Two weeks ago the MozReview developers got together to do some focussed hacking. It was a great week, we got a lot of stuff done, and we clarified our priorities for the coming months. We deployed several new features and improvements during the week, and we made good progress on several other goals.
For this week, we actually opted to not go to a Mozilla office and instead rented an AirBNB in Montreal—our own little hacker house! It was a great experience. There was no commuting (except for me, since I live here and opted to sleep at my house) and no distractions. One evening when we were particularly in the zone, we ordered a bunch of pizzas instead of going out, although we made sure to take breaks and go outside regularly on all the other days, in order to refresh our minds. Five out of five participants said they’d do it again!
See also dminor’s post about the week, with a bit more detail on what he worked on.
What we pushed out
My main contribution to the week was finally switching MozReview to Bugzilla’s API-key-based authentication-delegation system. I’d been working on this for the last couple months when I found time, and it was a big relief to finally see it in action. I won’t go into detail here, since I’ve already blogged about it and announced it to dev.platform.
gps, working amazingly fast as always, got API-key support working on the command line almost immediately after UI support was deployed. No more storing credentials or login cookies!
Moving on, we know the MozReview’s UI could… stand some improvement, to say the least. So we split off some standalone work from Autoland around clarifying the status of reviews. Now in the commit table you’ll see something like this:
This warrants a bit of explanation, since we’re reusing some terms from Bugzilla but changing them a little.
r+ indicates at least one ship-it, subject to the following:
- If the author has L3 commit access, the ship-it review can be from anyone.
- If the author does not have L3 commit access, at least one ship-it is from a reviewer with L3 access.
The reason for the L3 requirement is for Autoland. Since a human won’t necessarily be looking at your patch between the time that a review is granted and the commit landing in tree, we want some checks and balances. If you have L3 yourself, you’re trusted enough to not require an L3 reviewer, and vice versa. We know this is a bit different from how things work right now with regards to the checkin-needed flag, so we’re going to open a discussion on mozilla.governance about this policy.
If one or more reviewers have left any issues, the icon will be the number of open issues beside an exclamation mark on a yellow backgroud. If that or any other reviewer has also left a ship-it (the equivalent of an “r+ with minor issues”), the issue count will switch to an r+ when all the issues have been marked as fixed or dropped.
If there are no open issues nor any ship-its, a grey r? will be displayed.
We’ve also got some work in progress to make it clearer who has left what kind of review that should be live in a week or two.
We also removed the ship-it button. While convenient if you have nothing else to say in your review, it’s caused confusion for new users, who don’t understand the difference between the “Ship It!” and “Review” buttons. Instead, we now have just one button, labelled “Finalize Review”, that lets you leave general comments and, if desired, a ship-it. We plan on improving this dialog to make it easier to use if you really just want to leave just a ship-it and no other comments.
Finally, since our automation features will be growing, we moved the Autoland-to-try button to a new Automation menu.
Where we’re going
As alluded to above, we’re actively working on Autoland and trying to land supporting features as they’re ready. We’re aiming to have this out in a few weeks; more posts to come.
Much of the rest of our plan for the next quarter or two is around user experience. For starters, MozReview has to support the same feature set as Splinter/Bugzilla. This means implementing things like marking files as reviewed and passing your review onto someone else. We also need to continue to improve the user interface by further differentiating between parent review requests, which are intended only to provide an overview of the whole commit series, and child review requests, which is where the actual reviews should happen. Particularly confusing is when there’s only one child, which means the parent and the child are nearly indistinguishable (of course in this case the parent isn’t really needed, but hiding or otherwise doing away with the parent in this case could also be confusing).
And then we have some other big-ticket items like static analysis, which we started a while back; release-management tools; enabling Review Board’s rich emails; partial-series landing (being able to land earlier commits as they are reviewed without confusing MozReview in the next push); and, of course, git support, which is going to be tricky but will undoubtedly make a number of people happy.
Our priorities are currently documented on our new road map, which we’ll update at least once or twice a quarter. In particular, we’ll be going over it again soon once we have the results from our engineering-productivity survey.