[Go Faster] Intent to Ship (to Beta, and then Release): SHIELD System Add-on

Michael Kelly mkelly at mozilla.com
Thu Mar 30 22:36:58 UTC 2017

Desktop QA has given SHIELD the thumbs-up to attempt to ship a system
add-on[1]. LET'S DO THIS

Tracking bug: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1351454

# What are we shipping
Unsigned XPI:

A system add-on with equivalent powers as the current built-in
self-support. It will let us execute and target Heartbeat prompts to
users based on their channel, locale, version, etc.
When installed, the add-on disables self-repair. See the Concepts[2]
documentation for an overview of the system if you're not familiar.

The only new functionality for this release is the ability to target
users based on the contents of their most recent telemetry pings. Like
all of our filtering, this happens client-side and we don't get any
identifying information beyond normal web requests. See the Filter
Expressions[3] documentation for more info.

While functionally equivalent, there's several changes in the
implementation, including use of a proper sandbox, peer approval of
changes going out, signing for code and data fetched from the API, etc.

# Train status?
An older version of the add-on is landed and active on Nightly and
Aurora, and disabled on Beta and Release. Along with shipping this
update, we are planning to land and request uplift to Aurora 54 the
fixes from the QA review, and then re-enable the built-in version on
Beta and Release.

# QA Approval
We've been working with Softvision to test our add-on in Aurora, and
will be relying on the same team to test the add-on in the Beta test
channel before actually shipping to Beta.

# User impact / risk
There's no major user risk to not shipping this, but there is a high
risk to ongoing SHIELD initiatives which will rely on having a system
add-on in use, including:

- Opt-out SHIELD studies
- Quantum Preference Experiments
- Preference hotfixes

I guess indirectly that risks several user features that will rely on
SHIELD for validation and, in the future, staged deployment.

# Timeline
My hopeful timeline:

By April 4th: Ship the add-on to Beta
By April 10th: Verifying results of a test survey compared against a
pre-system-addon survey to verify behavior.
By April 11th: Ship the add-on to Release

# Targeting
Plan is to target 53.0 (currently Beta), and then 52.0.3 (currently
Release) shortly after. No additional targeting.


Let me know if ya'll have any questions!
- Mike Kelly

[1] https://mail.mozilla.org/pipermail/dev-shield/2017-March/000145.html
[2] http://normandy.readthedocs.io/en/latest/dev/concepts.html
[3] http://normandy.readthedocs.io/en/latest/user/filter_expressions.html

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