L10n:Firefox web services process

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About this document

This document describes the process of choosing the default web services (RSS feed, RSS reader, protocol handlers, search engines) which ship with localized releases of Firefox and the "Getting Started" Page.


What triggers the process?

  • new locale added to the tree
  • upcoming major release
  • other per-locale cases
  • changes instigated by a 3d party vendor e.g., to their url or parameters
  • technical changes in Firefox e.g., favicons

Here's a bit more specificity on what kind of releases are good for what kind of changes

  • major release
    • review web services for Tier 1/2 several months in advance (could even do that for all Tier's) starting with IRC chat and then moving to bugs for documentation and tracking and finally to wiki or google spreadsheet documentation,
    • participate in the Fx product calls and listen for new features that can be localized and then if there are new ones, propose a process for localizing it and document that in the documentation (https://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox3/L10n_Requirements)
  • minor release
    • update any changes that have been pending for any locale and take on new locales


The process of choosing the set of web services consists of the dialog with localizers (who suggest their choices), the market research (to help localizers and to validate the suggestions), technical research of each web service to understand the latest trends and the dialog with service providers (to evaluate technical capabilities, inquire for a written permission to use their service in Firefox and validate parameters or urls, etc). Throughout the whole process we use the Firefox_web_services_guidelines to evaluate the suggestions. These guidelines were created to ensure the best experience from the default web services for the users.

Filing bugs

For major releases and new locales, 5 bugs regarding web services are filed:

  • Search engine setup for Firefox X for ${locale}
    • (blocker for new locales' beta releases)
  • Firefox X protocol handler setup for ${locale}
  • Firefox X RSS reader setup for ${locale}
  • RSS Sample feed for ${locale}
  • "Getting started" page for ${locale}

(See L10n:Bugogram for more details.)

For other triggering cases, separate bugs for affected locales are filed.


The objective of this step is to gather suggestions from localizers regarding the choice of the default web services for their locale. We work closely with the localizers on validating their suggestions (see: market research) and on looking for new ones. The localizers are our ears and eyes on their local markets and their suggestions are crucial for the whole process. We expect that the localizer is in dialogue with their community so that they have a well balanced and informed perspective on their suggestions.

Market research

The purpose of the market research is to evaluate the suggestions, as well as to look for new ones together with localizers. The evaluation consists of 3 major parts:

  1. technology
    • is the service up-to-date with the recent developments of the field?
    • does it provide good quality to the users?
  2. user experience
    • simplicity of function, does it do exactly what's expected?
    • technical feasibility of including the service in Firefox?
    • privacy of data/provider's policy?
  3. local market
    • what is the local way of using the web?
    • what can we do to ensure best web experience for the local users?

In addition, we use a following set of tools to gather more information about the candidate services:

Dialog with providers

This step's purpose is to:

  • obtain written permission from providers to include their services in the default installation of Firefox (for search plugins, RSS readers, protocol handlers and the sample RSS feed).
  • verify technical aspects of providers (search parameters, QA).
  • for the Getting Started page, we inform the websites that we link to about this fact.


Search plugins, RSS readers, protocal handlers

All changes to web services need a patch and a review from one of the l10n-drivers. Depending on the current release schedule and tree rules, they may also require an approval before landing.

Once the patch has been reviewed and the code landed, the corresponding bug should be resolved as resolved fixed (by the localizer or a l10n driver).

Sample RSS feed

The Live Bookmark (sample RSS feed) is managed by a redirect under:


After choosing and verifying the feed's URL, the page Firefox/L10n_Feed_Redirects should be updated, as well as the spreadsheet used by the l10n-drivers team (column Status should by cleared). An empty cell in this column indicates a redirect to be set up.

An IT bug is then filed by one of the l10n-drivers to create/change redirects en masse.

Getting started page


The bug should be closed as verified (by the localizer or a l10n driver) in the following cases:

Search plug-ins, RSS readers, protocol handlers
After verifying that the change works as expected in a nightly build.
Live Bookmark (sample RSS feed)
This change is visible instantly after the IT bug has been closed. Alternatively, Pike's verify-rss-redirect script can be used to verify if the redirects work as expected
"Getting started" page
This change is visible after the push of the mozilla.com website under:

Lessons learned

This is not meant to replace the Web Services Guidelines page but to enhance our own thinking and approach to evaluate these based on experience from many interesting situations that have come up in different locales.

  • ko - daum RSS reader (requiring the user to bundle reader with another service)
  • Occitan sample RSS feed (culturally relevant, even though doesn't update often)
  • ga-IE getting started page
  • eo getting started page
  • search plugins are always unique - we try to keep creative commons in most locales, often times locale have more unique specific local search or knowledge search that are dependent on what's culturally relevant. lots of interesting examples (zh-CN, et, lv)


We track every change that is made for each release in bugs and in wiki or Google documents. The reason that we do this is to enable any one to be able to reveiw what has happened in any particular locale over time.