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Meeting: Mobile Web Compatibility Weekly
Chair: Karl
Scribe: Mike

Topic: next meeting

Next meeting: The next meeting will be on November 11, 2013.

Topic: Action items

We have a couple of action items (bottom of this agenda) that each one of us need to reassess. :)

  • karl: We don't need to spend time on this, just please take some time to review the list of current action items.

Topic: Inside Mozilla Web Compatibility Issues (karl)

Sometimes, some of the services of Mozilla are relying or pushing on device identification. We (Web Compatibility) are pushing for the opposite outside in some fashions. How do we clarify the message outside and inside.

  • karl: There are various needs within Mozilla for device detection, e.g., Google Analytics, "This app is not supported on your device.", etc. We are having a message to the outside world, "Don't do device identification." But at the same time some services inside Mozilla are trying to use that. We need to connect both sides of the story and have a consistent message. Either by educating others or adding something to the web platform.
  • lawrence: My sense of this is feature detection & responsive design do not cover 100% of the use cases. I've been trying to document these on the wiki. We need to acknowledge
  • mike: This is related to the email that Jonas just sent to the Compat list about Google and Client Hints.
  • karl: The thing about client capabilities is that it has been tried in the past. There was CCCP (?) implemented by Nokia. It was a big RDF file with the capabilities of the device, but never took off.
  • brad: Also UA Prof.
  • karl: What is the correct amount of information that people need? Size of screen? Location? etc. The danger of these kinds of efforts is that it's always proposed in a positive light, but in the end it's often used to exclude users.
  • lawrence: This is exactly why we didn't include more information in the UA string itself. I like that people are trying to come up to a solution. Any solution is going to come up against the negatives of including more info in the UA string.
  • vishy: What about the list of WURFL properties that are being used by large companies? Will that give us an idea of the use cases?
  • lawrence: No, it's such a large list it's impossible to know how they're using them. Or if
  • brad: I think it's useful to boil this down to end-user use cases. Not the things people are using in WURFL. Then we can decide if that's a usecase that we want to support. I personally think we don't care about stats/usage counting.
  • lawrence: I don't think everyone in Mozilla agrees with that, based on recent conversations.
  • brad: In terms of optimal video format or optimal image sizes, that seems like a thing that can ve solved outside of UA detection.
  • lawrence: You can't do that via feature detection because, e.g., a CDN won't have access to that information just HTTP headers.
  • brad: On the video format side, that's something we don't support well now. You can list off the formats you support on a server, but we just grab the first one that we support. The perferred format will vary by device. We can probably start exploring spec work to better support that use case.
  • lawrence: there's a class of hardware characteristics that hasn't been considered yet, for example for game developers. They're used to knowing very low-level details of a device. I don't know that we need to expose all that info on the web. But that's a use case that will potentially be a big problem for the platform.
  • brad: That's similar to video. One thing that people want to know is supported texture formats. Memory is also an interesting one. 4.4 Kitkat introduced a clientside low-memory API.
  • lawrence: Let's document all these use cases and figure out what are the solutions to these end-user use cases.
  • mike: should we involve our friends in the device detection frameworks in this discussion?
  • brad: I think the more open the better. Let's document it in a public place and invite people to participate.
  • lawrence: If we're going to go down a certain road, we want these people on board.
  • karl: There's an open thread on the ML, feel free to add information.
  • mike: Do we already that use cases on the wiki?
  • lawrence: Yes, I started on it. It needs some work. Use Cases for UA Detection

What Can I do For Mozilla (lmandel)

What Can I do. We need someone from the team taking an action item. the current site and the desired site

  • karl: So far this site is orientated to programmers in terms of people who want to contribute. There is another version with other topics. I've proposed a pull request to this version.
  • lawrence: The idea is it's another onboarding avenue for new contributors. I like Josh's version two of this. He's very open to exposing this tool to a broader audience.
  • karl: If you go to the bug you can find the link to 2nd version of the site.
  • lawrence: If you have some ideas of how this can be useful, send a PR, or let's talk about it.

Firefox OS Simulator vs Emulator vs Device (lmandel)

Thought this might be interesting to the team and perhaps we can help build it out. Simulator vs Emulator vs Device

  • lawrence: I saw this today, there's a writeup on the differences between the simulator, emulator and device. Might be useful for us and we can contribute information if it's missing.
  • karl: There is a FxOS emulator that you build from source?
  • brad: Yes, it's the same as the Android emulator.
  • karl: Oh. I may have put in some wrong infromation. I put in some feature requests. :)
  • vishy: What about the app manager, should it be mentioned here?
  • lawrence: If you think it makes sense you can lobby to increase the scope of this document.
  • karl: for the emulator, there's no binary download. It seems you have to compile it yourself.
  • brad: I know we do builds, those should be published. Let me look into that. Yep, you can download emulator builds.

Minion and Web Compatibility [karl]

Discussion about Minion. We can provide him with a few plugins for exploring testing scenarios and run surveys.

  • karl: this is a "plugin-based" framework that is being developed. If you have drivers (or test) that you're interested in they're willing to add those to Minion. It could be interesting to try something out.
  • hallvord: At the moment we have a lot of options for site compat testing, we need to pick one and run with it. I'll take a closer look at the wiki.
  • karl: I'll give you Stefan's contact information. (blassey)

Just wanted to ask again if we can get people from outside Mozilla to participate. What about contributors?

