Project List

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Seneca College and Mozilla are working on many joint research and development projects. These projects are listed below. Many of the projects below are part of the DPS909 or OSD600 courses.

For more information about what Seneca is doing with Mozilla and other open source projects, see the Main Page.



This page lists many of the research and coursework projects that are being done between Seneca faculty, students, and Mozilla. All of these projects are open source, and you can get involved with any of the current ones, or look at the list of Potential Projects. If you'd like to create your own project, please use the Sample Project page as a template.


This list includes active and historical (e.g., completed or orphaned) projects. You can also see a list of Potential Projects that need people.

Active Projects

Convert password storage to a SQLite database

Currently, Firefox stores logins in a text file in the user's profile (signons2.txt). The format is simple, but inflexible. Storage of other browser data, such as cookies and form history, has steadily been moving towards using SQLite-backed databases so moving password storage to the same kind of storage would be good. Some work was started in bug 288040.

References: dolske

Modify Firefox to throttle Plugins when Inactive

Modify the browser so that it throttles plugins back when the user/browser/system is inactive. Consider, for example, work that has been done in Safari. You could consider doing this via the IdleService, with an observer set to go off at an appropriate interval. You should also consider how to deal with the case of videos (YouTube). Perhaps keep a white list of movie sites, or other plugin-dependent content that shouldn't be throttled.

Resources: gluon

Thunderbird Picture Preview

Write an extension for Thunderbird that allows the user to start a slideshow preview of all images in the current message. The feature would work like this: when a mail arrives with pictures attached, a button or some other UI is added to the message that allows the slideshow to begin. When clicked, the images are shown one after the other, properly scaled to fit in the window. Consider using Canvas to do the custom graphics, and take a look at this existing Thunderbird extension for ideas.

References: #maildev

Universal Firefox on a USB Key

Create a portable USB installation of Firefox that will work on all of Windows, Linux, and Mac. Currently there are binaries for doing this with Windows/Linux. You'll need to get binaries for the app on each platform, figure out how to share a common profile, and get it all on a single USB key. Some existing work in this area has been done, and could be built upon.

Resources: sxip/dick,,,

Canvas3D JS Library

A project to add JS APIs on top of the canvas3d element in order to support 3D and game development.

Make FUEL work with Firefox 2

Mozilla's FUEL (Firefox User Extension Library) is a JavaScript Library designed to help developers build extensions using terminology and interfaces that are more familiar to them. Currently it works with Firefox 3, but it would be helpful to have it work with Firefox 2 as well. Work toward having the existing FUEL Tests pass for Firefox 2.

Resources: mfinkle

Bugfixing on the GFX backend

The GFX backend for Firefox 3 has been ripped out and re-written, and it requires some debugging and small amounts of implementation work on Linux and Mac. Assist the GFX developers to ship their product for the start of the new year.


Firefox sometimes gets a bad reputation for crashing or locking up when a plugin such as Adobe Flash or Windows Media Player causes the problem. Add code to Firefox (or write an extension) so that when a plugin misbehaves, a dialog is presented informing the user so that they can take corrective action (disabling the plugin) or filing a bug with the right party (this warning could be similar to the warning that appears when a JS script in a web page hogs too much CPU time. As a minimum it should identify that a plugin is to blame; better would be to inform the user of the plugin's name; best would be to provide an option to temporarily disable the plugin).

Buildbot and EC2

The Buildbot is software for automatically building and testing other software. EC2 is Amazon's "Elastic Compute Cloud", a service that lets you run Virtual Machines on Amazon's computing grid using a web API. It would be awesome if BuildBot had an EC2 module, and could spawn Virtual Machines on-demand to perform tasks. Conveniently, BuildBot is written in Python, and there's a Python library for interfacing with EC2.

Automated localization build tool

This tool will help localizations e.g. en-CA to get a build of it without having to "from" from another localization like en-GB

  • References: Mic, Alix, Axel

Tinderbox front page improvements

Tinderbox is a web app showing the results of multiple machines building Firefox, running unit tests on it, and running performance tests on it, all on three different platforms (Windows, Linux, Mac). The display is very crowded right now, and can be difficult to read. In addition, some of the interesting information (changes in performance, for example) are hard to notice. The tinderbox server software recently was updated to include JSON output, which means that webpages can now easily access the data to build their own displays. Using this data, create a new display for the Tinderbox data that helps developers monitor the status of the builds and performance data.

