mr mr cote

Educational, Investigative, and Absurd Writings by M. R. Côté

BMO in 2013

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2013 was a pretty big year for BMO! I covered a bit in my last post on BMO, but I want to sum up just some of the things that the team accomplished in 2013 as well as to give you a preview of a few things to come.

We push updates to BMO generally on a weekly basis. The changelog for each push is posted to glob’s blog and linked to from Twitter (@globau) and from BMO’s discussion forum, mozilla.tools.bmo (available via mailing list, Google Group, and USENET).

I’m leaving comments open, but if you have something to discuss, please bring it to mozilla.tools.bmo.

Stats for 2013

BMO Usage:

35 190 new users registered
130 385 new bugs filed
107 884 bugs resolved

BMO Development:

115 code pushes
1 202 new bugs filed
1 062 bugs resolved

Native REST API

2013 saw a big investment in making Bugzilla a platform, not just a tool, for feature and defect tracking (and the other myriad things people use it for!). We completed a native RESTish API to complement the antiquated XMLRPC, JSONRPC, and JSONP interfaces. More importantly, we’ve built out this API to support more and more functionality, such as logging in with tokens, adding and updating flags, and querying the permissions layer.

Something worth taking note of is the bzAPI compatibility layer, which will be deployed in early Q1 of 2014. bzAPI is a nice application which implements a REST interface to Bugzilla through a combination of the legacy APIs, CSV renderings, and screen-scraped HTML. It is, however, essentially a proxy service to Bugzilla, so it has both limited functionality and poorer performance than a native API. With the new bzAPI compatibility layer, site admins will just have to change a URL to take advantage of the faster built-in REST API.

We are also planning to take the best ideas from the old APIs, bzAPI, the newly added functionality, and modern REST interfaces to produce an awesome version 2.0.

Project Kick-off Form

The Project Kick-off Form that was conceived and driven by Michael Coates was launched in January. The BMO team implemented the whole thing in the preceding months and did various improvements over the course of 2013.

The Form is now in the very capable hands of Winnie Aoieong. Winnie did a Project Kick-Off Refresher Brown Bag last month if you want, well, a refresher. We’ll be doing more to support this tool in 2014.

Sandstone Skin

BMO finally got a new default look this year. This was the result of some ideas from the “Bugzilla pretty” contest, the Mozilla Sandstone style guide, and our own research and intuition. BMO is still a far cry from a slick Web 2.x (or are we at 3.0 yet?) site, but it’s a small step towards it.

Oh and we have Gravatar support now!

User Profiles

Want to get some quick stats about a Bugzilla user—how long they’ve been using Bugzilla, the length of their review queue, or the areas in which they’ve been active? Click on a user’s name and select “Profile”, or go directly to your user profile page and enter a name or email into the search field.

File bugs under bugzilla.mozilla.org :: Extensions: UserProfile if there are other stats you think might be useful.

Review Suggestions and Reminders

Code reviews were a big topic at Mozilla in 2013. The BMO team implemented a couple related features:

  • Reviewer suggestions: When you are flagging a patch for review, you are now presented with a link to a list of one or more suggested reviewers according to the bug’s product and component. This is useful for new contributors who won’t necessarily know who would make a good candidate for review. Given beside the username is the number of reviews in that person’s queue, to encourage spreading reviews out.

  • Review notifications: As a result of a discussion on code reviews on dev.planning, by default you now get daily emails about your open reviews. You can also subscribe to these notifications for any Bugzilla user, something particularly useful to managers. As a bonus feature, you also get the number of requests assigned to you presented in a small red circle at the top of every Bugzilla page.

System Upgrade

When we upgraded† BMO to Bugzilla 4.2, IT also moved BMO from older hardware in Phoenix to new, faster hardware in SCL3. BMO was then set up anew in Phoenix and is now the failover location in case of an outage in SCL3.

† The BMO team regularly backports particularly useful patches from later upstream Bugzilla versions and trunk, but we fully upgraded to version 4.2 in the spring of 2013.

Other Stuff

We added user and product dashboards, implemented comment tagging, improved bug update times, and added redirects for GitHub pull-request reviews.

And then there were various bits of internal plumbing largely (by design!) invisible to users, such as the great tracking-flags migration; tonnes of little fixes here and there; and of course daily administration.

Plans for 2014

We’re already at work planning and implementing new features to start 2014 off right.

  • The Bugzilla Change Notification System will be deployed to production. This will allow external applications (and eventually the native UI) to subscribe to one or more bugs via Web Sockets and be notified when they change.

  • Performance instrumentation will be integrated into BMO (and upstream Bugzilla) to provide profiling data. Bugzilla’s been around for quite some time and, in supporting various complex workflows, its operations in turn can be quite involved. We’ll use data provided by this system to determine where we should focus optimization work.

  • We added memcached support to Bugzilla in Q4 of 2013; this will be pushed to BMO early in Q1 of 2014. Initially BMO will only use memcached for a few objects, but we’ll be adding more over time.

  • We’re setting up ElasticSearch clusters to provide a different way to access Bugzilla data, suitable for dashboards and general research.

  • Code reviews are a continued focus at Mozilla, so we’re implementing a way to get authoritative, comprehensive review data directly from BMO.

Our quarterly goals and other major work items are tracked on the BMO wiki page. You can also check out our road map for some vague ideas of plans into the future; these are ideas based on our current understanding of the Mozillaverse and will almost certainly change to some degree.

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