Status report for January

January 31, 2011

The month of January in Sync land was dominated by two things:

  • sorting out the aftermath of Sync 1.6 which unfortuantely reshuffled and duplicated a lot of users’ bookmarks,
  • finishing up all the work we need to do for Firefox 4


My colleague Richard Newman and I sat down and stared at the bookmark sync code for quite a bit. We identified and fixed a bug introduced in 4.0b8 that caused the reordering problems people had reported. We also made bookmark sync less aggressive about reparenting bookmarks which should alleviate many of the bookmarks-are-moved-to-the-unsorted-folder and bookmarks-are-duplicated issues. These were fixed for Firefox 4.0b10 / Sync 1.6.2. We also identified a bunch of old bugs, particularly related to the restore-from-backup functionality. These are already fixed and will go out in Firefox 4.0b11 / Sync 1.6.3.

Many of those bugs were due to parallel structures that were not synchronized properly, assumptions that certain values would not change, and similar things. This prompted me to quote Phil Karlton’s famous bonmot a couple of times:

There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things.

Firefox 4

Apart from a few UI improvements to the Sync preference window and its dialogs, the remaining work for Firefox 4 mostly consistent of making history sync use the new asynchronous bulk API that Shawn Wilsher implemented. This speeds up sync when you’re syncing down a lot of history (e.g. the first sync on a second device) while improving the UI’s responsiveness at the same time.

As a byproduct, we also fixed a long standing problem in Sync: when a particular record could not be added to the local profile, Sync would stop altogether for that engine, leaving all other changes, including any local changes, unsynced.


One Response to “Status report for January”

  1. tobias3 Says:

    Thank you for fixing the sync issue. I myself had issues with a less complex syncing problem and think I understand how hard it is, especially considering how differently Firefox Sync is used.
    Now it works faster and does its job! Thanks!

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