I’m going to GUADEC!

I'm attending GUADECOne year again GUADEC is approaching and, also again, I’m very happy to say that I’ll be there as well this time, even if I have to recognize it was not on my plans for this year, at least not initially.

And the reason why it was not initially in my plans was mainly because I’ve been already through quite some changes during these past months year, and my family just came over to the UK two months ago. This means that, even I already arrived by the beginning of the year, we just started to settle here as a family a few weeks ago. So in that context, I didn’t feel like leaving them alone for one week already now, it definitely would look like a “wrong management of priorities” to me.

However, it turns out that my wife and kids won’t be here anyway during the first week of August and, on top of that, Samsung has been so kind to sponsor this trip just based on the simple fact that I’m part of the GNOME community. So, I certainly can no longer find a single reason not to go and spend 7 amazing days in Brno, meeting people that I normally see only in conferences (and this time that group of people will be bigger than ever, since my former mates from Igalia are now also included there), while attending to what it seems to be a very appealing event.

Also, I will try to make the most of the trip to do some work during the different hackfests and BoFs that are already planned, which special focus in the one about accessibility, of course. As a personal goal, I expect to have the chance to move forward some work I’ve been doing lately in the WebKitGTK+ a11y world, such as getting rid of the nasty dependency on Pango/Gail we still have there, something I’ve been already working on for some time now, and which I expect it will be fixed soon, hopefully before GUADEC, although time will tell.

Once that it’s fixed, WebKit2GTK+ based apps should recover the ability to properly expose text through the atk_text_get_text_*_offset() family of functions for different text boundaries, which means that ATs (e.g. the Orca screen reader)  will be able to properly allow again line-by-line navigation when in caret browsing mode. And, as you can imagine, this is quite a big problem these days, since WebKit2GTK+ that has become the default backend for some core apps such as the Epiphany browser with the GNOME 3.8 release, so fixing this is like a high priority now, I’d say.

Samsung LogoAnyway, I’m starting to write too much (as usual) for what it was going to be a short “I’m going to GUADEC” blog post, so I will stop right now, although not without first thanking Samsung for sponsoring this my first trip to the Czech Republic.

See you all in three weeks!

WebKitGTK+ 1.10 is almost here!

As you might already know, the new and shiny 3.6 release of the GNOME desktop is right around the corner, and so it’s the next release of WebKitGTK+, the port of the WebKit web rendering engine to the GTK+ platform.

And it turns out that such a release is going to be a very special one for us, members of the WebKit team at Igalia,  since it comes with some very interesting features, like those I already mentioned in the talk I gave during the past GUADEC, mainly:

  • Beta version of the WebKit2GTK+ API
  • Support for Accelerated Compositing
  • WebGL enabled by default
  • Support for HTML5 Fullscreen and WebAudio
  • Multimedia layer ported to GStreamer 0.11
  • Support for the Low-Level Interpreter in JavaScriptCore

From all those, I’m specially happy because we will be finally releasing the very first beta version of the new WebKit2GTK+ API, based in the multi-process architecture of WebKit2, as well as providing support for Accelerated Compositing and WebGL.

This new WebKit2GTK+ API, as you perhaps already know, will allow applications gain the split process model of WebKit2 out-of-the box, which is awesome. Xan already mentioned  some of the advantages of it becoming beta for GNOME 3.6 in his last post this week, being my favorite ones the “increased responsiveness and stability” (quoting Xan) that will come with it, as well as the fact that it will be not only powerful enough to port old applications and write new ones, but also simpler and easier to use (we are putting a lot of effort on this).

And honestly, I think we are doing pretty well in that regard, even though there’s still a lot of work to do before we can release an stable version of this new API (due for WebKitGTK+ 2.0,  to be released with GNOME 3.8), which will also mean the very first version of Epiphany that will be using WebKit2 by default.

With regard to Accelerated Compositing and WebGL, I’d just like to mention that having them supported in WebKitGTK+ from now on is great because it means you will be able to render visually stunning web content in your browser of choice (epiphany, huh?), as well as enjoy more subtle improvements such as smoother animations or increased responsivenes while browsing. You can visit this post by my mate Martin for more details on this topic.