CSS guide

The Mozilla Developer Center would like to add a CSS guide to its set of major documents, covering at least the top 100 CSS properties in use on the web today. This data can be obtained through tools . It should include numerous examples, and a fair number of small tutorial/how-to sections for different common tasks or requests from web authors.

Reference: CSS Reference

Web-based Virtual Machine Management

Create a web-based rapid provisioning system for virtual machines, building on work started by Ben Hearsum. A user could select an operating system, toolchain, and source branch and the VM would be configured and started (using Xen, KVM, or another hypervisor/backend).

Support For OpenID

OpenID is an open, decentralized, free framework for user-centric digital identity. It's built on existing web technologies so that it can work without special support in the browser. However, tighter browser integration could allow for increased security and easier management. See bug 356853. Needs definition as to exactly what should be done and how. Could be initially implemented as an extension.

Mozilla@Seneca Wiki Administration

This wonderful wiki needs attention too! Already there are configuration issues that need to get fixed, extensions we could be using, etc. As we push further with this, we'll come up with more things too. This work will require knowledge of PHP, server administration, knowledge of MediaWiki.

Mozilla@Seneca Cluster Administration

Administration of the Mozilla cluster at Seneca.

Improve Mozilla Application and Platform Documentation

Not enough is understood about the various communities and companies who develop with Mozilla, as opposed to those who work on the Mozilla code itself. A proper survey needs to be conducted in order to find out which APIs are being used and how, what is hard, what could be improved, etc. The Mozilla Platform Application Developers is interested in changing this. Their goal is to work with the Mozilla development community to survey, understand, and document the current state of the art. In this project you will work with the mozpad community to connect with projects/companies in orbit around Mozilla and do interviews with their developers. You will then document this information.

Localized Search in Firefox Search Box

Firefox features a search box that can be customized to work with different search engines (e.g., Google, Yahoo!, Wikipedia). Most websites have their own search facilities, but the location of the search box on the page varies considerably. Create a mechanism for Firefox to pick up a website's search mechanism and make it accessible to the user through the Firefox search box, so that users have a consistent place to look for site-specific search.

My Favicons extension

An extension to allow the user to pick his/her own favicons for sites, based on a URL regexp. The image should get stored as part of the user’s profile, so that it doesn’t have to live in the same place on the user’s disk. Ideally, it should also be possible to export the regexp -> icon mapping as a regexp -> data URI mapping that can be imported into another profile.


Mozilla Developer Resource Kit

A project to create a resource kit (i.e., DVDs) containing the tools, documentation, source code, and learning materials necessary for a new developer or student to begin developing Mozilla.

Create Local MXR

Many developers without highspeed network access would like to be able to use MXR but can't. Build a lightweight, installable Windows package that gives the full functionality of MXR locally. Create a Prism front-end specific for the task of using this local MXR.

Resources: MXR source, patches to lxr in the tree

References: dave

Add to Try Server Automated Testing Support

In the TryServer that we are going to set up at Senece, we are going to support automated testing support

Reference: (armenzg's blog post) Buildbot automated testing integration

Places API Bugfixing

This project seeks to provide bug fixing support and solutions to the Places API component. Places is the new replacement for the bookmarks/history that is going to be released in Firefox 3. More information about Places can be found here.

Active Directory Integration

Firefox doesn't have integrated Active Directory (AD) support. AD is useful generally in enterprises where there are thousands of machines and setting up web browser preferences on each one may be a tedious task. AD lets you set up group policies that Firefox should follow. For example, some policies may include setting the default home page, or setting the proxy settings based on user groups.

Firefox Deployment Kit

As of right now, it is hard for IT administrators to install Firefox remotely over the network. Certain tools exist to help them but there is very little in the way of customization on the browser itself. This is limiting Firefox's ability to get into large networks and companies where IE is more prevalent. My .msi compiler will allow an administrator to build a Firefox installer and push it over the network.

Buildbot and Cairo

Automate Cairo builds with testing suites on Buildbot for all 3 platforms.

