(“This Week in Glean” is a series of blog posts that the Glean Team at Mozilla is using to try to communicate better about our work. They could be release notes, documentation, hopes, dreams, or whatever: so long as it is inspired by Glean. The previous post of the series lives here.)
This week in Glean we tell a tale of components, design, performance and ponies (I promise!): how to bridge different telemetry worlds, with different semantics and principles? How can we get the data to answer the question “is Fenix loading pages faster or slower compared to Fennec”?
By: Alessio Placitelli, Ben Miroglio, Jason Thomas, Shell Escalante and Martin Lopatka.
With special recognition of the development efforts of Roberto Vitillo who kickstarted this project, Mauro Doglio for massive contributions to the code base during his time at Mozilla, Florian Hartmann, who contributed efforts towards prototyping the ensemble linear combiner, Stuart Colville for coordinating integration with AMO. Last, but not least, to Anthony Miyaguchi who helped shaping the current code thanks to his reviewing efforts.
Firefox has a robust ecosystem of add-ons that can enhance the browsing experience, but all users are different and not all add-ons are right for everyone. The TAAR project (Telemetry Aware Addon Recommender) is an experimental product developed over the course of 2017 to provide a personalized experience for Firefox users seeking to install add-ons based on available information already in Mozilla’s telemetry data. Our aim is to provide potentially interesting add-ons or useful replacements to add-ons built on legacy technology, without the need for additional data collection. Add-ons created with the new standard (after legacy) are safer, more secure, and won’t break in new Firefox releases.
The Go Faster initiative is important as it enables us to ship code faster, using special add-ons, without being strictly tied to the Firefox train schedule. As Georg Fritzsche pointed out in his article, we have two options for instrumenting these add-ons: having probe definitions ride the trains (waiting a few weeks!) or implementing and sending a new custom ping (doing some pipeline work!).
Both solutions are not very appealing when shipping code faster. But hey.. we have plan!
Our current work is focused on extending Telemetry to fill this gap. The first step consisted in enabling add-ons event recording in Firefox 56 (bug) and we recently enabled add-on scalar recording as well (bug)!