Firefox/Activity Stream/Status/15-Oct-2017

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Firefox Activity Stream - Desktop Status Report - Oct-18-2017

Project Health & Exec Summary

Green-sm.jpg On track, issues well managed Yellow-sm.jpg Some risks, unknowns without clear mitigations Red-sm.jpg Blocked on deliverables, needs decision, escalation required

Target Health Updates
FF56 (Release)


Activity Stream in 56 Release channel is preff'd off by default. Conducting studies via Shield pref-flipping to gather data from defined percentages of the Beta population.
FF57 (Beta)


Activity Stream in 57 Beta is preff'd on by default, but pref is flipped off for a defined control population for specific Shield studies.

No issues currently identified as blocking 57. Decision/Recommendation is to move Activity Stream to release on both about:newtab and about:home

FF58 (Nightly)


Development in progress. Scope mainly focused on continued performance improvements

Risks & Issues

Top Level Issues/Roadblocks

Description of Issue/Roadblock Severity Area(s) Affected Owner Status Due Date Update/Notes
Bug 1399961 Meta - Activity Stream noticeably slower than old about:home at startup P2 Performance AS Eng Open Ongoing Meta for related performance improvements. Several patches with performance gains have been landed and uplifted to 57. Decision is to proceed with AS on about:home in 57. Further performance improvements will continue in 58.

Risk Profile

Description of Risk Severity Likelihood Impact (SxL) Mitigation Contingency Status/Notes
Activity Stream on about:home has inadequate performance, negatively affecting user engagement and retention 4 - high 3 - medium 12 Improve perceived performance on browser startup by either reducing the number of sections, or by rendering those sections differently. Improve real performance of subsequent about:home invocations by using pre-loading Do not land AS on about:home and land an updated (Activity Stream-like) version of existing about:home static HTML Though some regression in performance has been reported (see Bug 1399961 above) the decision has been made to continue to move ahead with AS on about:home in 57. Data on engagement and retention is being gathered via 57 Shield study, and will be reviewed on Oct 23rd.
Snippets or Pocket production servers are compromised 5 - very high 2 - low 10 SecReview - follow up with OPSec team to ensure SecReviews for Snippets and Pocket servers are done. Longer term goal is to rewrite Snippets client and server to exchange JSON instead of scripts. Turn off snippets on either client or server side and/or use existing about:home implementation. Pref off pocket or change its endpoints. Bug 1409058 has received go ahead to uplift to FX57. This would allow us to turn off snippets on the client side in case of incident, which is our mitigation strategy.
Onboarding Tour negatively affects Firefox engagement and retention 3 - medium 3 - medium 9 Put onboarding behind pref, switch onboarding telemetry to ping-centre, help Onboarding team run a/b tests, support in UX redesign for Onboarding Tour Don't ship Onboarding Tour Onboarding has a patch for ping-centre telemetry and is requesting uplift. AS team is assisting with reviews as needed.
Firefox and AS engagement and retention are negatively affected because new Snippets form factor is viewed by users as too aggressive or distracting 3 - medium 2 - low 6 Work with the Snippets team to gradually roll out new Snippets form factor as expderiments in 57 Beta and Release to better understand how the new form factor affects engagement and retention. Implement UX review process for Snippets template changes. Test different form factor variants. Do not land Snippets in AS, land Snippets only on about:home All mitigations have been considered. Risk here is currently considered low.
AS engagement metrics suffer because we do not have good Tippytop metadata 3 - medium 1 - very low 3 Land patch that uses high quality icons for default top sites, where available. Use screenshots Icons for major sites landed in FX57. Continuing on with Alexa top 500 in FX58.

Sprint/Release Performance

Release: FX58
Sprint: Karate Kid - Ending Oct 29th

  • In Development this sprint: here
  • Team has completed approximately 60% of the MVP backlog for FX58 (only 2 sprints this release).