Anyway, all these are very nice words and all that, but sometimes it’s not that easy to properly understand just with words what exactly those things will actually mean for users, so I decided to spend some time today polishing a bit the videos I used as demos in my talk during GUADEC, and link them from here, so everyone can easily watch them now.

Hope you enjoy watching them as much as I did making them:

WebKitGTK+: WebGL and Accelerated Compositing

WebKit2GTK+: The UI and the Web process

WebKit2GTK+: The Plugin process

GUADEC, WebKit and bikes

I'm going to GUADECIt seems this year GUADEC is going to be pretty close to my place and so I will surely attend, but this time I won’t go by plane but by bike, which since some months ago has become my main vehicle for moving around the beautiful city where I live in: A Coruña.

Also, besides hanging around the venue and trying to help as much as possible as the local I am, I’ll be talking about WebKitGTK+ in the afternoon on Thursday 26th, so feel free to come round the room if you feel curious about the current status of the whole thing and the current plans for the short and medium term, which are mostly focused around WebKit2 and the roadmap we’re already following.

You probably already read some news related to this coming from my mates in the Igalia WebKit team, (like the improvements in Accelerated Compositing or the migration of our handsome browser Epiphany to using WebKit2), yet I will try to deliver an interesting talk to y’all. I just hope I’ll be able to do it (but please forgive me if I don’t).

So that’s it. As usual, just feel free to talk me if you see me around if you want. I’ll basically be around the venue most of the time during GUADEC, and will attend a11y and WebKitGTK+ BoFs on the 30th and 31st, so I’d say it will be pretty easy to find me.

Accessibility support in WebKit2GTK+

As Piñeiro already mentioned in some posts, last week a bunch of hackers attended the ATK/AT-SPI Hackfest 2012 here at the Igalia offices, in the lovely city of Coruña.

As the guy working on accessibility support for WebKitGTK+, I attended the hackfest to join some other great people representing different projects, such as Mozilla, Orca, AT-SPI, ATK, GTK+ and Qt. So, apart from helping with some “local” organizational details of the hackfest and taking some pictures, I spent some time hacking in WebKitGTK+‘s accessibility code and participating in some discussions.

And from that dedication I managed to achieve some interesting things too, being my favorite ones a big refactoring of the a11y code in WebCore (so it’s now better organized and hence more readable and easy to hack on) and pushing my patch for enabling accessibility support in WebKit2GTK+, after going through a meticulous process of review (see the related WK bug), which started with the patch I wrote and attached back when attending to the WebKitGTK+ hackfest, as I mentioned in my previous entry in this blog.

Yeah, I know that some weeks have already passed since then and so perhaps you’re thinking this could have been done faster… but I’ve spent some weeks on holidays in Barcelona in December (pictures here!) and so I wouldn’t have much time before January to devote to this task. However, the patch got integrated faster than what I would expect when I proposed the first version of it, so I’m quite satisfied and happy anyway just by being able to announce this at this moment. Hope you share my joy :-)

So, what does this mean from the point of view of accessibility in GNOME? Well, that’s an easy question to answer: from now on, every browser that uses WebKit2GTK+ will be as much accessible as those using the previous version of WebKitGTK+, and this is definitely a good thing. Of course, I’m certain there will be bugs in this specific part that will need fixing (as it always happens), but for the time being this achievement means “yet another thing less” preventing us from pushing for upgrading some applications to switch to WebKit2GTK+, such as devhelp (some ongoing work already done, as my mate Carlos announced yesterday), yelpliferea… and the mighty Epiphany browser, which is rocking more and more ech day that goes by.

Last, I’d like to share with you an screenshot showing this new stuff, but as I am a little bit tired of always using Minibrowser (that small browser we use for testing WebKit2), so I decided to try instead that new branch Carlos recently pushed for devhelp, so you could check that what I mentioned before is actually true.

So here you have it (along with a couple of additions done with Gimp):

As you can see, devhelp is running and Accerciser is showing the full hierarchy of accessible objects associated to the application, starting in the UI process (GTK+ world) and continuing in the Web process, where all the accessible objects from the WebKitGTK+ world are being exposed. As I explained in a previous post, the magic making possible the connection between the two process is done by means of the AtkSocket and the AtkPlug classes, also represented in the screenshot attached above.

So, that’s it.

