Intent to unship unmaintained panels: Canvas Debugger, WebAudio Editor, 

Shader Editor

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Yulia Startsev

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Nov 9, 2018, 8:54:08 AM11/9/18
to dev-devel...@lists.mozilla.org, firef...@mozilla.org
(Apologies to those of you who are subscribed to both dev-developer-tools
and firefox-dev, and receiving this email twice).

TL;DR Due to maintenance costs, and lack of usage, the DevTools team is
planning to unship the Canvas Debugger, Web Audio Editor, and Shader Editor
panels. If you use any of these and have concerns about this, please let us
know.

----

Why are we thinking about unshipping? Our telemetry reports tell us that
these panels are very infrequently opened: they are only opened in 0.02% of
cases when the devtools are active, compared to a panel like the inspector,
which is opened about 70% of the time. In comparison to this usage data,
they’re very costly to maintain. This has become more and more clear as we
do DevTools wide refactoring to improve stability and performance. These
panels require a lot of work, sometimes up to 20% of development time.

But since numbers do not tell the whole story, we want to get feedback on
how these panels are being used before we move forward: How are these
panels helping you? This way we can plan migration paths for critical
features. We have prepared a survey
<https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeirrUhXDPGkDwq_D0hD0PQP4HVtbI00aGj25WE2kye5Fs7-g/viewform>
to get more information.

If you want to find out more about each of these panels, take a look at the
documentation:

* Canvas Debugger: does not have documentation

* Shader Editor:
https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Tools/Shader_Editor

* Web Audio Editor:
https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Tools/Web_Audio_Editor

Erik Krause

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Nov 12, 2018, 8:50:46 AM11/12/18
to dev-devel...@lists.mozilla.org
Am 09.11.2018 um 12:40 schrieb Yulia Startsev:
> TL;DR Due to maintenance costs, and lack of usage, the DevTools team is
> planning to unship the Canvas Debugger, Web Audio Editor, and Shader Editor
> panels.

Will these tools be available as extensions?

--
Erik Krause

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ysta...@mozilla.com

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Nov 12, 2018, 11:11:28 AM11/12/18
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Hi Erik,

Thanks for your question. Do you currently use these panels or are you curious about them and thinking of using them?

To answer your question: At the moment, we are not planning on making them available as WebExtensions. There are two reasons for this:

1) since we are not planning on maintaining the code, the extensions may not be usable soon after they are released.
2) A number of extensions already cover similar functionality as these panels. Some examples for each panel:

Web Audio Editor:
- AudioN (https://github.com/google/audion)
- Web Audio Extension (https://github.com/spite/WebAudioExtension)

Canvas Debugger:
- Spector.js (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/spector-js/#&gid=1&pid=2)

Shader Editor:
- Shader Editor Extension (https://github.com/spite/ShaderEditorExtension)
- Spector.js (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/spector-js/#&gid=1&pid=2)

However, these extensions may not have what you are looking for. If the functionality you use is not covered by one of these extensions, please let us know either through a response or via the survey. We are keeping an eye on both.

Erik Krause

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Nov 12, 2018, 3:31:25 PM11/12/18
to dev-devel...@lists.mozilla.org
Am 12.11.2018 um 17:11 schrieb ysta...@mozilla.com:
> Thanks for your question. Do you currently use these panels or are
> you curious about them and thinking of using them?

Just curious.

> To answer your question: At the moment, we are not planning on making
> them available as WebExtensions. There are two reasons for this:
>
> 1) since we are not planning on maintaining the code, the extensions
> may not be usable soon after they are released.

Ok, understand.

> 2) A number of extensions already cover similar functionality as
> these panels. Some examples for each panel:
That's good to know. I should have searched myself for that, sorry for
disturbance.

BTW.: I think it's a good idea to focus on the core of devtools. There
still are some important firebug gaps open. I miss HTML and CSS live
editing very much as well as break on DOM mutation.

Thanks for your efforts.
--
Erik Krause
Herchersgarten 1
79249 Merzhausen

ysta...@mozilla.com

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Nov 16, 2018, 9:54:50 AM11/16/18
to mozilla-dev-d...@lists.mozilla.org
Hello again everyone.

Thanks to those of you who have submitted responses so far. We will continue gathering information for the next week, so if you will be impacted by the removal of any of these panels (the Web Audio Editor, Shader Editor, or Canvas Debugger) please let us know by filling out the survey (<https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeirrUhXDPGkDwq_D0hD0PQP4HVtbI00aGj25WE2kye5Fs7-g/viewform> ) or by replying here.

We will close the survey on November 23.

Thanks.

