Drop us a line...

Send Message
Mozilla Firefox OS App Day Zurich 2014

A little more than a month ago we met for our second Firefox OS App Day in Zurich. Since our first App Day was a success, we just had to plan another one and I have to say: another success!


After two initial talks from me (‘Introduction to Mozilla’ and ‘What’s new in Firefox OS?’), Colin Frei prepared the participants for hacking Firefox OS Apps.

After the lunch we started hacking, some participants had a good idea and started hacking on it, others just wanted to play around and have fun with the different WebAPIs. With our Firefox OS devices it was even more fun, since we didn’t have to only use the simulator.

Even though there were not as many people present as last year, we had a great collection of Apps! Only one person was attending the event for the second time, so we promote Firefox OS, Mozilla and its goals to even more people in Switzerland.


List of apps created / things played with:

You can find all the information (and links to the slides) on our Etherpad. Interested in joining our community and hack on cool stuff for an open web? Follow us on Twitter, or join our mailing list. If you’d like to come to one of our next meetups, you find all you need on our meetup page.


Thanks to Zühlke for sponsoring the venue and the breakfast, you guys are awesome!

MobileCamp Dresden May 2014

On the 10th May I went to the MobileCamp in Dresden, Germany to give a keynote about Firefox OS. One of our community members was asked if Mozilla wants to do the keynote and we thought that this is a great opportunity to tell people in Germany about our mission and our goals we have with Firefox OS.


I held the keynote right after the introduction and session planning on Monday morning. I talked about our Mission, why we’re doing Firefox OS and the current state of it. At the end I gave a quick overview of new features to come. After the keynote a few people instantly came to me and asked if they could play with my Firefox OS devices.

You can find the slides here: http://bit.ly/mobilecamp-firefoxos

Saturday evening:

On Saturday evening we went to the City Beach in Dresden and we talked about the mobile world and what the future will hold. Once again I could show Firefox OS to the people there and the general feedback was quite good.

Later I met Laura Hilliger and Henrik Skupin to get some drinks and catch up. It was great to talk to local Mozillians.

Rest of the barcamp:

Unfortunately I wasn’t very well, so I didn’t do a second session. Appmaker would be a great thing to have a session on, but there will be another MobileCamp next year or other barcamps in the German speaking countries. I’ll definitely keep that in mind.

There were a lot of other, very interesting sessions as well. In some I could provide my view from the “Firefox OS” view point, which led to great discussions.

One guy was very impressed when he experienced the keyboard and noticed that the vibration feedback is instant. I then explained that this is done using the Vibration API.

In conclusion this was a great event and I could have nice discussions about Firefox OS and its eco system.

Mozilla Hacking Day April 2014

On the 26th of April we met in Berlin to have a “Mozilla Hacking Day”. After several month of planning, we had a good session plan which sounded interesting. On meetup.com, 55 people rsvp’d and about 17 Mozillians registered to help us out at the event itself.

Mozillians Dinner on Friday:

On Friday we met at the hotel and went out for Tapas to plan the last few things for Saturday and have some Mozilla discussions.


Hacking Day on Saturday:

On Saturday around 40 people showed up to get to know Mozilla and hack on its projects.

Our schedule:

