Beta Testing Mozilla in 2000

During my first year of studies at Swansea University, I joined in the testing of the Mozilla web browser (which later became the underpinnings for Firefox) before it was released (around the M14 milestone). This process involved downloading the latest nightly release and running it (assuming it didn’t crash – it was very unreliable at that stage) through sample pages and proceeding to perform a typical web session using it (a process often referred to as smoketesting). One of the benefits of being in a University was that I had access to three of the major platforms that Mozilla was being released on - MacOS9, Linux and Windows NT. This allowed me to identify bugs that only happened on a particular platform.

Problems that were found during this process were reported to the Mozilla bug database website ( http://bugzilla.mozilla.org ) and more immediate contact could be made with developers by using IRC to chat to developers and found out what the day’s most cutting issues were. I continued to use IRC to talk to Mozilla developers up until it was blocked by the University sometime in 2000.

During this time I would look at existing bugs (which were initially found by other people) and try and reproduce them myself. When I could reproduce the problem I would remove parts of the page source to the point that it was the minimum amount that would reproduce the problem. This would then allow developers to resolve issues quicker. Additionally many bugs would come into the database unclassified/misclassified so where appropriate I would reclassify them.

To help the effort I some tools to help test the browser – one tool would take a bookmarks file and create a page that would cycle through sites within the bookmarks file every few seconds and another that would detect pages that were still using old fashioned Netscape 4 markup.

A list of Mozilla bugs I either reported or commented on can be seen by browsing to http://tinyurl.com/6ek4zu .