Nicolas Chevobbe

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Nov 19, 2018, 2:32:25 AM11/19/18
to Yulia Startsev, mozilla-dev-d...@lists.mozilla.org
Hello,

I am fine with these removals, but one of my fear is that we may upset some
people who rely on these tools.

At some point, there was discussion within the team of a "Webextension
recommendation system", that would recommend useful extension for a given
context (e.g. : Hey, you're using React in your page, you might want to
install the React DevTools extension).

So, if they're are webextension alternatives to the panel we plan to
sunset, that would be a great time to put some element of the
recommendation system in place. In an ideal world, people that have those
panels enabled won't even have to do anything (or a one-time click) to have
the alternative webextensions installed the day those panels are removed.

I think this is not trivial and I don't know how that fits with the wanted
timeline of removing those panels, but with a system like this, we mitigate
the risk of irritating (advanced, given the tools) users.

On Fri, Nov 16, 2018 at 3:54 PM <ysta...@mozilla.com> wrote:

> On Friday, November 9, 2018 at 2:54:08 PM UTC+1, Yulia Startsev wrote:
> Hello again everyone.
>
> Thanks to those of you who have submitted responses so far. We will
> continue gathering information for the next week, so if you will be
> impacted by the removal of any of these panels (the Web Audio Editor,
> Shader Editor, or Canvas Debugger) please let us know by filling out the
> survey (<
> https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeirrUhXDPGkDwq_D0hD0PQP4HVtbI00aGj25WE2kye5Fs7-g/viewform>
> ) or by replying here.
>
> We will close the survey on November 23.
>
> Thanks.
> _______________________________________________
> dev-developer-tools mailing list
> dev-devel...@lists.mozilla.org
> https://lists.mozilla.org/listinfo/dev-developer-tools
>

Soledad Penadés

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Nov 19, 2018, 4:51:30 AM11/19/18
to dev-devel...@lists.mozilla.org
Thanks for sharing your concern, Nicolas. We're also worried about
potentially breaking people's workflows, which is why we're consulting
on this before we proceed with the removal. So we're in the same board :-)

However, the feature recommendation system is not in place, it is not
prioritised for this quarter and there has been no talk of it recently.
That would put this work on hold until the system is designed AND
developed, and given the amount of time we're already spending on these
panels for such little usage, it makes very little sense from a
strategy/economic point of view.

There are some alternatives; Yulia shared them in a previous email. It
might be more cost proportionate to recommend them "one on one" than to
implement a whole recommendation system given the amount of users there are.

I reckon in an ideal world, we'd do what you suggest, which is the
fairest thing, but we have lots of technical debt to pay and the
interest is piling up, so to speak :)

sole


On 19/11/2018 07:32, Nicolas Chevobbe wrote:
> Hello,
>
> I am fine with these removals, but one of my fear is that we may upset some
> people who rely on these tools.
>
> At some point, there was discussion within the team of a "Webextension
> recommendation system", that would recommend useful extension for a given
> context (e.g. : Hey, you're using React in your page, you might want to
> install the React DevTools extension).
>
> So, if they're are webextension alternatives to the panel we plan to
> sunset, that would be a great time to put some element of the
> recommendation system in place. In an ideal world, people that have those
> panels enabled won't even have to do anything (or a one-time click) to have
> the alternative webextensions installed the day those panels are removed.
>
> I think this is not trivial and I don't know how that fits with the wanted
> timeline of removing those panels, but with a system like this, we mitigate
> the risk of irritating (advanced, given the tools) users.
>
> On Fri, Nov 16, 2018 at 3:54 PM <ysta...@mozilla.com> wrote:
>
>> On Friday, November 9, 2018 at 2:54:08 PM UTC+1, Yulia Startsev wrote:
>> Hello again everyone.
>>
>> Thanks to those of you who have submitted responses so far. We will
>> continue gathering information for the next week, so if you will be
>> impacted by the removal of any of these panels (the Web Audio Editor,
>> Shader Editor, or Canvas Debugger) please let us know by filling out the
>> survey (<
>> https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeirrUhXDPGkDwq_D0hD0PQP4HVtbI00aGj25WE2kye5Fs7-g/viewform>
>> ) or by replying here.
>>
>> We will close the survey on November 23.
>>
>> Thanks.
>> _______________________________________________
>> dev-developer-tools mailing list
>> dev-devel...@lists.mozilla.org
>> https://lists.mozilla.org/listinfo/dev-developer-tools
>>
> _______________________________________________
> dev-developer-tools mailing list
> dev-devel...@lists.mozilla.org
> https://lists.mozilla.org/listinfo/dev-developer-tools

--
http://soledadpenades.com

Razvan Caliman

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Nov 19, 2018, 9:05:21 AM11/19/18
to Soledad Penades, dev-devel...@lists.mozilla.org
>
> However, the feature recommendation system is not in place, it is not
> prioritised for this quarter and there has been no talk of it recently.


