29 September, 2013

Brace yourselves, a new Mozilla India is coming...

WIP title: Releasing Krakens... an entire army of them!

Peek-a-boo: New visual identity of Mozilla India... Yay!

Well, the idea of Foxy hugging the Ashoka Chakra as the logo had to be thrown into the gutter - too many objections about potential abuse of the country-emblem. Though, I fail to see how hugging your mother can be considered a nefarious act!

Now, to the main topic; TL;DR: The new Mozilla India websites is live & kickin', also it has got some new platform-integration (& underlying infrastructure upgrade). The Mozilla India developers have been at work for a while now & things have started to shape up.

The Platforms & the Infrastructure

I'll be mentioning these two terms way too often below, so I'd rather give a brief:

Platforms: a software stack on an OS, allowing us to achieve some task in particular. Some lose examples would be blogging, content management, documentation, API, content serving etc.

Infrastructure: the hardware with OS & networking, on top of which the platform is stacked & run.

Throughout the blog, I'll be defining platform owners; which means, the person solely responsible for managing the platform & its operations. For any questions/requests regarding the same should be directed to them.

ONLY IF, it's an infrastructural issue, down-time, or the platform-owners fail to resolve the problem, then it should bubble up to me. I will be the infrastructure owner, making sure nothing needs to be bubbled up to me; and if I fail, I'll fall back to Mozilla IT.

New Mozilla India Website

After two and a half years on Drupal, emulating the need of all different platforms (such as blogging, promotion, event management) & doing it quite badly, we finally have a brand new mozillaindia.org!

Thanks Kaustav for leading the development; it's completely HTML/CSS/JS, and without any server-side scripting need.

Also, thanks to Scrollback folks for the microforum widget into the homepage, letting the community members join IRC meetings without needing to setup clients, or check logs without having bouncers.
While we're at it, let's sort out some old accounts:

I don't know the decision of tight-coupling all the community consumable modules (e.g. Sandstone, Tabzilla etc.) into the Bedrock was taken exactly by whom (from Mozilla WebDev team), but FYI - I hate you, and many others from all different communities do. We are now either locked-in to use Python/Playdoh, or waste time on splitting them off of Bedrock for using with other platforms/frameworks.

Using gitmodules, or making them a hosted solution wouldn't have been too much of trouble, would it?
Platform owner: N/A.

Mozilla India Blog

The blog.mozillaindia.org, running WordPress with One Mozilla community theme will be the main announcement channel & noticeboard of Mozilla India.

We're looking into a planet-like solution built into it, to aggregate blogs of community members, but till then anyone is allowed to post. To get user accounts, contact Sayak; for getting posts reviewed, contact Vineel.

Platform Owner: Sayak.

Mozilla India Wiki

The wiki.mozillaindia.org has been set up & handed over to the documentation taskforce a while back.

Expect all information about Mozilla India to be categorized in the Wiki, or feel free to hop in & make it as such.

Platform Owner: Priyanka.

Mozilla India Hive

This month, we also have kicked off our own Mozilla Hive Learning network. The ones who did not attend the MakerParty Bangalore, you missed a lot.

Thanks to Dron Rathore, for all the awesome work he put into for the development of hive.mozillaindia.org.

Platform Owner: N/A.

Mozilla India Bugzilla

In last community-workweek, we've been debating for a better task tracking tool for ourselves; and while there were so many suggestions, practically nothing could beat our good-ol' Bugzilla.

So, our bugz.mozillaindia.org runs a v4.2 deployment of Bugzilla. And is now open to all. \m/

Platform Owner: Me.

Mozilla India Developers

Last, but certainly not the least - the drive for engaging more developers from India is now very high on momentum.

For quite a couple of months of idealization, the Project 300 is finally a GO. Now we have a complete list of Developers from India (with India as country in Mozillians' profile) who have contributed to the Mozilla codebase (which is tracked by BMO). Visit devs.mozillaindia.org to check what I'm talking about.

Thanks a lot to Sankha & Girish for all the efforts they've put in, to turn it from an idea to a reality. Now, if you see any potential for aggressive expansions to our this small operation - be our guest, and send in a Pull Request.

Also, now we have a mailing-list dedicated to Mozilla India developers. No more we have to spam the community list with weird-sort-of discussions - just subscribe to https://lists.mozilla.org/listinfo/community-india-dev and you're all set. WARNING: follow the mailing-list netiquettes.

Platform Owner: Me.

What's next?

Here are a couple of things we'll need to look into in upcoming days:
  • Migrate the platforms to separate infrastructures, even if virtually. Most web-servers running from same infra is risky, less flexible to experiment with & more vulnerable to downtime.
  • Roll out more platforms & community tools - delegate the platform ownerships accordingly.
  • Let's create an ecosystem to engage the community members to find platform issues & report them, platform owners marking/labeling the priorities & complexities of the bugs reported, and get the newcomer-developers started with low-hanging issues to fix, from that bucket.
  • While we have a plenty of developers, we need more ServerOps; especially the ones who can kick me out of my place & take the ownership of the Infra. Come and work with me to understand "the design" underneath, if you're aspiring for it.
  • We need to separate heavy, non-urgent tasks as GSoC projects & mentor for the same from next year onwards.
  • The technical task-force needs expansion - some planning around its next steps would be rad!
  • Proactive collaboration & better communications among the developers.

Overall - in Mozilla India, things are kind of awesome - we just needed to present ourselves better. I'm all-in to help that fact, and comments, feedback, suggestions are more than welcome!