Build System Status Update 2013-05-14

May 13, 2013 at 07:35 PM | categories: Mozilla, build system

I'd like to make an attempt at delivering regular status updates on the Gecko/Firefox build system and related topics. Here we go with the first instance. I'm sure I missed awesomeness. Ping me and I'll add it to the next update.

MozillaBuild Windows build environment updated

Kyle Huey released version 1.7 of our Windows build environment. It contains a newer version of Python and a modern version of Mercurial among other features.

I highly recommend every Windows developer update ASAP. Please note that you will likely encounter Python errors unless you clobber your build.

New submodule and peers

I used my power as module owner to create a submodule of the build config module whose scope is the (largely mechanical) transition of content from to files. I granted Joey Armstrong and Mike Shal peer status for this module. I would like to eventually see both elevated to build peers of the main build module. transition

The following progress has been made:

  • Mike Shal has converted variables related to defining XPIDL files in bug 818246.
  • Mike Shal converted MODULE in bug 844654.
  • Mike Shal converted EXPORTS in bug 846634.
  • Joey Armstrong converted xpcshell test manifests in bug 844655.
  • Brian O'Keefe converted PROGRAM in bug 862986.
  • Mike Shal is about to land conversion of CPPSRCS in bug 864774.

Non-recursive XPIDL generation

In bug 850380 I'm trying to land non-recursive building of XPIDL files. As part of this I'm trying to combine the generation of .xpt and .h for each input .idl file into a single process call because profiling revealed that parsing the IDL consumes most of the CPU time. This shaves a few dozen seconds off of build times.

I have encounterd multiple pymake bugs when developing this patch, which is the primary reason it hasn't landed yet.

WebIDL refactoring

I was looking at my build logs and noticed WebIDL generation was taking longer than I thought it should. I filed bug 861587 to investigate making it faster. While my initial profiling turned out to be wrong, Boris Zbarsky looked into things and discovered that the serialization and deserialization of the parser output was extremely slow. He is currently trying to land a refactor of how WebIDL bindings are handled. The early results look very promising.

I think the bug is a good example of the challenges we face improving the build system, as Boris can surely attest.

Test directory reorganization

Joel Maher is injecting sanity into the naming scheme of test directories in bug 852065.

Manifests for mochitests

Jeff Hammel, Joel Maher, Ted Mielczarek, and I are working out using manifests for mochitests (like xpcshell tests) in bug 852416.

Mach core is now a standalone package

I extracted the mach core to a standalone repository and added it to PyPI.

Mach now categorizes commands in its help output.

Requiring Python 2.7.3

Now that the Windows build environment ships with Python 2.7.4, I've filed bug 870420 to require Python 2.7.3+ to build the tree. We already require Python 2.7.0+. I want to bump the point release because there are many small bug fixes in 2.7.3, especially around Python 3 compatibility.

This is currently blocked on RelEng rolling out 2.7.3 to all the builders.

Eliminating master xpcshell manifest

Now that xpcshell test manifests are defined in files, we theoretically don't need the master manifest. Joshua Cranmer is working on removing them in bug 869635.

Enabling GTests and dual linking libxul

Benoit Gerard and Mike Hommey are working in bug 844288 to dual link libxul so GTests can eventually be enabled and executed as part of our automation.

This will regress build times since we need to link libxul twice. But, giving C++ developers the ability to write unit tests with a real testing framework is worth it, in my opinion.

ICU landing

ICU was briefly enabled in bug 853301 but then backed out because it broke cross-compiling. It should be on track for enabling in Firefox 24.

Resource monitoring in mozbase

I gave mozbase a class to record system resource usage. I plan to eventually hook this up to the build system so the build system records how long it took to perform key events. This will give us better insight into slow and inefficient parts of the build and will help us track build system speed improvements over time.

Sorted lists in files

I'm working on requiring lists in be sorted. Work is happening in bug 863069.

This idea started as a suggestion on the dev-platform list. If anyone has more great ideas, don't hold them back!

Smartmake added to mach

Nicholas Alexander taught mach how to build intelligently by importing some of Josh Matthews' smartmake tool's functionality into the tree.

Source server fixed

Kyle Huey and Ted Mielczarek collaborated to fix the source server.

Auto clobber functionality

Auto clobber functionality was added to the tree. After flirting briefly with on-by-default, we changed it to opt-in. When you encounter it, it will tell you how to enable it.

Faster clobbers on automation

I was looking at build logs and identified we were inefficiently performing clobber.

Massimo Gervasini and Chris AtLee deployed changes to automation to make it more efficient. My measurements showed a Windows try build that took 15 fewer minutes to start - a huge improvement.

Upgrading to Mercurial 2.5.4

RelEng is tracking the global deployment of Mercurial 2.5.4. is currently running 2.0.2 and automation is all over the map. The upgrade should make Mercurial operations faster and more robust across the board.

I'm considering adding code to mach or the build system that prompts the user when her Mercurial is out of date (since an out of date Mercurial can result in a sub-par user experience).

Parallelize reftests

Nathan Froyd is leading an effort to parallelize reftest execution. If he pulls this off, it could shave hours off of the total automation load per checkin. Go Nathan!

Overhaul of MozillaBuild in the works

I am mentoring a pair of interns this summer. I'm still working out the final set of goals, but I'm keen to have one of them overhaul the MozillaBuild Windows development environment. Cross your fingers.