I've been at Mozdev for a full year now. This was a big step for me personally as well as for Mozdev; there was lots of trepidation from both parties, for a number of reasons:
- I was Mozdev's first full-time employee (and without a formal office, all interviews were over the phone)
- This was my first time being a full-time contractor instead of salaried
- There were (and still are) lots of bugs; some old, some important, and they all needed reevaluated to better define their scope and meaning
- There was a large, pre-existing open-source community that I had no experience with. I didn't know how (or if) they would accept me or my work
- The features that were needed at Mozdev were rather large; mostly due to scaling them across many different projects
While the first few months were relatively scary for me while I learned the existing code base and environment (7 years of organic growth!), I was able to begin working on new features almost immediately. Most of what I worked on is on our roadmap, but I also spent a lot of time trying to setup new structures for maintaining code.
One of my biggest challenges this year wasn't developing features for Mozdev, though; it was integrating myself with the existing community. The community of developers and users at Mozdev is amazing and has an incredible breadth of knowledge and background, and I was an outsider coming in to change how they worked on their projects. I've tried hard to make sure changes and prototypes are announced ahead of time and get exposure as well as making myself available to Mozdev users who need support in order to help people get to know me a little better. Being on the front-line for support as well as new features is a new experience for me, and while it's had it's rough moments I think it helps people feel that we're listening to them and that we're here to help.
This past year I've mostly kept my head down trying to learn about the Mozdev community; this year I'd like to get my head up a little more and reach out to the larger Mozilla community so that we can all benefit. I'm sure the upcoming OSCON Conference and Firefox Summit will go a long way toward getting people together so we can brainstorm on how to improve Mozdev and make it a bigger participant in the Mozilla community.
It's been a great year, and I'm very glad that I took the chance on jumping into an environment I knew nothing about and that Mozdev chose to take a chance on me. I'm very thankful to be able to continue to help the Mozdev and Mozilla communities to grow and look forward to the next year and what it will bring.