From MozillaWiki
< Webmaker‎ | Code
Jump to: navigation, search

The Webmaker code is spread across a large number of repositories, modules, libraries, apps, and web sites. Trying to locate the code for a particular part of Webmaker can be a challenge. The following is a high level introduction to the code.

Technical Overview of Webmaker

Users typically begin at https://webmaker.org, and so our discussion will start there too. The webmaker.org site has four main features, including:

  1. allowing users to access Webmaker tools, including Popcorn Maker, Thimble, and X-Ray Goggles.
  2. allowing users to search for and browse various "makes," which are objects in the Make API made with one of the Webmaker tools, or by a third-party web tool.
  3. allowing users to create or find Webmaker Events, using a Google Maps driven sub-application often referred to as Webmaker Events or just Events.
  4. allowing users to create a Webmaker (and by extension, Persona) account.

Beginning with account creation, webmaker.org (and other tools via the common navigation header) connects to the Login server (i.e., login.webmaker.org). Webmaker uses Mozilla Persona for user authentication and sign-in. Additional code has been written on top of Persona to allow single-sign-on across all Webmaker tools and sites (e.g., webmaker-sso). When a new Webmaker account is created, the Persona email is stored, along with extra information about the user (e.g., name, email notification preferences, etc.). The username is also used to create a new (virtual) domain on makes.org (or mywebmaker.org in our staging environment). For example, user donald would get donald.makes.org. All published makes for this user (i.e., things created with Webmaker tools) will be available at username.makes.org/something. The choice to use makes.org for hosting user content was done in order to provide origin-isolation from our Webmaker apps and code, which lives on webmaker.org (or mofostaging.net in our staging environment).

The username.makes.org page is actually the Webmaker Profile app. Here all the user's makes are displayed, along with various widgets for creating new UI components in the profile. The Profile app, like webmaker.org, uses the Make API and Login servers in order to find all the makes for a particular user--in fact most Webmaker apps work this way. Communication between the Make API, Login server, and other node apps happens over HTTP APIs within in the production (or staging) deployment network.

Users create "makes" using Webmaker tools. All tools allow authenticated Webmaker users (i.e., must have account in the Login server) to publish what they make. Publishing means a number of things. First, user generated content from the tools (e.g., HTML) is saved to an Amazon S3 bucket. A unique URL is also created, such that users can access their content again via their makes.org domain. The Make Valet app provides the routing and logic to map a URL to the content in S3, and common UI for details about a make (i.e., metadata from the Make API). Second, publishing means inserting a record into the Make API, which includes metadata about the make, like URL, date info, which tool was used, tags, etc. The Make API indexes makes using Elastic Search so that they can be found again easily.

Each of the Webmaker tools is a complex thing in its own right. Popcorn Maker publishes embeddable web pages, which are meant to be included via iframes. Thimble allows arbitrary HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to be combined into a single page. X-Ray Goggles allows the live DOM of a web page to be altered and then re-serialized to HTML so it can be published. All of the tools use the Login server for user authentication, S3 for publishing (each app does this step on its own, and in slightly different ways), and the Make API for indexing and metadata storage. Where possible common libraries and modules have been written and are shared across the tools, apps, and servers.

A Tour of Webmaker Code

For the most part, Webmaker code lives in one of many repositories hosted under the Mozilla Github Organization. We also contribute to a number of upstream projects, not all of which are listed below (e.g., node.js modules or libraries we use, but don't maintain directly). There are a few exceptions, but we try to graduate repositories we rely on to the Mozilla Organization instead of hosting them under individual github accounts. For more information about any of these repositories, you are encouraged to consult each their READMEs.

Webmaker Style Guide

Anyone working on Webmaker's front-end, or otherwise altering aspects of user-facing UI/UX should be aware of the Webmaker Style Guide. The Style Guide provides important information about Webmaker's design philosophy and branding, typography, logos, colours, thumbnails, etc.

For Webmaker Logos and other branding marks, see http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/styleguide/identity/webmaker/branding/

Localization (l10n)

Webmaker is a global product, focused as much on non-English speakers as English, and used around the world. We have localized our apps and tools using a mix of server-side and client-side localization. The details about how we do this is available in the Webmaker I18N README.

If you are interested in localizing Webmaker, you can join the Webmaker Transifex project, more details are available in this SUMO article.

Even if you don't plan to translate strings, you'll probably have to make yourself aware of how localization works, since any change to code that touches the front-end or UI will likely trigger an l10n change. See the workflow section for more details.