9:00 – 9:45 BREAKFAST
9:50 – 10:15 Welcome / Introduction to Mozilla Michael Kohler / Julian Viereck
10:20 – 10:35 Next things for Firefox <wip> Tim Taubert
10:40 – 10:55 Firefox OS Development FirefoxOS (Overview/Gaia) Colin Frei
11:00 – 11:15 Mozilla Research Overview Till Schneidereit
11:20 – 11:40 COFFE BREAK
11:40 – 11:55 WebRTC Avinash Kundaliya
12:00 – 12:15 ScanJS – scanning JS for security issues Security (Web, Firefox, Firefox OS, …) Frederik Braun
12:20 – 12:35
Webmaker Mozilla Webmaker (www.webmaker.org) Michael Kohler
MDN Florian Scholz
12:40 – 13:40 LUNCH BREAK
13:40 – 13:50 Hacking part introduction Introducing contacts, “how to find bugs and get started” Georg Fritzsche
afternoon Mozilla Research (Shumway) and/or JS Engine and/or ES6 goodness Till Schneidereit
afternoon e10s work in Firefox Where we are right now with E10S. What needs to be done. Show & tell Tom Schuster
afternoon Firefox OS Malware Defense and the Firefox OS Crypto Concept Thing have moved and are moving in FxOS app sec space, and I’ll update you on where we are and where we (hopefully) are going. I’ll also give an introduction to the current FxOS crypto concept proposal. Christiane Ruetten
afternoon Calendar Data for Apps and the Web with ICAL.js There are quite a few simple parsers for the iCalendar format (rfc5545)
on the net, but I have seen none that are full featured parsers. As part of my work for the Mozilla Calendar Project, I have created a
full featured replacement to the C++ libical used in our product, Lightning. This isn’t the only place scheduling is important. In this session I will show you how easily you can use ical.js to schedule on the web in a standards compatible way. Please bring your ideas on how calendaring can be used in your domain. If you want to take a look beforehand, check out https://github.com/mozilla-comm/ical.js
Philipp Kewisch
afternoon Mozmill & release testing of Firefox You will see how Mozilla QA makes use of the Mozmill framework in combination with Jenkins to qualify Firefox releases Henrik Skupin

Since we had some overlapping sessions (e.g. talks during other sessions), the attendees needed to choose what they wanted to do after lunch. Some decided to hear the rest of the talks, others went upstairs to hack on the projects. Unfortunately most of the people downstairs didn’t come upstairs to hack on something after the talks.

Those hacking upstairs splitted up to the different session tables with Firefox OS being the most popular. Some other tables, unfortunately, were empty. This is one point we need to address for future events (see “Lessions learned” below).


In conclusion we can happily say that this was a great event and we’ll follow up on that in autumn. We had a lot of discussions with interested people, mostly about Firefox OS. This was one of the first events where a lot of Mozilla emplyees were present, this is a big advantage and also helps to further improve the coorporation between employees and volunteers.


Lessions learned:

  • We knew we’ll have a few “no show”, but we didn’t expect it to be almost 40%. We need to find a way to improve that.
  • Better calculate the food: we had some Pizzas and bread left. At the end we gave it away to people needing it more than we do, but nevertheless this could be improved. But this also has to do with the first lession.
  • Better plan the sessions and ask people about their interests earlier to not have empty session tables.

A big “Thanks!” goes out to everyone who helped organize it and supported us at the event itself. Also, I’d like to thank co.up which sponsered the venue.

I’m currently planning to do a second Mozilla Hacking Day. This time with more people and all the lessions learned applied. Stay tuned!

German-speaking Community DocSprint April 2014

Am 5. und 6. April  traffen wir uns in Berlin für einen Mozilla DocSprint der deutschspachigen Community. Es konnten leider nicht alle Core-Contributors dabei sein, aber wir hatten trotzdem ein schönes und produktives Wochenende.


Am Freitag traffen wir uns im Mozilla Office in Berlin, um an einer Mozilla-Town-Hall teilzunehmen. Danach haben wir über diverse Themen diskutiert und uns auf die beiden bevorstehenden Tage vorbereitet.


Am Samstag war unsere Aufmerksamkeit vollständig auf SUMO gerichtet. Thomas hat uns eine Einführung gegeben, so dass wir danach selbständig Artikel übersetzen konnten. Mit der super Hilfe von Thomas und anderen Lokalisierern konnten wir viele Artikel zum Thema “Firefox 29″ übersetzen. Andy und andere haben jeweils die neuen Australis-Screenshots auf Deutsch dazu beigetragen.

Nach ungefähr 11 Stunden Arbeit konnten wir guten Gewisses chinesisch essen gehen.


Am Sonntag führte uns Florian in MDN am Samstag, da sich die beiden Systeme unterscheiden. Wir fokussierten uns auf die “Developer Tools” Artikel von MDN.