WebKitGTK+ Hackfest: WK2, a11y and Ephiphany’s ad blocker extension

Some posts have been already published about this during the last days, but just in case you missed them I will mention it here again: Last week, a bunch of hackers gathered together in the Igalia office in Coruña for the third edition of the WebKitGTK+ hackfest , and a lot of work has been done, as Juanjo has already summarized in his “WebKitGTK+ hackfest wrap up” post.

WebKitGTK+ 2011 Hackfest

So, as everything has been already said from a more general perspective, I’d like to write my very personal wrap up here, focused on the tasks that I’ve been working on, which can be summarized in three:

  • Enabling accessibility support in WebKit2GTK+.
  • Rewrite of the Ad Blocker extension for Epiphany.
  • Bug fixing in WebKitGTK+‘s accessibility related code.

Enabling accessibility support in WebKit2GTK+

This has been, by far, the task I devoted most of the time to during the hackfest, mainly focused on writing a ‘feature complete’ patch that could be applied upstream, and thus that could be reviewed in first place. But, what do I mean by “a ‘feature complete’ patch”? Well, perhaps you are already aware of the initial results already got in the WebKit2GTK+ a11y realm, but those results were obtained with a patch still in a very early state and, among other things, lacking a very important requirement for getting it accepted upstream: tests.

Fortunately, I can now proudly say that I managed to find a good way to write those tests (specially tricky due to the multiprocess architecture of WebKit2) and that there shouldn’t be any problem either with getting them work properly in the buildbots, which was something I was quite concerned about by the begining of the week, to be honest.

Besides the tests, the other obvious problem was that such a patch was not widely tested yet with the Orca screen reader (I use Accerciser for development purposes most of the time), and that would for sure unveil issues that would need fixing before being really able to propose a patch for reviewing, and so that was the other aspect where I put the spotlight during this week.

And regarding to this, I have to say that Joanmarie Diggs was working tirelessly by testing Orca with my WebKit2GTK+ a11y patch, reporting bugs, and helping me a lot to prioritize the tasks that would need to be done. From all those, I mainly worked this week in the following ones:

  • Emitting the AtkDocument’s signals (‘load-complete’, ‘load-stopped’ and ‘reload’), which was working only in WebKitGTK+ but not in WebKit2GTK+. See the bug report and the patch (still pending on review) for this issue in bug 73750. Also, I reported and worked for a while in another bug related to this, which is now already fixed upstream (see bug 73746). Yay!
  • Ensure that the accessibility hierarchy doesn’t break when (re)loading, which was causing that Orca stopped speaking unless it “manually” drilled down the full a11y hierarchy after the (re)load. I finally fixed that issue yesterday and integrated it in the patch for enabling a11y support in WebKit2GTK+, now already attached and pending on review along with bug 72589.

So, the conclusion of this part would be that we have now a patch in WebKit’s bugzilla (see bug 72589) that, once it’s approved, would enable accessibility in WebKit2GTK+ once and for all. Of course, this will probably take some time before it gets accepted upstream, but it’s yet another nice milestone in my opinion, and I personally hope it would happen on time for GNOME 3.4. Time will tell, though.

Rewrite of the Ad Blocker extension for Epiphany

This was another thing I’ve been randomly working on since some time ago (whenever “spare” time permitted), and that I was able to advance quite a lot right after coming back from the parental leave I enjoyed on September (did I say my second child was born on August the 30th?). However, the patch was not finished by any means, and some issues kindly pointed by Xan in bugzilla needed fixing before being able to say aloud something like “hey, the new ad blocker is now in town!”.

Thus, we thought it would be good to devote some time during the hackfest to try to close this task too, so we did: Xan reviewed the new version of the patch (addressing the issues he previously pointed out), I made some last changes based on that new feedback from him and we finally pushed it to the repository, replacing the old ad blocker extension with this new one, which is based in Midori‘s ad blocker and so is compatible with Adblock Plus filters, which work very well IMHO.

So, this basically means that the new ad blocker extension will be present from Epiphany 3.4 on. Check out the related bug in GNOME‘s bugzilla: bug 660154

Bug fixing in WebKitGTK+’s accessibility related code

Besides working in the WebKit2GTK+ a11y realm and on finishing the new ad blocker extension, I’ve also spent some time (although not as much as I would have wanted) fixing regressions in WebKitGTK+‘s a11y code as reported by Joanie (basically bug 72804 and bug 72830).

