MozSummit 2013

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The beginning of October was a special time for me:  Mozilla Summit 2013 was October 3rd to the 7th.  Summit took place in three locations around the world:  Santa Clara (US), Toronto (Canada), and Brussels (Belgium).  Summit is a time where we can do a lot of things beyond just getting everyone together:  we can discuss the open web, the future of Mozilla, Mozilla technologies past and present, and much, much more.  Here are a few thoughts on my first Mozilla Summit!

Awesome Moments and Technologies

  • Hearing Brendan Eich and Mitchell Baker speak:  Mitchell kicked the summit off with a truly inspiring speech about how Mozilla came about, why Mozilla is important for the future of the web, and how we can continue to change and mold the web.  Brendan spoke at various times about JavaScript, different specs, legal issues, and anything else he was asked about.  He had great insight and I learned loads.
  • Seeing first-person-shooter-ception during the HTML5 gaming speech:  Alon Zakai (@kripken) showed off the Banana Bread demo we've all known and loved, but this time with a twist: the walls of the arena were no longer static -- they were interactive!  One wall was a live tweet displayer() and another was a fully functional DOOM game.  In a word...incredible!
  • Shumway gaming:  Shumway is one of Mozilla's awesome new technologies.  Shumway is a JavaScript library which plays SWF files without native assistance (i.e. without Adobe Flash Player).  Imagine all of the awesome games and utilities that will now be functionality thanks to shumway!
  • TogetherJS!  TogetherJS is another awesome Mozilla technology which enables authors to easily implement collaboration over the web.  All you need to do is include a SCRIPT tag and call TogetherJS(this) and you've enabled collaboration!
  • Firefox Developer Tools and Remote Debugging:  The problem with mobile web development in the beginning was lack of tools.  Mozilla has turned mobile development on its head, at least with Firefox OS, with the exceptional set of dev tools in Firefox.  Live remote debugging and app install was also presented.  Wow!

David Walsh, Christian Heilmann, Brendan Eich

Professional Highlights

  • Meeting Brendan Eich and James Burke:  They're JavaScript legends.  Eich invented JavaScript and Burke created RequireJS (and earlier Dojo's loader).  It was an honor to meet them both and felt good to buy Eich a drink -- it was the least I could do.
  • Having numerous people come up to me and thank me for this blog:  Occasionally I get told this blog is famous but I guess I've always just seen it as a tool for learning and having fun along the way.  At least a dozen people thanked me for this blog, mentioning that it helped them learn techniques, problem-solving, or various other skills.  That's a great feeling.  My goal with each post is to help one person -- if that post helps someone solve a problem or learn something, my job is done.  With the web dev community and its numerous negative jerks, it's good to hear something positive from time to time.
  • Seeing the difference Firefox OS has made in the lives of Mozillians:  Firefox OS is a big deal to many people and I saw that first hand in Santa Clara.  Many persons from the Firefox OS launch countries were in Santa Clara and their eyes lit up when I spoke of Firefox OS.  They had ideas of pushing Firefox OS into cars, microwaves, TVs, and all sorts of other devices.  The future is bright for Firefox OS!
  • Sending pull requests during the summit:  It is work after all, so sending in code while at Summit is a fun ego boost!
  • Seeing eyes light up when I tell people the should help me on MDN:  There are more ways to contribute to MDN than wiki edits -- you can help use code kuma, it's platform!  We took over the hack space in Santa Clara to teach people how to set up MDN locally.  I could see the joy in contributors' eyes when I showed tehm how to help us out.  That's a special feeling.

Mozilla Crew

Personal Highlights

  • Seeing how well Mozilla treats its contributors around the world:  Flying in employees from around the world is hard enough, but Mozilla flew in contributors from all parts the globe as well.  Not only is it great to see my employer do that, but these trips and experiences will live on forever in the minds of these contributors.  They'll tell their kids and grandkids about this trip.  I get emotional just thinking about that.
  • Meeting Benjamin from Nepal:  Early in the trip I met Benjamin who was the lone developer from Nepal.  He was a great kid and we hung out most of the trip.  His enthusiasm was endless and I hope to meet up with him at the next summit!
  • Greeting friends again:  I'm one of the Mozillians that doesn't travel very often because I loathe travel and I have an infant at home.  I cherish each meetup I do attend, however, because Mozillians aren't just coworkers -- they're friends.  It was good to see James, Luke, John, Jen, Dan, Greg, Christoph, Rob, Ali, Christian, and everyone else again.  It was good to meet Sole as well!
  • Bringing family and seeing Jack become a rock star:  I brought my beautiful wife and handsome son to Summit and although they weren't allowed into the festivities, we were able to sneak out to a few dinners and lunches with Mozillians.  We had a great time with my Mozillian friends and it's awesome that they treated Jack and Kristina so well.  Other Mozillians were asking if they could take photos with Jack, so he's a total star already!

Jack Walsh Mozilla


  • Not meeting Dave Herman or Tantek Celik:  I couldn't muster the guts to introduce myself to these two men, mainly because they're so much smarter than me.  Hopefully I can next time though.
  • Not taking more photos:  Summit was an incredible experience and I'll never forget it, but more pictures of the experience would have been good.  Maybe one of Eich holding Jack?  (Too much? Hahaha)
  • Organizing a group dinner via Twitter:  I organized a 10 person dinner with Mozillians and non-Mozillians and it was a nightmare.  It worked out in the end but should never be attempted again.

Summit 2013 was a blast.  I left inspired, rejuvenated, physically and mentally exhausted, and looking forward to continued success at the best tech company in the world!

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  1. Yay! It was great finally meeting you in person :-)

  2. that’s pleasure to meet you in person and that’s Mozilla Mission “Global Community with Shared Mission”

  3. Loved reading your take on this. Thanks for bringing your own passion (and your beautiful family!) along to make Summit that much better.

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