on?

So I haven’t written much (well, any, by most definitions), and none since I was added to blogs.caminobrowser.org. The year’s coming to an end and it’s time to address that deficiency (although presumably Camino fans will be heartened to hear that time spent on writing seems to be inversely proportional to time spent on Camino…).

By way of introduction to readers of blogs.cb.o, I’m the co-lead of the Quality Assurance/Bug Triage team and the Website & Documentation team, so if your bug is still unconfirmed, it’s probably my fault; likewise, if there’s an error in the Release Notes, it’s probably my fault. I occasionally fix some bugs, but mostly I leave that to our team of crack developers…. Camino is an all-volunteer effort, as most of you know, so most people involved with Camino do a little of everything, all in their free time.

In spite of our limited manpower and free time (and the fact we didn’t meet our agressive schedule of Camino 1.0, 1.1, and 1.2 all in the year), 2006 still was a really spectacular year for Camino, and I thought it would be a good wrap-up to take a briefsomewhat long-winded look at our accomplishments.

  1. First and foremost, on February 14th, we released Camino 1.0 (four years and a day after Camino 0.1).
  2. Another big “first” was this fall, when we released Camino 1.0.3 in sync with the other Gecko products (Firefox and friends). As a small, all-volunteer team with members across the world, it’s difficult to track the schedules of Gecko releases, which benefit from Mozilla Corp’s much larger (and paid) developer, QA, and build/release resources. (As I recall, we were actually ready early and had to wait for them to finalize the shared Gecko fixes, but I don’t ever expect that to happen again!)
  3. In other Mozilla-related milestones, Camino 1.0 Release Candidate 1 was the first official, “release-type” build of any Mozilla project to appear as a Universal Binary, and of course Camino 1.0 was the first final release version to do so. A million thanks to mento, the freshMAKEr himself, for the Universal Binary work (and a year’s worth of build-wrangling thereafter!)
  4. New Developers: As a small project, the arrival of a new developer is always a major boost. In 2006, Ian Leue, Aaron Schulman, Desmond Elliott, Sean Murphy and Håkan Waara joined the team.
    • Håkan was actually an “old” Mozilla hacker back in the early days of the Mozilla project; when he got a new Mac, he showed up at our door! These days Håkan is working mostly on adding Mac accessibility support to the Mozilla codebase, but we really don’t mind, since it’s something that will benefit everyone in the future.
    • Desmond became the first person to get paid for working specifically on Camino since Netscape shut down its Chimera team in January 2003; as a Google Summer of Code student, Desmond tackled some long-desired enhancements to Camino’s tabbed browsing implementation (and endured the Camino code review processgauntlet). Tab scrolling is actually available in Camino trunk builds, for the adventurous (there be dragons!), and tab drag-and-drop mostly worked at one point in the summer, which made me excited like you wouldn’t believe; look for them both in Camino 1.2.
    • Ian started off by watching one of the 4-hour sessions where we triaged bugs and assigned them the appropriate severity and target (version of Camino in which the fix/feature will appear); by year’s end, he had fixed over 100 bugs!
    • Aaron stopped by this spring to fix some tab-related bugs, and we hope to see more of him once grad school apps are submitted!
    • Sean showed up in about November and dove right in to fixing lingering issues with the new pop-up blocker and the spell-check UI, two of the major new features coming in Camino 1.1.
  5. Returning Developers: In 2006 we saw some “old friends” return to Camino. Stuart Morgan moved on from his job at FruitCo to a new job at SearchCo and therefore was allowed to start coding again—with a vengeance! In addition to Stuart’s return, he, Ian, and Nick Kreeger got Mozilla cvs access, so they can actually get bug fixes into the Mozilla source code repository; with the addition of Håkan (who had cvs access from his early days with the Mozilla project), the number of Camino contributors with cvs access doubled in 2006. That’s a great aid in keeping development moving, as the people generating most of the fixes no longer have to wait on others to get the new code into the repository once it passes code review.
  6. We had a number of people contribute a fix or two or some new graphics, there were several new or revived localizations (Camino 1.0.3 is available in US English and 17 other languages), and caminobrowser.org’s Japanese version also launched in 2006.

There are dozens more “significant” events from 2006, but if I kept going, this post wouldn’t be done until 2007! I’m sure I’ve missed something (or someone) obvious in the list, for which I apologize in advance.

One thing that really can’t be stressed enough, though, is the importance of the community to Camino. Camino is the community’s browser (as opposed to the browser for one guy whose initials are “SJ”), and the community is Camino’s users, cheerleaders, bug reporters, and future developers—everyone is a contributor. So a big end-of-the-year “thank you” to all of you who have downloaded Camino this year, mentioned Camino to a friend/relative/random-guy-on-the-street, reported a bug, provided feedback, made your own build, started looking at the source code, or crossed the chasm between “sane user” and crazed part-time hacker/triager/wordsmith/pixel wizard. There were more of you than ever this year, and I’ve enjoyed interacting with you as we work together to make Camino even better—and 2007 is already shaping up to be another great year for Camino.

Shameless plug: Camino 1.1 is coming in the first part of next year, so if you’re on Mac OS X 10.3 or higher and up for a ride on the mostly-not-bleeding edge, please grab a nightly build or the forthcoming Alpha 2 or Beta 1 milestones and help make 1.1 as solid as 1.0. We’ve landed a number of big features this year and there are probably a few rough edges we haven’t found yet.

So ends my second year of “official” involvement with the Camino project. Happy New Year to all—and I promise my next post won’t be nearly so long. ;)


Detritus of the digital age

Posted in History, Life at 1:20 am by

If you’re reading this, you must have found me. I’ve had a spot on the web since 1996, but in that decade I’ve had five different URLs (2 at GeoCities, Mac.com, Mindspring, and now ardisson.org) and a mind-bogglingly large number of email addresses.

In the process of consolidating all these URLs and addresses over the past few weeks, I’ve realized just how much junk I’ve set loose on the internet and how much is still sitting there, decaying. As a historian, it’s comforting to see some bit of permanence on the web, but at the same time it’s a bit like coming upon this library that has been sitting around, uncared for and with a leaking roof, for a decade. Links are broken, pages are gone, and as a consequence, some pages are really only halfway there, not unlike a decaying book :(

All that is just a long way of saying I’ve moved, but parts of me are still strewn across ten years worth of the web—and that all my attempts at a meaningful first post have fizzed out after a paragraph ;)

Update: It occurred to me today that, aside from a handful of browser testcases, there are likely no pages on ardisson.org that are HTML 4 Strict, nor are there any that even validate (no matter what DOCTYPE they declare). That’s detritus of an entirely different kind; more on that in the future.