Eyes Above The Waves

Robert O'Callahan. Christian. Repatriate Kiwi. Hacker.

Monday 31 May 2010

Visiting Toronto

On Friday afternoon I'm flying to Toronto to attend PLDI and the associated LFX workshop, where I'll be giving a talk on "A Browser Developer's Wish List":

Web browser development is extremely challenging: compatibility with billions of legacy Web pages, specification and implementation of new Web-standard platform features, a wide range of devices and platforms to target, hundreds of millions of users to support, and severe security and performance challenges, all in an environment of white-hot competition. At Mozilla we use a variety of tools and processes to try to cope. This talk will analyze where they have been successful and where they fall down, with particular focus on major pain points such as nondeterministic test failures, mismatch between conditions "in the lab" and "in the field", and grappling with legacy code. We have bright hopes for the future, such as static array bounds checking and record-and-replay debugging, but other areas look dire, so I'll present my research wish-list --- including better performance analysis tools, verified refactorings, and static analysis packaged as assistance for code reviewers.

I arrive on Friday night, plan to attend workshops on Saturday and Sunday, PLDI itself Monday through Wednesday, and then on Thursday and Friday I plan to be in the Mozilla Toronto office, possibly with a side trip to the University of Toronto. I fly out on Friday afternoon, hopefully arriving home on Sunday morning. It'll be a great chance for me to reconnect with the research community I used to be part of, and catch up with a lot of old friends and colleagues. I'm really looking forward to it!