Compared to the other two points, this has been of course a pretty small contribution, but worth doing anyway since they were very important for Orca to work properly with WebKitGTK+ based browsers (special mention to bug 72830 here).

Conclusion

From the work-related point of view, I’d say this hackfest has been highly productive in general, as we achieved many goals which, as Juanjo pointed out in his wrap up post, “were not mainly about fixing critical and blocker bugs and implementing basic missing features, but about more ambitious and challenging” ones. As for me, I’m pretty happy with the results I got, specially with the WK2 a11y patch, which has now a much better shape, and so I hope we can integrate it soon upstream.

And from a more personal point of view, I’d like to say I had a great time (again!) this year in the hackfest, and not only because of the achiements got, but also because I had quite a lot of fun as well, because I met new people and because I felt, more than ever, part of a community and a project which I love.

To finish, I’d just like to mention that I’ve been taking some pictures during the hackfest, which you can check out in this photo set in flickr (pictures uploaded with Frogr, of course!). Nayan has also taken some pictures as well, check them out here.

WebKitGTK+ 2011 Hackfest (The End)

Of course, thanks a lot to the sponsors that made this possible: Collabora, Motorola, Igalia and the always awesome GNOME Foundation. I hope we’ll be able to repeat it next year, since this hackfest it’s only getting more and more awesome every time it happens.

WebKitGTK+ hackfest 2010

After the daily reports written by Diego in his blog, few more things can be told about the WebKitGTK+ hackfest hosted at the Igalia offices last week, but I’d like to comment anyway some impressions from my personal point of view, if you don’t mind reading them.

First of all, this was the second time I attended to this hackfest (I “kind of” attended last year hackfest as well) but now things were pretty different for me, basically because one year ago I was not part of the Igalia WebKit team yet, hence my contributions in the hackfest were pretty small (see my post back then for more details). However, this time I attended full-time to the event and I must say I’m really proud of the work I’ve been doing right there, which I hope will eventually lead to the resolution of this WebKit metabug, which was about fixing bugs blocking ORCA support from WebKitGTK based applications.

But fortunately, the work I’ve been doing during the last week was just a pretty small and humble contribution compared to all the work that has been done by the rest of the people attending to the hackfest, like fixing GTK3 and GObject Introspection issues, fully integrating in libsoup all the new cache stuff written for WebKitGTK (which eventually lead to removing the equivalent code from WebKitGTK, as my mate Sergio told some weeks ago, as soon as some bots upgrade to the latest version of libsoup), adding support for profiling in JavascriptCore, implementing some missing and advanced features into the DumRenderTree (aka DRT, the so beloved tool for writing functional tests), fixing spell-checking support… and bugfixing in general (as well as, most likely, lots of other things I’m failing to recall right now). You can read Diego’s blog for more details on those.

Other than that, there was also time for working in Epiphany were some notorious fixes and improvements also happened. Those I can remember right now are the new error pages for epiphany, the implementation of a certificates viewer and new font preferences, getting rid of GConf in epiphany-extensions and general bugfixing tasks. As you can easily understand, as the devoted and committed Epiphany user that I am, I’m pretty excited with these improvements as well. Not needed to say anything about this patch committed at the beginning of the hackfest, I guess, in my opinion this is one of those cases where a picture is clearly worth a thousand words:-)

hackfest mooded epiphany

So, as you can see it was a quite productive week after all here in Coruña!

Last but not least, I’d like to specially thank The GNOME Foundation for sponsoring the event, as well as Igalia and Collabora for helping make this possible once again. Hope we can repeat it next year, and that more people will join the event to help making WebKitGTK an even better web engine for the GNOME platform.

See pictures of the hackfest here:

Calentando motores para la GUADEC-ES

Con motivo de la celebración de la VII GUADEC Hispana (o GUADEC-ES) una invasión de GNOME hackers y allegados invadirán tierras coruñesas durante toda la semana que viene, y esta vez no estará María Pita para defender la ciudad, por lo que si todo transcurre como debería, y no hay nubes de ceniza ni cosas por el estilo, la Facultad de Informática de la Universidad de A Coruña acogerá durante dos días 19 ponencias/talleres sobre temas diversos relacionados con GNOME, como comentó Chema en su blog recientemente.

