Monthly Archives: August 2012

Update on deleted Thimble pages

The short version: A server error caused some Thimble web pages created between July 23 and Aug 20 to be accidentally deleted. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, these pages cannot be recovered. We sincerely apologize for the error, and have taken steps to resolve it. New Thimble projects will not be affected. We hope you will continue making and learning with Thimble, and read on for more details.

Why does my Thimble page seem to be missing?

As you know, two months ago the Mozilla Webmaker team was extremely proud to launch an early version of Thimble, our new app that makes it easy for anyone to create and share their own web pages.

For a first release, the app has been incredibly successful — and we’ve  been inspired by the response from our community and all the great stuff people are making with it.

So when some of you started reporting that you were having trouble accessing Thimble projects and noticing broken links, we alerted the Thimble software and database teams and asked them to investigate.

Unfortunately, we confirmed yesterday that a server and maintenance error caused some Thimble pages to be deleted. Despite our best efforts, they will not be recoverable. This means that some users will no longer be able to access projects they created and saved with Thimble. If you’re one of  the users affected by this, we sincerely apologize. We’ve identified the issue that caused the data loss and taken steps to correct it. But we’re extremely sorry that some users won’t be able to recover their projects. We feel awful about it.

What happened?

To make a long story short: a mix of factors (systems error combined with human error) caused us to not have backups of Thimble data from July 23 to Aug 20. We have investigated thoroughly with our database admins, and unfortunately we have confirmed that there is no way to restore the data.

As you know, servers are built by fallible humans, and behind each Thimble URL is a group of well-intentioned people trying to work together. Unfortunately in this case, we made a mistake. And for that we offer a frank mea culpa and commitment to doing better going forward.

Will new Thimble pages be affected by this going forward?

No. We’ve rectified the problem so that this won’t happen again. Thimble is still in the early stages and we still have lots of learning to do. But we have addressed the issues that caused the data loss to minimize the chance of this ever happening again.

Again, please accept our apologies for the error. And feel free to get in touch with us directly about questions or concerns: @OpenMatt or matt at mozillafoundation dot org.

What are we making at #MozParty? Gearing up for the grand finale

This summer, Mozilla asked you to join in a unique global experiment: what if we invited people around the world to make and learn something amazing with the web?

The result was the world’s first-ever “Summer Code Party.” For the past 8 weeks, people have been getting together in big and small groups for some summer learning and fun. Trying out new Webmaker projects to unleash their digital creativity, gain new skills, and planting seeds for a more web literate world.

Thanks to you, the experiment has already been a huge success. Since the party kicked off on June 23, you have successfully run…

  • more than 600 Summer Code Party events with
  • 4,250 participants spread across
  • 77 different countries!

And the party keeps on rolling. As we head into the party’s final month, there are events planned for Berlin, Cairo, India, the Netherlands, Colorado and Sioux City — to name just a few. Many of you will be hosting special “theme parties” around everything from sports to superheroes to “Call Me Maybe” remixes.

And it’s all gearing up for a global grand finale on September 22 and 23.

What are we making at #MozParty?

Some of our favorites from the past month:

Gearing up for the grand finale: September 22 & 23

The Summer Code Party will wrap up with a grand finale the weekend of September 22 and 23. Let’s show the world what we made and learned together this summer, get together for demos and show and tells, and discuss what happens next.

Events are in the works at Mozilla spaces and partner venues in London, Berlin, New York, San Francisco — plus of course whatever you would like to add to the mix!

Get involved:

Check out this ABC News video on a Summer Code Party event in New York

Mozilla Webmaker: where are we? what’s next?

What’s next for Mozilla Webmaker? What have we accomplished so far? Where do we go next in 2012 and 2013? And how do we make contribution and community engagement the metrics that matter most?

This presentation from Mark Surman lays out the story and poses the key questions. Presented in yesterday’s weekly Mozilla Webmaker call, these slides were prepared for the Mozilla Foundation July 2012 board meeting as part of a mid-year review.

