I always find it interesting to read and watch interviews with leaders of various companies, particularly when they give their take on their own products. Just last week a “Support Firefox Day” session was held over the IRC chat service, and in it they had four of the best known Mozilla employees answer questions that you may find interesting. If you missed the chance to participate you can still catch the full interviews over at Mozilla Links (links are below for each respective person).
I read through the dozens of questions and answers given by each person, and pulled out my favorite responses. Here they are in no particular order:
Mike Connor, Firefox’s development leader, was asked:
What didn’t you have time to implement in Firefox 3 that you’d like to implement in a future Firefox 4?
Some things include a powerful query builder for history and bookmarks, better handling of tabs.
Mike Beltzner, Firefox’s UI leader, was asked:
What frustrates you most about the Firefox 3 UI?
Heh, great question. There are a couple of things that are frustrating to me, both at the UI and underlying infrastructure level.
At the UI level, I’m frustrated that we’re not animating more, and not trying to offer more “emergent” interfaces that help users complete tasks based on what we can infer from the task the user is trying to complete.
So, specifically, I want the location bar to be even smarter, and things like saving pages and downloading files to be even smarter. And I want them to animate fluidly so that users can understand how one part of the UI associates with the next, or how one operation flows into the next.
At the underlying level, I’m excited about new platform enhancements like Compositor as it will let us float chrome over parts of the page more naturally, and of course better threading models will help us give users progress indication.
John Lilly, Mozilla’s CEO, was asked:
With so many people moving toward mobile devices in place of their PC, do you foresee the mobile project taking over as the primary vehicle for Firefox?
That’s a super-interesting question. Myself, I find that I use the mobile internet more and more with my iPhone & the Safari browser. Wwhen I travel, especially in Asia – Japan and China -, it feels like sometimes the predominant way of interacting with the web. Having said that, I think that PCs are very unlikely to go away or even decline. So I think of it as an addition of a major form factor, not a replacement. But there’s no question that it’s extremely important for us.
Asa Dotzler, an evangelist at Mozilla, was asked:
What do you think is the best way to spread Firefox amongst people that always used Internet Explorer and don’t know how Firefox could be better?
I think there are a lot of ways and that no one way is best for everyone. I like to ask people what’s painful about going online and then figure out how Firefox can help that pain point. Most people find the Web really uncomfortable. They’re not like a lot of us who love it and can deal with its problems. The web is a series of flaming hoops they have to jump through to get something done. So I try to show them how Firefox removes those flaming hoops so they can just go online, get done what they want to get done, and get back to the rest of their lives.