Paging Dr. Developer – The Tree is Burning

December 8, 2008

Checking code into mozilla-central is a serious time commitment. Among other things, the person pushing the patch must watch the Tinderbox for several hours after committing to make sure that no unforeseen problems show up. This is enough of a pain that many of Mozilla’s most senior developers prefer to let other people push patches on their behalf.

It’s much easier to land a patch after hours, since there are fewer other people landing at the same time and so you’re less likely to get caught in someone else’s mess. However, I don’t always want to spend my evenings refreshing the tinderbox page. As such, I’ve always dreamed of having a convenient notification system that I could configure to send me an SMS message when the tree changed status. This would mean that I’d only need to be near a computer, rather than sitting at one, while I was watching the tree.

This evening I was talking to Wolf on IRC and had the idea of piggy-backing on firebot‘s tree notification system. Currently, firebot sits on #developers, checking the tree periodically, and speaks up any time the tree changes status. However, there was still quite a ways to go from the IRC channel to my cell phone. I use Colloquy as my IRC client, which has nice support for the Growl notification framework (all Mac only, sorry). Growl, in turn, has a notification option called “MailMe”, which uses your default account to send a notification to the address of your choice. Finally, my cellular provider (AT&T) provides a service by which you can email [phone number] AT, and the message will be delivered to that number. So by putting a Colloquy watch-word on “Success”, “Failed”, and “Burning” and setting the Growl notification event JVChatMentioned to use the MailMe plugin, I had firebot sending me text messages. (Side note – Growl does in fact have an SMS plugin, but it requires having an account with a commercial service and seems to cost money.)

The MailMe plugin has a slight problem though: it appends a long footer string to every message. This is fine over email, but it caused all my SMS notifications to span multiple messages, which can get pretty expensive if all the boxes start burning at once. Furthermore, this message was hard-coded into the binary, so there was no easy configuration file to modify. As a result, I grabbed the source, hacked it to silence both the footer and the subject, and made a replacement plugin that you can download here. Just delete the existing MailMe.growlView in /Library/PreferencePanes/Growl.prefPane/Contents/Resources/, drop this one in instead, and you should be good to go. I’m not sure how portable it is, but I can’t imagine any problems if you’re using up-to-date versions of Leapord and Growl.

If you decide to give this a try, let me know how it works out.

Edit: It looks like I forgot to include the source of the (minor) modifications to Growl. I’ve since deleted the directory I was working in, so I just re-did the changes as I remember them and posted them here. I haven’t tested the new patch beyond compilation, but it’s trivial enough that I didn’t feel like it.

3 Responses to “Paging Dr. Developer – The Tree is Burning”

  1. Though it doesn’t fit your desire to take Tinderbox with you on your phone, you may want to look up the Tinderstatus extension. With it, you can monitor Tinderbox without ever visiting the webpage – just look in the lower right corner of your browser window.

  2. Not bad Bobby, though this will tell you every time firebot speaks up about the tree right? What would be nice is a way to watch for changes after your check-in.

    How about a service that you give it your email address you check-in with and your cell #, and then it watches the tree for you and lets you know the state of the tree after your commit goes through.

  3. GPHemsley said

    Thank you for making me realize that that e-mail/text message feature is available to all AT&T subscribers, and not just people with smartphones.

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