Mozilla Firefox – The Networking Dashboard. Week 2 and 3

Our project at Mozilla Firefox consists of four parts: Information to Display, Diagnostic Tools, Tracing/Debugging and Progress and Ideas, which are presented in more details here: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Necko/Dashboard. As you already know from my previous post, in the first week me and Robert worked at Information to Display, where we covered all tools except Cache status, and this is because there are other developers who are working at another project which involves modifying it almost entirely, so for now we are expecting the final product in order that our work won’t be in vain.

Over the past two weeks me and Robert Bindar worked at Diagnostic Tools. After talking with my mentor, Valentin Gosu, I’ve decided to work at DNS Lookup tool and Failed URL test, but after a quick chat with Patrick McManus, the owner of networking module, we have decided not to implement Failed URL test anymore, because it was basically an http level test and developer tools have grown to the point where they support that really well.

The DNS Lookup tool works similar as a a resolver DNS, a tool I’ve learned during communication protocols classes. You can say that the notion wasn’t new for me, but I think working at this diagnostic tool, healped me a lot. First of all I had to know that whatever I was supposed to do, it had to be an interaction between Java Script and C++. So I created a function (requestDNSLookup in an .idl file) that would be called from JS. In cpp I’ve implemented this function that at the end will call an async function that did worked like a resolver, which at the right time on the right thread will fill up the parameters of another function – OnLookUpComplete. For this I had to create another dictionary in an .webidl file and a structure in cpp, so the result of the async resolver could be stored. After this it was just a case of – take the information that you need and do whatever you need to do with it.

It may not sound like much, but believe me it takes a lot of time to understand how it all works. I’ve learned about async functions and also how Java Script and C++ interactioned one another. Also, after all the compilation error were resolved, we had to see if the result is the expected one, so for these I had to learn more about Java Script (because until now I didn’t code in it) to be able to create objects that finally show us what we want.

It’s been almost four weeks from the moment this programme started and I think that after the first three weeks I can say that me and Robert are ahead of schedule and most important, with the help of our mentor and hard work, we’ve been able to learn a lot of new things, which I know that will be helpful in the next comming weeks.

See you next post !

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