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Finally: Firefox source manipulation

April 6, 2011

Well, its about 2 weeks overdue, but I finally got around to working on my changes to firefox source.  The fix that we were supposed to implement for my OSD600 class was as follows:

1. Make a new tab open next to the current tab as opposed to the end of the tab list
2. Make it so switching betweens tabs with ctrl+# works with alt+# instead

I’m not gonna lie, all of my fixes were copied from looking at other students in the classes blogs, primarily Matt Postill’s.  Now before I go into the fixes there were a few things I learned while doing this.  One was that all you have to do to rebuild firefox once you make a change is build it again.  My first time around working on this I attempted to locally commit the files, and update and so on, which resulted in a verison of firefox that no longer opened.  I did a bit of reading around and found this out.  I have also been putting off working on this because building on my laptop, or even desktop for that matter, is extremely, EXTREMELY, slow.  It takes almost 4 hours to build firefox, which is just unbareable to say the least.  I talked to annasob on IRC, and she said she would set me up with an account in CDOT so I could build firefox.  Once I arrived she set me up with an account on an amazing comp, far better than I have myself.  It was a quad-core i7 running at 2.8ghz, with 12gb of ram, and 2*2tb hardrives, that was running fedora 13.  Although I was a bit skeptical about using linux as I wasn’t very familiar with it, it was amazing to say the least.  Building on this beast took only a few minutes, and re-building took about 20-30 seconds at most.  It was nerdvana.

Now onto the fixex.  Matts fixes were primarily just removing code, which was awesome.  The first fix was to remove an if statement that determined if the new should go beside the current tab or at the end, and just shoved it beside the current tab instead.  The second fix was make it so all OS’ used the alt key as the modifier for switching between tabs.  Though I was running I linux machine, which be default uses the alt key anyways.

In general this was a great expeience hacking on some FF source code.  Hopefully after my PRJ566 meeting later I will be able to finish the bug our class has been working on.

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