Historical Projects

Mozilla Source and Symbol Server

Create a source code server to work with Mozilla's current symbol server. This will allow users to do full debugs of nightly release builds with access to remote symbols and full source code.


APNG stands for Animated PNG, an extension to the PNG specification to allow for animated PNG images. Similar to how Animated GIF is an extension of GIF. Create such a thing.

Extending the Buildbot

This project is a catch-all for Buildbot development done here. The Buildbot is an automated build system written in python. It is used on the Mozilla Seneca Cluster.

Related skills: Python

Distcc With MSVC

Speed up Mozilla's builds by letting them use MSVC with distcc on Windows.

Add support for more compilers to distcc

An earlier project added multi-compiler support to distcc, and then MSVC support. The framework is now in place to support even more compilers. Add support for another compiler, perhaps Java, C#, or something else.

Mozilla Metrics

This project focus is to building an extension that will enable Firefox to gather user metric data. Data would be collected on those who have the extension installed and have opted-in on metrics collecting. The collected data would then be transmitted to Mozilla servers for furthering processing. The data is intended to be public, and would be used to get a better understanding of how users interact Firefox.

Mozilla Metrics Server Collection

The Mozilla Metrics project is focused to collect different forms of metrics data from the Firefox browser. This project proposes to recieve the data being sent from the Metrics extension and then store them within a database which can be used in the future. The type of data gathered by the Metrics extension includes profile data (non-identifiable), UI interaction, installed plugins, bookmarks, etc.

Buggy Bar - Bug Triage Extension

Mike Beltzner suggested this one after his talk. The idea is to make it trivial for testers to follow-through a bug's Steps To Reproduce (STR) so as to confirm it. A tester should be able to use this Extension to ask for a bug (i.e., one would be picked for him/her--no querying) and then a sidebar or similar would appear showing the steps to follow. Under that would need to be a way (e.g., buttons) to say that the bug is confirmed or not. Ideally the QA team could prioritize bugs so they appear in this list automatically, making it easier for testers to get the "right" bugs quickly.

Reference: talk to beltzner.

OS X Keychain integration

It would be great to store Firefox's saved passwords in the OS X keychain, for consistency and ease of use.

Reference: Bug 106400

Delta debugging framework

Delta debugging is an automated approach to debugging that isolates failures systematically. Given a failing test that can be mechanically verified (including a browser crash), delta debugging is a way of automatically isolating the change that introduced the failure. Having a framework in place to pull builds from CVS, bisect by date and change set (using bonsai data -- remember, CVS doesn't have changesets!), and report results would let computers make developers more productive.

Desktop Social Networking Integration

Alter The Coop experimental extension so it uses generic API instead of Facebook specifically; put the generic API in the "desktop data engine" also used by BigBoard (and hopefully other desktop apps in the future). Resources: RH online desktop team.

D-Bus and other Linux desktop integration improvements

Various Linux distributors have patches in their Firefox packages that add bits and pieces of Linux integration, and we'd like to see even more available. One particular area of interest is controlling the browser via d-bus, and exposing dbus events to the application and extensions.

Generalization of Joga extension

We worked with partners to create an extension for delivering World Cup scoring updates as well as providing country-specific themes. We'd like someone to take it apart, remove or refactor the Joga-specific pieces so that it can be used for other such data sources (hello, hockey?), and write some basic documentation for how to create your own notification-and-theme extension from the toolkit that results.

Related tech and skills: XUL, JavaScript, documentation, web services

XULRunner Guide

The XULRunner project provides an "application runner" for building apps -- like Firefox, Thunderbird, and Sunbird -- atop the Mozilla toolkit framework. It needs a guide outlined, high-priority parts written, and examples created to help people get started.

Related tech and skills: XUL, documentation, cross-platform testing


Breakpad development and server operation

The Breakpad project is developing an open source crash reporting and analysis system, analogous to Talkback. There's lots of work to do on wiring it into the build system, operating servers for collecting and analyzing data, and extending Firefox's use of it to collect additional helpful information (like installed extensions, memory usage, etc.)

Reference: Bug 216827, here, and here

Radio Button Bookmarks Extension

Create an extension to provide radio-button style bookmarks.

Calendar stuff

The Calendar project has lots of stuff for people to do, from Exchange connectors to off-line caching to bug fixes and minor features galore. A good place to start is the #calendar IRC channel on moznet.

