Hack 99. Find Out What Has Been Fixed
Work out the differences between minor Firefox versions without reading the code.
Every day brings more bug fixes. Every day brings several nightly builds to play with. This hack shows how to find out what's in a given Firefox version, whether it's new features or fixes for known problems. You can get lightweight or detailed reports on the changes that have been made, so let's start with the lightweight ones.
9.10.1. Release Notes
Every major Firefox release, whether it be 1.0 or 1.1, comes with a brief overview of the features that it contains. Go to http://www.getfirefox.com to find out the major items made available or new in such releases.
A more systematic breakdown of feature changes is provided by the highly organized Burning Edge web site (http://www.squarefree.com/burningedge/releases/), which reports on the code changes made by the Mozilla community. Look here for a stack of release summaries, including one that forecasts the contents of the next minor release.
The FAQ at the Burning Edge site (http://www.squarefree.com/burningedge/faq.html) also lists a number of other resources that provide release information.
9.10.2. Change Logs
More detailed and more up to date than release notes are change logs listing bug fixes. There are two excellent resources to turn to. The first is Asa Dotzler's release change logs, which are single HTML pages. These logs are poorly advertised and rarely linked to, but they provide the most authoritative list of bug fixes available. Under the current arrangements, the change logs are located here:
where version is a Mozilla version's flag name. So, the mozilla1.8a5 release has a change log here:
The other source of change logs is the front page of the Burning Edge web site:
9.10.3. Tree Status
At the absolute bleeding edge of Mozilla and Firefox, you can find individual changes that have made their way into the Mozilla CVS source repository and the automated compilation system. To do so, have a play with the Bonsai query interface: http://bonsai.mozilla.org. It provides reports on changes to the source code. As a starting point try this set of values:
Finally, beyond the bleeding edge lies Tinderbox (http://tinderbox.mozilla.org). Choose SeaMonkey when you're directed to the list of source code trees. This interface adds CVS change records to compilation outcomes and concludes whether the changes were good ideas or not. The tabular output is green when all's well, yellow when the jury's still out, and red when code changes are stopping nightly (or more frequent) builds from completing properly.