In the last post I announced a short series about productization of Fennec. This is the second post in the series.
Before we actually start talking about the default services and best choices, we should provide some background on why’s and what-for’s.
There are two main purposes of adding default web services to Mozilla products:
- provide users with useful and relevant content, and
- demonstrate certain features of the product.
The first one (provide users with useful and relevant content) is obvious: we want to improve our users’ experience on the Web, so we provide a couple of well-thought suggestions for different services. For example, we ship Firefox with 6 or 7 search engine plug-ins to make users’ lives easier when they’re looking for information, translation, products, multimedia, spelling and definitions etc. Another example: when the user clicks on a mailto: link, we suggest a couple of possible handlers chosen from the applications installed on their computer. But we also suggest a few web-based clients (in en-US these are Yahoo! Mail and GMail right now, Hotmail’s coming), so that if the user happens to use one of these in the browser, they don’t have to configure them.
The second purpose (demonstrate certain features of the product) is equally important: by providing these default services, we demonstrate particular features of the product, the ones which otherwise wouldn’t be as discoverable. For example, putting one sample news feed on the Bookmarks Toolbar in new profiles in Firefox helps in learning about the Live Bookmarks. Including a couple of search engines instead of one in the Search Toolbar can help users understand that they can add as many plug-in as they wish. Also the Getting Started page in Firefox was created with this goal in mind: to show users how to get the most out of Firefox and the Web in general.
Overall, in Firefox, the productization includes five areas:
- A news feed (a.k.a. Live Bookmark),
- News readers,
- Protocol handlers (currently: webcal, mailto; irc coming soon),
- Search engines,
- The ‘Getting Started’ page.
We’re still no entirely sure what the list would be for Fennec, so for now, let’s focus on these 5 areas.
The guidelines for productization of Firefox can be found on the wikimo. Let me quote an important passage from that page:
We believe that localization teams are in the best position to provide recommendations on what local providers we can use for Web Services because you’re in the market, work in the language, and know your users.
The same thing is true for Fennec, or any other product for that matter. The guidelines that we are working on right now are supposed to offer helpful suggestions, evaluation criteria and rules for choosing default web services for your locale. Your feedback on these guideline will be greatly appreciated, because after all, you as localizers will be making suggestions for productization of Fennec is your locale.