Am Nachmittag erhielten wir eine kurze Einführung in “Produkt-Lokalisierung” von Kadir. Mit dieser Einführung sollten nun alle in der Lage sein, die verschiedenen Produkte zu lokalisieren und die deutschsprachige Übersetzung auf dem aktuellen Stand zu halten. Da Sebastian bereits viele Bugs im Vorfeld korrigiert hatte, blieben uns nur noch 2 Bugs, die wir bearbeiten konnten. An dieser Stelle auch einen herzlichen Dank an Sebastian und Andy, welche zwar nicht dabei sein konnten, aber trotzdem massgeblich am Erfolg dieses Wochenendes beigetragen haben.

Die erledigten Arbeiten könnt ihr nachfolgend einsehen.

Erledigte Arbeiten (über alle 2 Tage verteilt):


  • 26 Artikel aktualisiert
  • 100 wichtigste Artikel: 34% -> 48%

Etherpad mit den entsprechenden Artikel und Links: https://demeeting.etherpad.mozilla.org/german-speaking-sprint-berlin-april-2014-sumo



  • Artikel übersetzt: 9 (18%)
  • Artikel aktuell: 1 (12%)


  • Artikel übersetzt: 15 (29%)
  • Artikel aktuell: 11 (74%)

Etherpad, mit den entsprechenden Artikel und Links: https://demeeting.etherpad.mozilla.org/german-speaking-sprint-berlin-april-2014-mdn


Die Liste mit den Bugs, findet ihr hier.


  • Webmaker.org wurde vollständig aktualisiert und übersetzt-> 100%
  • Appmaker Übersetzung aktualisiert –> von 40% -> 83%
  • whatcanidoformozilla.org aktualisiert und weiter übersetzt -> 100%

Mein Ziel wäre gewesen, auch noch ca. 30% der Webmaker-SUMO Artikel zu übersetzen, aber dafür hat es leider zeitlich nicht gereicht. Da ich nun aber weiss, wie diese übersetzt werden können, kann ich das auch so machen und muss nicht vor Ort in Berlin sein.

Nächste Schritte:

Wir benötigen bei SUMO weitere Reviewer, dies ist bestimmt eines der wichtigeren Themen in den nächsten Monaten. Ausserdem benötigt MDN immer wieder neue Contributors, auch da können wir bei anderen Events immer wieder MDN erwähnen.

Grundsätzlich gilt, dass wir ein sehr produktives Wochenende hatten. Aus meiner Sicht kann man dies gerne gegen Ende Jahr wiederholen. Herzlichen Dank, dass ihr alle teilgenommen habt.

Alle Bilder zu dieser Veranstaltung findet ihr auf Flickr. Die Teilnehmer sind in dieser Mozillians-Gruppe vereint.

Barcamp Salzburg March 2014

On the 15th of March I organized a Firefox OS workshop at the Barcamp Salzburg. But let’s start from the beginning.

Friday evening
On Friday evening I demoed my Firefox OS devices and had some really nice talks with the students from the FH Salzburg.

I could even try Googles Glasses in exchange with my Firefox OS device :)

After some very interesting talks we could start with our workshop in the afternoon. We had a time slot of about 2 hours. Even though about 15 persons registered for the event, only 8 showed up. Nevertheless we had a great workshop!

At the beginning I hold a short talk about Firefox OS explaining its way and our goals. No, I don’t have slides to share, since I took the very popular slides from Christian Heilmann and deleted some of the slides to fit it to our time slot.

After that Ankit took over and explained how to use the Firefox OS Simulator.

Since Ankit showed how to debug the standard applications already installed on the simulator, a lot of participants instantly opened the editor and played with the Developer Tools.

Since the time didn’t allow us to do a lot of application programming the participants just played with the simulator and we answered some questions. One guy took his already existing web app and ported it to Firefox OS.

After all, the participants had a great time playing with Firefox OS. Additionally they all now have amazing Firefox OS swag. The orange Firefox OS glasses are a great give-away and at the end we could have given away even more than we had!

German-speaking Mozilla Community Meetup February 2014

TL;DR: Great meetup, let’s work on our defined goals for 2014!