It might be more cost proportionate to recommend them "one on one" than to
> implement a whole recommendation system
>

Would it suffice to replace the panel contents with pages explaining the
reasons for deprecation and include links to the alternative WebExtensions?

These could be left in for a few releases or indefinitely given the reduced
cost
of maintenance. It would proactively help direct users to alternatives
instead of
having them depend on us for recommendations in direct communications.

+Razvan

micb...@gmail.com

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Nov 19, 2018, 9:33:13 AM11/19/18
to mozilla-dev-d...@lists.mozilla.org
Hi, I regularly use the WebAudio Editor to debug my WebAUdio graphs. So far, even, if not maintained, it's still the only debugger for WebAudio applications that takes into account the garbage collector. I just can't imagine working without this tool or an equivalent in other browsers (and while the Chrome WebAudio inspector extension is pretty good, it does not help for debugging Audio Node allocation as it does not linked to the garbage collector).

You can check the tools we develop at https://mainline.i3s.unice.fr/AmpSim4/ or read our papers published in multiple international conferences. We are also developing other tools such as a WebAudio plugin ecosystem that includes plugins + hosts (see our WAC 2018 paper), for the moment these tools do not run on FF (waiting for AudioWorklet support), but we always tried to make all our apps runnable on as many browsers as possible.

I talked at TPAC 2018 with some WebAudio developers about finding resources to maintain and develop the WebAudio FF editor, and the announce of its possible discarding can push us to REALLY try to find resources now. Please don't let this tool die, I can't imagine developing our WebAudio Apps without it now... Get in touch with us so that we can help...

Michel Buffa
University Côte d'Azur
France

Isaac Besora

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Nov 20, 2018, 3:40:41 AM11/20/18
to mozilla-dev-d...@lists.mozilla.org

Would it be possible to publish the WebAudio Editor code to some open repository and port (and mantain) it as a separate extension?

El dilluns, 19 novembre de 2018 15:33:13 UTC+1, micb...@gmail.com va escriure:

Patrick Brosset

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Nov 20, 2018, 3:46:58 AM11/20/18
to Isaac Besora, mozilla-dev-d...@lists.mozilla.org
The DevTools team working at Mozilla is too thinly stretched to continue
maintaining this panel or migrate it to a WebExtension (which isn't trivial
because of the need to have access to an event that tells us when audio
nodes are being garbage collected, which is precisely what makes this tool
useful for Michel).
The awesome community of volunteers who work on DevTools in their free time
hasn't really been interested in working on this (aging) tool either.

So, yes, porting it to an extension, and moving it somewhere else would
make a lot of sense, but we need someone willing to pick this up.
I'm sure that with our combined experiences we would be able to give that
person (or group of people) a lot of support in the form of discussions,
ideas, reviews, maybe code changes.

On Tue, Nov 20, 2018 at 9:40 AM Isaac Besora <ones...@gmail.com> wrote:

>
> Would it be possible to publish the WebAudio Editor code to some open
> repository and port (and mantain) it as a separate extension?
>
> El dilluns, 19 novembre de 2018 15:33:13 UTC+1, micb...@gmail.com va
> escriure:

ysta...@mozilla.com

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Jan 22, 2019, 10:19:49 AM1/22/19
to mozilla-dev-d...@lists.mozilla.org
Hello again.

Thank you to everyone who responded to our survey and got in touch with us. I would like to provide an update on what the plan is for the coming year regarding the three panels in question: the Web Audio Editor, Shader Editor, and Canvas Debugger.

We will be introducing a deprecation message in Firefox 68. This message will point folks to alternatives to the panels, as well as a Firefox build that still has the panels available.

As of Firefox 69, the panels will be completely removed.

There is a group of people interested in migrating the Web Audio Editor to a Web Extension, and we will be helping them do that.

Unlike the Web Audio Editor, there are some good alternatives for the Shader Editor and the Canvas Debugger, but if this is not enough there will still be a version of Firefox that can be built or downloaded with these panels still intact. We will post the removal patch (which you can revert on your own build) as well in case you want to explore the code. If there is similar interest in migrating the other panels, we can also help any teams do that as well.

ysta...@mozilla.com

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Jan 24, 2019, 8:55:58 AM1/24/19
to mozilla-dev-d...@lists.mozilla.org
Sorry I got the dates wrong. Here are the corrected ones:

We will be introducing a deprecation message in Firefox 67. This message will point folks to alternatives to the panels, as well as a Firefox build that still has the panels available.

As of Firefox 68, the panels will be completely removed.
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