Kuma Report, May 2017
- Refactored zone CSS
- Improved drafts
- Moved redirects into Kuma
- Retired old features
- Let data be data
- Shipped tweaks and fixes
Here’s the plan for June:
- Ship on-site interactive examples
- Ship brand updates to beta users
- Add KumaScript macro tests
- Ship the sample database
Done in May
Refactored Zone CSS
Some MDN sections look different, like the archive of old pages. Others also appear at non-standard URLs, like the Firefox pages. Kuma uses manually maintained Zones to accomplish this, and it is a source of bugs and inconsistent experiences.
We took a big step toward better zones by refactoring the custom styles. escattone did the backend work (PR 4209) so that styles are automatically applied across translations. stephaniehobson did the front-end work, moving the CSS from the database to the repository (PR 4206), then splitting them into per-zone CSS files (PR 4224, PR 4229).
The zone CSS is now up to the quality standard of the rest of our CSS, and the experience across translations is more consistent. It wasn’t easy, taking 10 total PRs, but Sass and other front-end tools made the transition smoother than it would have been a year ago. Custom Zone URLs are still painful, but we’ll tackle those soon.
We have a papercut process to determine the most annoying bugs. Recently, bugs around the drafts feature rose to the top. The draft feature saves the editor content to local storage, to add a layer of safety from browser crashes and session timeouts.
stephaniehobson has been working on PR
4186 for a few weeks, and it was
recently merged to master. This PR fixes 6 known bugs, including the
document_saved query parameter. This code will be be deployed next
Moved Redirects into Kuma
In production, many basic redirects are handled using Apache RewriteRules. This helped with the transition from DekiWiki to Kuma in 2012. As we move to AWS, we’d like to move this functionality into Kuma. This makes it easier to test and modify redirects, reduces differences between development and deployment, and reduces or eliminates the need for Apache or another web server.
pmac recently released django-redirect-url, which packages the redirects code used by bedrock. metadave integrated this library (PR 4217), and translated production Apache rules into Kuma code (PR 4220). The functional tests exposed an Apache configuration difference between staging and production, which our WebOps team fixed. The work continues in PR 4231.
Now that we have a redirects framework in Kuma, we may use it to help retire the custom zone URLs.
Retired Old Features
I removed some features that have been deprecated in the last year:
- Vagrant, used from 2011 to 2016 for a development environment, is replaced by Docker (PR 4214 and 4216).
- Ansible, used from 2016 to 2017 for provisioning development and testing environments, is also replaced by Docker. (PR 4239 and 4242).
- KumaScript macro editing on Kuma, used from 2012 to 2016, has moved to the KumaScript repo (PR 4208, 4232, and 4233).
The changes removed 7,600 lines from the Kuma project, and means that we don’t
have to explain this bit of history to new contributors. We’re using more of
the native services of TravisCI, which
py27 build 30% faster, and lets us experiment with alternate
environments and services.
Let Data be Data
There’s a lot of data on MDN, contributed over more than 10 years. A lot of that data is trapped in formats like HTML that made it easy to contribute, but hard to maintain and remix. We want to formalize this data in machine-parsable formats, so that MDN and others can use it in new and exciting ways.
mdn/data contains general data for Web technologies, starting with CSS data such as properties, selectors, and types. There were 12 merged PRs in May, and after some recent updates (PR 162 by jwhitlock and PR 183 by Elchi3) we’re using the master branch on MDN again.
With these data sources rapidly changing, there is pressure on KumaScript to
move quickly and break less things. They can be loaded as npm
npm install mdn/browser-compat-data and
npm install mdn/data), and with
PR 183, we’re loading some of the
data this way. He also has switched from
(PR 188), in preparation for
automated testing of KumaScript macros.
Shipped Tweaks and Fixes
Here’s some other highlights from the 37 merged Kuma PRs in May:
- PR 4210: Upgrade py.test, a testing framework, as well as related py.test plugins (jwhitlock).
- PR 4240: Add liveness and readiness endpoints, so that Kubernetes can dynamically start and stop Kuma pods (escattone).
- PR 4237: Upgrade Bleach, an HTML sanitizing library (jwhitlock).
Here’s some other highlights from the 19 merged KumaScript PRs in May:
- PR 173: Update the WebExtension compatibility tables for browser-compat-data changes (wbamberg)
- PR 174 and PR 178: Updates to the AddonSidebar (first contributions from rebloor).
- PR 187: Update the LegacyAddonsNotice (first contribution from andrewtruongmoz).
Planned for June
Mozilla is gathering in San Francisco for an All-Hands meeting at the end of June, which leaves 3 week for development work. Here’s what we’re planning to ship in June:
Ship On-site Interactive Examples
We ran an A/B test on popular pages, showing half the users pages with small examples on top, and half without. We looked at the analytics, and we did not see a significant change in user behavior. We did get feedback that the samples are useful, especially for those reminding themselves how a familiar technology works.
We’re going ahead with the next phase. We’re going to make the new version the default, and start experimenting with interactive examples. Instead of looking for changes in site usage, we’ll focus on interaction and performance. schalkneethling is leading this next phase, and you can follow the work at mdn/interactive-examples.
Ship Brand Updates to Beta Users
Mozilla had a open design process to develop a new brand identity, and has a website detailing the results. This new brand is rolling out across Mozilla websites. We’ve also been thinking about the brand, mission, and focus of MDN, which has evolved over the last five years.
In June, we’ll start talking about the MDN brand, and will start shipping some of the new elements to beta users, such as updated logos, headers, and footers.
Add KumaScript Macro Tests
Currently, maintainers review KumaScript macro changes by manually testing them in development environments. This works for small changes, but big changes and complex macros are hard to test manually. In June, escattone will start adding regression tests for some key macros. When we have a working framework and some good examples, we’ll start asking staff and contributors to add tests for other macros, and to submit updated tests with PRs.
Ship the Sample Database
The Sample Database has been promised every month since October 2016, and
has slipped every month. We don’t want to break the tradition, so we’ll
bend it a little. The first bit of the supporting code, a
command, has been merged, and the rest of the code will ship in July.
See PR 4248 for the
scrape_document command, and
PR 4076 for the remaining tasks.