Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About mozdev.org...
mozdev.org is the home for over 40 Mozilla-based development projects. The site provides free project hosting and tools for Mozilla application developers. Anyone who is interested in using Mozilla for application development is welcome to host their own project there.
To keep people informed of the latest mozdev news, a news feed is being set up on the DevCenter that will provide information about the latest developments on the site. 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.
Mozilla has proved to be a great framework for developing cross platform applications, although for a long time the constant changes to Mozilla itself has made creating applications difficult. Now that mozilla.org has just released version 0.9.3 and things are becoming more and more stable as 1.0 gets closer, now is the perfect time to take a look at mozdev and see what people are doing with Mozilla.
Where did it 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 as well as the Aphrodite, Fruity Gum and Sullivan skin design projects.
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 an old Reese's Peanut Butter cup commercial. 'Hey, you got your open source projects in my project hosting tool...'
At the end of September 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. Since then more than 40 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, but it's focus is on the Mozilla source code. The code on mozdev uses the Mozilla code by creating projects that are based on this code. The same kind of relationship can be seen between a site that is devoted to Linux kernel development and a site devoted to developing Linux applications.
There are also two great Mozilla advocacy sites, mozillaZine 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 posted on the DevCenter.
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 XULMaker, a visual XUL editor. Each project is different and is doing something unique, although each developer is taking advantage of the flexibility and power of Mozilla as an application development framework.
Jabberzilla is a Mozilla-based Jabber client integrated into the browser. mozdev is also running a Jabber server, so install Jabberzilla and come talk to other developers on the site. Another project that is working on integrating functionality into the browser is MultiZilla which is creating a multi-tabbed window extension for Mozilla.
There are also a number of gaming projects on the site. Amoeba is a project that is creating a game engine which will allow 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 main Games site, including Mozinvaders, Mozteroids, Pagman and Xultris.
Some of the projects on the site aren't really development projects at all. Both EU and Meetzilla are projects that work on coordinating Mozilla developer meetings in Europe and in the United States. The XBLref project is not using XBL to create anything, but instead is documenting XBL just like the XUL Programmer's Reference documents XUL.
This list contains just some of the projects on mozdev, and new projects are always welcome. If there is a Mozilla application you are currently working on or would like to start development on, feel free to come to the site and start a new project.
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 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. The reports feature status updates from project developers and is a great way to find out news about a specific project and to see how usable Mozilla is becoming for application development. Check these reports out if you want to read more about these projects or if you have your own project that you would like to provide a report for.