La conferencia será un evento “de amplio espectro”, donde tienen cabida tanto aquellas personas ya involucradas en la comunidad GNOME desde hace tiempo, como aquellos otros perfiles menos iniciados que quieran iniciarse o simplemente conocer más acerca de esta comunidad, tanto a nivel de usuario como de desarrollador, ya que habrá ponencias de todos los gustos, niveles y formas.

Por mi parte, y por lo que parece leyendo el programa de la conferencia, me tocará dar dos charlas en las mañana del Jueves y el Viernes acerca de dos temas que ocupan desde hace unos meses mi día a día en Igalia:

  • WebKit (desde el punto de vista de GNOME), proyecto en el cual trabajo actualmente intentando mejorar el estado de la accesibilidad en su port para GTK+ (WebKitGTK+), aunque el ámbito de la charla no será restringido a ese aspecto exclusivamente, sino a dar una visión global del estado del arte, últimas mejoras realizadas y una perspectiva del futuro de la plataforma
  • git, el sistema de control de versiones distribuido que uso actualmente y que, al menos en mi opinion (y diría que no estoy sólo), es uno de los mejores DVCS hoy en día. La charla-taller estará enfocada a aquellas personas interesadas en empezar a usar git o, al menos, en conocer en que consiste y que se puede hacer con este sistema. No será una charla avanzada pero se asumirán conocimientos básicos de otros VCS no distribuidos, como CVS o Subversion.

Y nada más creo… simplemente decir que nos vemos la semana que viene y que estoy deseando que empiece ya la conferencia, a pesar de que no voy a poder asistir a todas las ponencias (al menos a las de la tarde) por tener que atender mis nuevas obligaciones… aunque “sarna con gusto no pica”, no?

Aunque quien sabe… quizás aún así me pasaré por la tarde de visita con un GNOME hacker muy especial :-)

Nos vemos!

Trying latest epiphany/WebKit in Ubuntu

Even though I’ll be stating the obvious for so many ubuntu users/developers reading this post, I’d like to post a quick recipe for those who don’t know how to easily install the latest version of epiphany with the WebKit backend, as well as all the needed dependencies, without having to mess with compiling the source code (which is not always an easy nor a quick task, by the way).

So here we go

  1. First of all, this only works for Ubuntu Jaunty or Karmic, since there are no PPAs available for previous distros to install Epiphany (WebKit PPAs provided since Hardy).
  2. Add the PPA’s from the WebKit Team both for installing latest version of WebKit and Epiphany. So, that is, add the following lines to your /etc/apt/sources.listfile (replace ‘karmic’ with ‘jaunty’ if needed):
    deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/webkit-team/ppa/ubuntu karmic main
    deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/webkit-team/ppa/ubuntu karmic main 
    
    deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/webkit-team/epiphany/ubuntu karmic main
    deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/webkit-team/epiphany/ubuntu karmic main
  3. Import the GPG key of the repo in APT:
    sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 2D9A3C5B
  4. Update APT packages cache:
    sudo apt-get update
  5. Install the needed packages:
    sudo apt-get install epiphany-browser epiphany-browser-dataepiphany-extensions
  6. Just wait and let APT to do its magic :-)

And that’s all. After those simple steps you should be enjoying the last version of  this great and amazingly fast browser (2.29.6 at the time of writing this post), which is nowadays under heavy development, continuously getting better, better and even better on its roadmap towards GNOME 2.30.

So, what are you waiting for? Just go ahead and give it a try if you haven’t done it yet and make it your default browser ;-) . Now you don’t have to manually compile all the needed stuff you just don’t have any good excuse not to do it.

And don’t forget to report any issue you find in the bugzilla. Remember feedback (and patches, of course) is the best way to help with improving it even more!

Ah! by the way, almost forgot to say that…

I’m attending FOSDEM

…as another member of the Igalia gang hanging around there this weekend.

See you there guys!

[Update 2010/01/04] As commented by zerwas, there’s an even easier way from Karmic on:

  1. Add the PPA’s from the WebKit Team both for installing latest version of WebKit and Epiphany:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webkit-team/ppa
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webkit-team/epiphany
  2. Update APT packages cache:
    sudo apt-get update
  3. Install the needed packages:
    sudo apt-get install epiphany-browser epiphany-browser-dataepiphany-extensions