Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About mozdev.org...

mozdev.org is the home of over 80 Mozilla-based development projects. The site provides free project hosting for Mozilla application developers and anyone who is interested in using Mozilla for application development is welcome to start their own project there.

To keep people informed of the latest mozdev news, a news feed is being set up on the Mozilla DevCenter. This brief introduction will also provide some background about where mozdev came from, how it fits into the Mozilla community, what you will be able to find on the site, and how you can find out more.

Now that mozilla.org has recently released their latest 1.1 version and Netscape has come out with the latest version of their own Mozilla-based browser, Netscape 7, this is a great time to see what other people are building with Mozilla's cross-platform development framework.

Where did mozdev come from?

In August 2000, CollabNet acquired Alphanumerica, an Internet design and production company that was working on a number of different Mozilla projects. Some of these included the Theme Builder, Script Editor and Total Recall projects as well as the Aphrodite, Fruity Gum and Sullivan browsers.

After the merger it was necessary to find a new place to host these projects since the Alphanumerica site was going to be taken down. Fortunately CollabNet just happens to create a project hosting tool for open source projects called SourceCast. The rest of the story plays out like the old Reese's Peanut Butter cup commercial. 'Hey, you got your open source projects in my project hosting tool...'

At the end of September 2000 mozdev.org went live hosting the original Alphanumerica projects. At launch it was announced that any other Mozilla developer was welcome to start their own project on the site as well. In the two years since then, more than 80 projects have been started or moved to the site.

Where does it fit?

There are many different sites that provide information, tools and resources to the Mozilla community. mozdev does not try to duplicate any of the effort already being put into these other sites, but instead focuses on assisting Mozilla application developers.

For example, mozilla.org provides a lot of the same development tools and resources as mozdev does including bugzilla, cvs hosting and newsgroups. Although both sites have similar tools, the focus is on different things. The mozilla.org site focuses on developing the core Mozilla source code. The projects hosted on mozdev create applications and add-ons that are based on top of that source code.

There are also several great Mozilla advocacy sites, including mozillaZine, MozillaNews and O'Reilly's Mozilla DevCenter, that are already providing current news to the community. The news on mozdev is focused on the projects and tools hosted there, so the mozdev news shouldn't overlap with the news already being covered by these sites.

What Is Hosted There?

There are a wide variety of different projects currently being hosted on mozdev ranging from Abzilla, a project that is working on adding LDAP support to the address book, to XULmine, a XUL-based version of Minesweeper. There are other gaming projects hosted on the site, such as Amoeba which is a game engine that allows anyone to create classic "super nintendo" or "early final fantasy" style games. There are also several arcade style games that can be found at the Games project, including Mozinvaders, Mozteroids, Pagman and Xultris.

Other projects include, Optimoz which is an add-on to Mozilla that adds support for gestures and pie menus in the browser. There are also add-ons for a spellchecker, an advanced tabs enhancement with MultiZilla, and a collection of browser themes. There are also add-ons for other applications, such as Enigmail which adds GPG and PGP encryption support to Mozilla's mail client, and CaScadeS which adds a stylesheet editor to Mozilla's HTML composer.

In addition to add-on projects, there are a number of projects working on community evangelism and documentation. For instance, the EU and Meetzilla projects are working on coordinating Mozilla developer meetings in Europe and in the United States. PluginDoc is a repository of information on how to install current and legacy browser plugins, and MozFR is a project that is translating all current Mozilla documentation into French.

Some stand-alone Mozilla based applications that are hosted on the site are Chimera (a small, fast Gecko-based browser for Mac OS X), Jabberzilla (a Mozilla-based Jabber client) and newsAlert (an emergency broadcast application that keeps you informed of breaking news). To find out more about the other projects hosted on mozdev, check out the all projects list, Top 50 list and the project categories page.

How Can You Find Out More?

If you are interested in finding out more about mozdev and the projects hosted there, the news feed on the DevCenter will provide a great overview of what is going on. To catch up on what's happened so far, you might also want to look through the mozdev news archive and mozillaZine news archive to see how far the Mozilla community has come since the original source code was released in March 1998.

One other great resource for finding out news about Mozilla-based projects are the Independent Status Reports that are posted regularly to mozillaZine. If you have questions about a project hosted on mozdev and would like to talk to the developers directly, try posting your question to one of the mailing lists or come by #mozdev on mozilla's IRC server.