On the 8th of February 2014 we had our second “German-speaking Mozilla Community” Meetup after rebooting the community. In this blog post I’d like to review the event and tell you about our 2014 goals.

Not 100% achieved 2013 goals:

  • Not a lot of new faces on this year’s meetup
  • Even though there was a lot going on, the coordination within the groups was not great. Also overall communication can be improved.
  • “Contribute” form is hard to process -> almost no visible new contributors
  • It’s hard to find new contributors for Marketing and Localization

We splitted up in different groups: L10N/Support, Hacking and a “miscellaneous” group.

Let’s review our goals for 2014:


  • Goal: Find more contributors
  • Goal: Improve the German articles on SUMO, MDN
  • Goal: Improve the German translation of Firefox, Firefox OS
  • Solution: organize different Sprints during the year. The next sprint will be on the 5th and 6th of April in Berlin


  • Goal: Find more contributors
  • Solution: organize multiple “Mozilla Hacking Days”. The next event will be on the 26th of April in Berlin (to be definitely confirmed)
  • Solution: use the momentum of the first Hacking Day to organize a second Hacking Day. At the second event we fully go “non-Mozillians”, i.e. as many interested, possible contributors as possible


Firefox OS:

  • Goal: find new app developers and create localized apps
  • Goal: promote Firefox OS in Germany
  • Solution: organize multiple Firefox OS App Days in Germany/Austria/Switzerland
  • Firefox OS App Day Zurich (planning ongoing)
  • Firefox OS App Day Vienna (planning ongoing)
  • Firefox OS App Day Munich (planning pending)
  • Other Firefox OS App Days to be specified


  • Goal: find new contributors for posts on Twitter, Facebook, …
  • Solution: probably use already existing contributors in other areas


  • Goal: organize multiple Webmaker events in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
  • Goal: organize a OpenBadges event in Switzerland
  • Goal: organize a “All Things Web” bi-weekly course in Switzerland (probably in cooperation with the Open Tech School)
  • Solution: Meeting with Michelle Thorne on the 4th of April to discuss the ideas


At the end of the day we had a “Community Building” session. Here’s the outcome/brainstorming:

  • Use badges for contributors
  • Identify Student Ambassadors in Germany
  • Response to “Contribute” form needs to be edited
  • Reach out to other tech communities to find new contributors
  • Better integration of Mozilla employees
  • Inform other communities about our next events (JS groups, user groups, …)
  • Big Mozilla Hacking Days (see above)


The different groups will inform about the progress in the #deMeeting on the 5th of March.


Thanks again for joining us! See all photos on Henrik’s flickr page.

OKCon 2013 in Geneva

Mid of September I attended the Open Knowledge Conference 2013 in Geneva. To be honest, I had never heard of the Open Knowledge Foundation before (or I just don’t recall), so I was quite happy to see that this year’s conference was in Geneva.  I just found out about it, because Kaitlin Thaney, Director Mozilla Science Lab had a talk there.

I had heard of Open Data and seen some examples before, but I didn’t know, that there was a whole conference about it. Open Data, Open Government, Open Science, you name it. I tried to go to an OpenData.ch event last spring, but unfortunately I couldn’t make it. Otherwise I would have been involved with OpenData before, since it’s a great cause. At the Open Knowledge Conference the Swiss government announced their Open Data Portal, which (in my opinion) needs a lot of improvement and more different datasets.

Since OpenData has a strong correlation with the Open Web Mozilla wants to build, I was there talking to people about the Open Web and Mozilla’s Mission. Also I talked with people about Mozilla Webmaker to show them how easy it can be to publish their data with the Webmaker tools. One problem I was faced with was that the event registration was sponsored and so everybody had the same (sponsored) lanyard. Since I had Firefox lanyards with me, I couldn’t just go there and tell everyone to switch them. Or could I have? In my opinion that would have been quite unpolite. Nevertheless I handed out the lanyards, but didn’t ask them to switch them instantly (but some of them did on their own).

