Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Feedback wanted - Mozilla's Release Engineering presentation at FSOSS: draft 1

On October 29th I will be presenting at FSOSS in Toronto talking about Release Engineering at Mozilla through buildbot.

This is the first time that I am putting together a presentation of this scale and I have found preparing the right content for a presentation a difficult task. That is why I want to do it in the open to get feedback early and help me prepare something that is educative and worth the time of others.

The people attending the session will be of various sectors and not necessarily familiar to the functions of a release engineering team.

Link to draft.

Presentation's goals
My goals are the following:
  • Explain in a progressive manner how our infrastructure help developers know if their changes are good
  • Explain how our automation has grown and understand how much we have been able to do thanks to buildbot
  • Explain the release process which is made of different teams joining forces to create a product that is delived to final users
Currently I have started to develop the first two goals as I would rather have two parts very well developed rather than three incomplete parts.

What do you think? Shall I give more emphasis to the third point? What do you think would be more interesting for people to learn from Release Engineering?

Structure of the presentation
You can look at the whole slide or look at this brief bullet point explaining the structure of the presentation.
  • Brief introduction
  • Cycle of a push
  • Builds and results
  • Scaling
  • Release process
  • Buildbot
  • Q&A
  • Wrap-up
I am tackling this project as an iterative process and allowing room for cutting scope without damaging the overall quality. I will provide full sources once done and provide all the images and diagrams for re-use.

Creative Commons License
This work by Zambrano Gasparnian, Armen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.


  1. It's hard to give feedback without knowing what you are going to say...

    If the entire informational content of your presentation is encoded in the slides, then you can just send people the slides and not do the presentation! So I assume you have more to say than what's written on here. But that makes it not really possible to comment, because we don't have a recording of you giving the talk...


  2. Right! I knew I forgot mentioning something.

    I have speaker notes on the slideshow which cannot be seen in the embedded version but they can be seen in the linked draft.
    I wrote those too (more or less) to give an idea of what I actually want to speak about.

    I guess I could provide a fast screen-cast next week to give a better idea of what the presentation is looking like.

    Thanks Gerv!

  3. It's obviously pretty rough so far, but a few commments:

    - there are a few slides about Mozilla's "big numbers", all of which are impressive, but they should probably be back-to-back. I would think it makes most sense to present the how-does-it-work parts first (the commit process, the "cloud", talos, unit tests, builds), then talk about just how often this happens and how many systems we have.

    - for folks who aren't immersed in this problem, it might be good to clearly spell out the needs. It seems obvious to us, but it's not obvious to many people that there's a need both to run tests, and to build packages, and that the same systems can do both, but they have very different requirements. It might be nice to do a slide or two on each of those (further breaking down the testing part into performance and unit).

    Other than that, I look forward to learning more about the infrastructure *from* your presentation. Will it be streamed live?

  4. Hi Dustin,
    - right; I believe you are referring to slide 3 where I mention the large number of users we have. I believe I could move this to the section where I would be talking about the release process itself and who we have to be reaching

    - yeah, I will have to think on how to make it clear and easy to understand why we had packaged tests to begin with and why we broke them into smaller pieces

    - no, it won't be streamed live but it will be recorded and then posted somewhere.

    - meanwhile you can have a look at http://oduinn.com/blog/2010/06/14/releng-brownbag-re-revised/ to get an idea of how our systems work

    Thanks Dustin, I will post a revised version early next week.

  5. I don't really know the subject matter of your talk so I won't comment on that. However, I am noticing that some of your diagrams have really small packed text in it. You might want to make it bigger, less wordy or at least give it more spacing.

    See you at fsoss :)

  6. I mention on my speaker notes that some of the images needed some specific fixes but thanks for noticing!
    I should have added text over the images so people could see it easily.