What I learned from the Firefox Nightly Builds site

A recent discussion about the nightly build site got me thinking about how we’re talking about what we do in a confusing way.

The short version of the story is that nightly.mozilla.org is linking to just Firefox builds. It’s certainly fine having a site devoted to Firefox nightlies, but using the mozilla.org domain creates unnecessary problems.

Equating the words Mozilla and Firefox makes it difficult to understand that Firefox is part of a larger mission—from looking at this site how is someone going to understand that Mozilla is more than just where you download Firefox builds?

Using this domain also sets up the expectation that other projects will be available. Not having other projects feels like an oversight and can even cause tension from parts of the community that feel like this should be available for nightlies for other applications.

If we were limited to one site these might be trade-offs worth making to get Firefox nightlies into more people’s hands, but there’s not only one domain name available. Why not have both nightly.firefox.com and nightly.mozilla.org (mockup of Mozilla nightly page below)?

Changing some domain names is not enough to get people to understand everything about Firefox and Mozilla, but they are part of how we tell our story. From this example it seems we aren’t being as clear as we could be and we’re setting ourselves up for problems that are easily avoidable.

11 thoughts on “What I learned from the Firefox Nightly Builds site

  1. Here I come… 🙂

    This is not just a question of which project, but also which branch. We have nightly update channels on 3.0.x, 3.5.x, 3.6.x, central, lorentz is gonna come soon.

    We have nightly testers in Russia, but only very few of them use the Russian version.

    To me, the real question is, what feedback do we want from our nightly tester audience? Which parts of the internets to we want to get tested by whom on what code?

    I opened a thread in .planning, http://groups.google.com/group/mozilla.dev.planning/browse_frm/thread/b844ccfce7be0576/150d7b55935fec8e?lnk=gst#150d7b55935fec8e. Sadly not very successful so far.

  2. I’m looking at it from view of l10n team. We are doing l10n of few Mozilla apps and some websites but we have small feedback about our work. So we want more testers and trunk is good enough for us. We are looking for bug reports about typos, uncorrect translations etc.

    I miss some page to which I can direct testers and where they can download latest nightly (l10n version). Yes, I can manage it on local website but it’s better to have some page on Mozilla site where are links up-to-date. Many users even don’t know that they can use l10n versions.

  3. I totally agree with you here. *.mozilla.org should be used for project-wide sites, and firefox.com or mozilla.com leveraged if we really need a Firefox-specific site. I love your illustrations of how we could do this better.

  4. The mockup for mozilla.org looks mighty fine.
    per project a row [firefox, thunderbird, seamonkey, songbird calendar(name??), fenec, …]
    there should be a column for each major arch [ Win, Mac, Linux, Mobile, …]
    inside these cells a few links [ 32bit-en, 64bit-en, l10n-subpage, more-info-subpage, forum]

    Images should be kept to the row/col headers. Not inside, that’s wasted space. Think mobile-browser.

    Please, keep it clean, small and simple.
    A gateway or portal if you will, a help to easy find your way.
    Small means fast load, clean and simple means high acceptance. Don’t forget to test the layout in mobile env.


  5. I’m not sure about the proposed page, it seems a little cluttered — and would be more cluttered if you add branches. I think a better approach would be to have links to the nightly build pages for each project.

    The individual project pages could describe the various current branches and where to get the latest for each, and give special instructions on reporting problems or known issues.

    By the way, I’m surprised that four months after the discussion you noted the “Mozilla” nightly build page still only covers “Firefox”. In spite of the heat of the discussion either no one care enough to request a change or someone prevented the change.

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