I met a lot of inspiring persons with whom I will get in contact shortly to create more events to get the general public more aware about Open Data and the Web.

Barcamp Erfurt 2013

On the 15th and 16th of June (long time ago, I know), I was invited to the Barcamp Erfurt 2013. Since I had never been at a Barcamp before, I didn’t exactly know what it will be like. I gotta say: Barcamps are awesome!

This year’s theme was “youth media”, so I had the possibility to talk to tv youth program creators, youth educators and other interesting persons. On Saturday I had the opportunity to talk about Webmaker. My goal was to give an intro and then do an interactive workshop, but unfortunately the participants didn’t have a laptop with them. So I did an extended demo and showed the capabilities of the Popcorn Maker, X-Ray Goggles and Thimble.

After the demo a teacher from Germany came up to me and said that he will possibly try to use these tools with his class. I will get in touch with him within next few weeks and give further support.

Since I had my Geeksphone Peak with me, it got a lot of attention and I got asked to do a session about Firefox OS on Sunday. The interest was quite amazing, I let people touch and play with the device and ask questions. Due to the theme of the Barcamp, a discussion about a “kids-friendly” Marketplace came up. In my opinion, Firefox OS provides a great ground for these kind of applications and it would be great to see a “kids-app-only” marketplace.

It was a great weekend and I’ll probably join them next year again!

You can find pictures from the Barcamp here.

Firefox OS App Days – combined with Webmaker

In late May 2013 we (Mozilla Switzerland) organized a Firefox OS App Day in Zurich. At this event we wanted to give local developers a chance to play with Firefox OS and write some apps for it. It was a great event, which I don’t need to blog about further since it has been documented very well elsewhere.

In the beginning of May 2013 I attended the Vienna Firefox OS App Day. This event was awesome and got me to think about combining Firefox OS with Webmaker.

Firefox OS App Day Vienna:

At the App Day in Vienna I met three really brave women. You may ask why I call them “brave”. Well, they have never created a website before and didn’t have any idea about HTML or CSS. I spent about 10 minutes stripping down the Boilerplate App to have a white “workspace” and explained them where they can put the HTML elements. I showed them how to insert an image and they were already happy. After that I showed them the HTML reference with all the elements. About 15 minutes later I came back to them and they already inserted a button on their own.

With a little help from us they managed to connect to button to a music file with JavaScript and they got a Firefox OS App they made themself! It’s a “laugh app”. When you click the button it plays a laughter.

You can see the full app at http://michaelkohler.info/ffosday/.

Firefox OS App Day Zurich:

At the App Day in Zurich we were joined by a Java developer who has never written any HTML. This time it was easier to explain it since he already got enough knowledge to quickly understand the concepts. Nevertheless I stripped down the boilerplate app again and we started to create the app.

Since he already heard about the different awesome features in HTML5, he wanted to create an app which stores the value of an input field in the localstorage after clicking the submit button. Since the boilerplate app already had form fields he just needed to change the labels and write the JavaScript code. After about 15 minutes he had a working Firefox OS app! Once again we could #teachtheweb to somebody and saw one more smiling face in the room.

You can see the code at https://github.com/ohumbel/sffoa.

How can we combine these two topics?

I think using Firefox OS to teach others HTML is a great possibility since most of the learners have never created a phone app. Why not learn and have something wonderful in your hands?

This is the reason why I created some ressources. I’m sure this is not the final version of the ressources, feel free to remix them!

Activity and cheat sheet: You can find the activity sheet and the ressource sheet remixable on Thimble.
Webmaker Firefox OS template: I created a github repository, so I don’t need to strip down the boilerplate app every time. Feel free to send a pull request: https://github.com/MichaelKohler/webmaker-firefoxos-template.

What do you think about this combination? Would you use it yourself to teach HTML? Please leave a comment!


Our backup application “BackupSoft” is now officially available for download. You can download it on the “Downloads” page of this website. Currently there is only the Linux version available, because the Windows version takes up to 50MB. I’m sorry you need to compile it for yourself. You need to download the linux version if you want to have the source code. Further Qt needs to be installed.