Gordon P. Hemsley

Linguist by day. Web developer by night.

Ubiquity 0.6 Released!

Posted by Gordon P. Hemsley on July 21, 2010

About a week and a half ago, the Ubiquity team (I’m the one in red) had a little meeting at the 2010 Mozilla Summit and we discussed the past, present, and future of Ubiquity.

One of the main goals of this meeting, in my mind, was to get a new release of Ubiquity out, so that the greater masses could be exposed to all the wonderful work satyr has been doing over the past many months. After being reprimanded by the hotel staff no less than twice, we finally were able to get down and discuss the logistics of that. We had a couple of issues to deal with. For one, there were still a number of users on the 0.1.x branch of Ubiquity, despite the 0.5.x branch being available for quite a while, and the reasons for this included a lot of backwards compatibility issues: the 0.5.x branch used a new parser that could break some of the older, 0.1.x commands; the 0.5.x branch didn’t properly support Firefox 3.6; etc. And there was also the issue of the 0.5.x branch never being released on AMO, leaving many users unaware that it even existed.

So, originally, the idea was to release satyr’s code as 0.5.5—simply an extension of the 0.5.x branch. However, a number of people on the team felt it best to bump the version up to 0.6, and I didn’t disagree, given the aforementioned issues. And since we were attempting to clean the slate as best as possible with regard to backwards compatibility, I also suggested that we bump the minVersion up to Firefox 3.6 for Ubiquity 0.6, from 3.5 (which probably still works). This had the added benefit of allowing people stuck on Firefox 3.5 to keep plodding happily along with the 0.1.x branch (which has now—finally—been discontinued).

Before I continue, let me just point you to Ubiquity 0.6 on AMO so that you can download if you don’t already have it.

If you allow me to briefly jump ahead a bit, it was soon discovered that Jono (who had access to the AMO account, and who was charged with packaging the release) could not remember his Hg password. I don’t know if that has since been rectified, but the bottom line was that all the changes he made in order to package up the release could not be committed to the Ubiquity repository. So that left the repo and the released 0.6 package as differing from each other. (I think satyr has mostly restored those changes to the repo, but that was only within the past few days.) So releasing Ubiquity 0.6 was quite the event—and I haven’t even mentioned the fact that we completely sprung it on satyr! (I’d told him a few weeks earlier that I was gunning for it to happen, but he had no idea the meeting was even going down.)

Now back to the meeting, where we also discussed the future of Ubiquity. One of the most forefront targets, I think, would be rewriting Ubiquity as a JetPack (or at least with a JetPack wrapper). That would allow much more uniformity across the Ubiquity codebase, as well as giving Ubiquity access to all JetPack has to offer. Mitcho and cers attempted to take the first step towards that goal (that being the wrapper) during the JetPack Hack-A-Thon at the Summit, but ran out of time. So that work still needs to be done.

At the meeting, we also discussed resurrecting the effort to make Ubiquity more ubiquitous (Aza’s pun) by getting it incorporated into Firefox as Taskfox. I don’t recall what the first steps for getting that done are, but I think it’d be a worthy task.

So, at the end of the meeting, I (and, I think, the others) came out seeing the future of Ubiquity as brighter than we previously thought. All we need now are some brilliant, dedicated developers to make it happen. Unfortunately, many of said developers are spending their time with more high-priority tasks: Jono is working on Test Pilot; Mitcho and Aza are working on TabCandy; Atul and cers are working on JetPack. And these are all extremely worthy tasks. But if you want to help out with Ubiquity, don’t hesitate to drop by the #ubiquity channel on the Mozilla IRC server!

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