What’s the goal?

  • Big goal: move millions of people from using the web to making the web.
  • Short-term: focus on novices. Especially youth and teens, without over-simplifying. Novices can be any age, with projects scaled from beginner, intermediate to advanced.

Mozilla Webmaker -- board slides -- July 2012-0020

What have we done so far?

  • Rolled everything into a single offering. Taken the best of what we’ve done over the last two years and rolled it into a single offering: Mozilla Webmaker.

Mozilla Webmaker -- board slides -- July 2012-0002

  • Shipped the first version of Webmaker. We’ve shipped the initial Minimum Viable Prodcut (MVP) for Webmaker. Next up: test and iterate on Webmaker software like Thimble, Popcorn and the X-Ray Goggles. Focus on learning. Build community.
  • Shipped Thimble. We have extended from X-Ray Goggles to Thimble. We now have two tools for HTML, and an expanded learning model.

Mozilla Webmaker -- board slides -- July 2012-0013

  • Shipped Popcorn as app. Mozilla Popcorn has pivoted from being primarily a Javascript library for developers (Popcorn.js) to an app that lets any user edit web media in real time — pulling video, audio, pictures, maps, data, etc. from APIs into a polished video.

Mozilla Webmaker -- board slides -- July 2012-0014

  • “Apps that teach.” Thimble and Popcorn include templates and starter content that also teach you things. Its software that embodies the principle of “learning by making, remixing and doing.”

Mozilla Webmaker -- board slides -- July 2012-0015

  • Built labs and contributor pipelines. Mozilla Webmaker programs like HiveNYC, OpenNews and StoryCamp provide feedback, new ideas, and a source of our best community contributors.
  • Engagement through 600+ learning events. The Summer Code Party began as a napkin sketch in March, and was delivered in June.

Mozilla Webmaker -- board slides -- July 2012-0017

  • Scaled up community contributors. From ~100 to ~1000 in 6 months. A clear offering + call to action = more contributors, mostly instructors.

Mozilla Webmaker -- board slides -- July 2012-0018

What has the reception been so far?

  • Positive press coverage. Including coverage that positions Webmaker as a legitimate offering next to other new core Mozilla products (like B2G).

Mozilla Webmaker -- board slides -- July 2012-0058

  • Our calls to action need to come through more. The core Webmaker story is coming across. But our calls to participation aren’t coming across as strongly. Need to fix that.
  • Webmaker as a big tent. The message that Webmaker is a “big tent” for teaching tech needs to come across more forcefully, as something we’re doing together with other orgs and communities — not just a conventional product produced by Mozilla.

Mozilla Webmaker -- board slides -- July 2012-0060

Contribution as our #1 metric

Contributors are the key resource to achieve our goals. And the best way to evaluate efficacy and build momentum. We want to elevate contributors to partners and co-creators to help shape the program.

Mozilla Webmaker -- board slides -- July 2012-0025

  • Deepen engagement. The community has already grown. Now we need to deepen and improve the connection and build from  there. We’ll involve ReMo and active contributors, finding better ways for new people to plug in.
  • Improve contributor workflow. Focus on on-ramps, documentation and modeling in Q3 and Q4. For Thimble, and across the organization.

Mozilla Webmaker -- board slides -- July 2012-0036

  • User testing. Making an amazing offering requires usage stats and quality feedback, testing and surveys. Plus dashboards to help determine trends and act on what we learn.
  • Badges. Webmaker badges are the key to showing learning outcomes, and for proving knowledge of basic web mechanics and creativity skills.

Mozilla Webmaker -- board slides -- July 2012-0049

What’s next?

  • Move into ‘real’ programming. Like Javascript.
  • Truly go global. Build new geographies.
  • Connect mobile. Webmaking projects for mobile. The web as the platform.

Mozilla Webmaker -- board slides -- July 2012-0074