  • brad: one of the idea of our blog aggregator on is to get people outside of Mozilla. Lawrence, do you have anyone at Microsoft or RIM that might want to be involved?
  • lawrence: I can try to follow up again with Microsoft. Gerv said he could introduce me to some people at Ubuntu who might be interested.
  • brad: Do you want to fire off another round of emails related to that?
  • karl: What kind of participation do you see?
  • brad: There's two sides: 1) to aggregate blog posts 2) have a common set of best practices docs. That's going to take more collaboration.
  • karl: Do you know if ODIN (Opera dev relation team) blog still posts things about Web compatibility. Sitepatching too.

(this will disappear soon though - my.opera is being discontinued. Forgot to mention this during the call)

  • lawrence: If the goal is to expose that people are talking about web compat, even if it's brief I still think there's value to it. Is there anything that's out of scope (or in scope) for One thing Mike and I were talking about is publishing a list of ua detection frameworks that we're compatible with.
  • brad: I haven't thought of anything that would be out of scope. One thing I would be considered in scope is individuals who aren't associated specifically with companies. Contributors, JS frameworks, etc.
  • lawrence: I'll take an action to speak again with Microsoft, Blackberry.
  • karl: We should invite Google and Apple too.

Topic: Bootstrapping locale-based compatibility efforts (karl)

Mike has started a good way to bootstrap the local effort. It has been successful for India and Brazil. After calling out on Twitter, someone built a list of top German sites. Empty shell ready to be used is a good way to start.

  • karl: we have a mobile web compat form but it is only in English. The first response to my request for l10n has not been positive. Also the barrier to submit bugs to Mozilla is a little high.
  • lawrence: In the past we'e created addons to work around this. It's not ideal, but it allows us to get past Mozilla limitations. The second one is an ongoing problem, that you need a bugzilla account. In the past, casual reports have been useless.
  • karl: Hallvord, what do you think about anonymous bug reports?
  • hallvord: The answer is "it depends." At Opera the bug system was closed so we got lots of duplicate reports. If someone figured out how to actually find the form, the quality of report was usually decent. But the "report a site problem" reports that came from the UI was mostly useless.
  • brad: I suspect the thing to do is to make signing up for accounts is relatively painless.
  • mike: Does bugzilla support Persona? So you can sign in Gmail, Twitter?
  • lawrence: The sign up page isn't great right now, it's filled with information and there's a tiny mention of Persona.
  • brad: Let's file a bug on that. What issues were you having with l10n of bugzilla?
  • karl: Basically they said it wasn't possible. BMO is English-only.
  • brad: We can go half way. If we pupush on the bug reporting add-on, we can point to a different form based on the language in the UA string of the user, etc. If there are people who want to help localize that page, we can have different forms for that.
  • lawrence: And we can make predicatble URLs for those translated forms.
  • brad: Another option is to have a landing page which takes all the information which forwards to the appropriate form.
  • hallvord: One drawback into the existing mobile form is the lack of visibility of existing bugs.
  • brad: I think for our regular-joe bug reporter we'd rather them just report an issue. Dupeing a bug is easy.
  • lawrence: Also the experience for that form when you're not signed in isn't great. We should file a bug on that.
  • karl: Another issue, Bugzilla isn't usable on mobile.
  • brad: Yeah, but that mobile form is a lot better.

Mobile form bug for localization

Upcoming locales

Mobile Roadmap

  • brad: Upcoming locales that we're going to ship for Firefox for Android. On Android each release should have 3 or 4 new locales due to some architectural changes (by stripping out a ton of dead strings).
  • karl: Does it give insights into the markets that are planned?
  • brad: The justification of one locale over the other
  • lawrence: In general this is tied to market adoption on desktop, among other things.
  • brad: look forward to Indian languages, Chinese languages, Canadian languages in the future.

Topic: Broken Voices of the Web

Topic: Things which have been discussed

These are a list of topics, we need to explore further and take action items. It usually needs an owner and a set of actions. Putting them here for not forgetting about them. (this could become the start of a newsletter about the project by month)

Topic: Web Compatibility Progress



This surge of new bugs is because of the excellent work by Thanos Alefetoris (Greece) and Abdul Rauf (India). Thanks!

Tracked Actions


(move the DONE action items below and add the string DONE and possibly link to the record)

  • TODO-20130715-01: kdubost have a panorama of tools used by Web developers for testing. Write a post about it.
  • TODO-20130805-02: hallvord to test in bulk if Web sites are still working with a device information into the UA string Firefox OS. (Bug 901039)
  • TODO-20130806-01: kdubost to create a script to automatically compile stats from Tech Evangelism - Mobile. See email.
  • TODO-20130819-01 kdubost to create a first workflow for Web Badges for the community with Carla Cassili
  • TODO-20130819-03: lmandel to follow up with Gerv about posting UA device/model recommendations on MDN.
  • TODO-20130826-01: kdubost to create an intro guide to be ready to participate to Web Compatibility effort.
  • TODO-20130826-02: kdubost to create 101 on Web compatibility issues so Mozilla employes have handy materials to discuss with partners.


  • TODO-20131021-01: hallvord to put together a list of, say, 100 sites where people view videos, and start testing them