Unit Testing

Programmatic testing of software. The participant will take a section of code and write unit tests for it, fully testing all aspects of the code. This may require the creation of a unit testing framework and interfacing with other developers who know a particular module or service. The programmer will be adept at finding boundary cases and creating tests that deliberately break the software through code. These may lead to the creation of bugs in bugzilla.

Reference: Work with Mozilla's Rob Campbell and Jay Patel from the QA Team.

DDE Bug Within The Address Bar

Currently there is a bug in Firefox such that when running 3 or more instances of the browser, the address bar loses focus when cutting and pasting a string. Regular typing works perfectly when the bug is present. The purpose of this project is to track down and attempt to fix this bug.

Reference: Bug 220900.

MDC Infrastructure

Integrate new features to MDC, work on existing bugs and fix compatibility issues for the upgrade of Mediawiki to 1.7. (Tentative description)

Firefox Performance Testing : A Python framework for Windows

Building new tests, improving on existing ones, strengthening the framework itself and porting it to other OS's. Related to the Performance Testing Project

Reference: alice

Vista Testing

Testing Firefox on the new Microsoft Vista operating system.

Source Code Indexing Service Analysis

Mozilla is evaluating Subversion for revision control, and at the same time wants to look at other source indexing services. This project will setup, document, and test other potential services (e.g., fisheye, opengrok, mxr) on one of the Seneca-Mozilla servers. In each case this requires configuration changes and some scripting to get the services to properly integrate with Mozilla’s other on-line tools. When the test services are installed and synched with the live source tree, Mozilla will point its developers to them and get feedback—-the students will help collect and synthesize this feedback.

Mozilla Based Accessibility

To work with the accessibility team on screen reader compatibility issues outside of Firefox, fixing bugs using XUL in Songbird or Thunderbird or Sunbird calendar etc.

Simple Citation

Create a Firefox extension that will allow citations to be easily generated.

Functional Testing

Testing performed from a user's perspective. Includes the running and writing of test cases in Litmus, filing and tracking bugs through [ bugzilla], stress-testing and exploratory debugging. This project requires a dedication to breaking software in an organized and repeatable fashion. There is no such thing as "the wrong way" to use software and the functional tester is adept at abusing a system in previously-unknown ways.

Reference: Work with Mozilla's Rob Campbell and Jay Patel from the QA Team.

Performance Testing

Extending the performance toolkit and tinderbox reporting system. The project begins with a framework for testing page loads and startup times in Win32. The successful completion of this project will see this framework develop into a more robust system complete with processor-timing information and graphing. Memory analysis and samples during runs would also be beneficial. Further success or sub-projects could include porting the system Linux and OS X platforms.

Reference: Bug 346785. Work with Mozilla's Rob Campbell and Jay Patel from the QA Team.

XML 3D Project

This project is being built by Mark Paruzel and Yi (Eric) Shen for BTS530. It involves the incorporation of new HTML tags into a document that would correspond to a 3D interface. The successful completion of this project will yield an easy-to-use developer interface that takes advantage of client-side 3D hardware.

Mozilla Web Tools

While most people think only about the building of browsers, Mozilla also has substantial investment in server-side web tools. This project is a catch-all for activities related to PHP and other web development.

Testing Mozilla Linux/Runtime Requirements

Mozilla is in the process of finalizing a set of Linux library and runtime requirements for distributions wanting to ship Mozilla software. This project will test various bugs against two different sets of runtime setups, hoping to expose any issues with the new requirements.

Testing of Canadian Banking and Financial Sites in Mozilla

This project will focus on improving the user experience at banking and other financial sites for Canadian Mozilla users. This includes determining which sites are relevant, insuring proper behavior for Firefox 3 on these sites, etc.


Automated Testing

Programmatically driving the browser to perform human-like tasks repeatedly. The programmer will have to create a framework for driving browser components in JavaScript or other scripting language to repeatedly test various pieces of the application. Ideally, the successful completion of this task will see a test or suite of tests that can be invoked by command line to start the browser, run the test suites and then exit and record the results for display or analysis.

Reference: Work with Mozilla's Rob Campbell and Jay Patel from the QA Team. See also