about-sync addon

Mark Hammond mhammond at mozilla.com
Thu Jun 2 00:08:37 UTC 2016

Hi all,
   Thom and I have been working on an addon that gives you some insights 
into your sync account. It's still very much a WIP but it already offers 
enough value that I thought it worth sharing. It is very much targeted 
at developers more than end-users, although I can see it evolving to the 
point where we ask users reporting problems to install it to enable 
better bug reporting.


The main features:

* The ability to easily see what data is on the Sync storage servers for 
all your collections. For everything other than bookmarks this is just a 
very simple view of the server data and nothing more.

* For bookmarks we show quite a bit more data, including the server data 
represented as a tree and your local bookmarks as a tree.

* For bookmarks there is also a "bookmark validator" hooked up, so a 
whole lot of consistency issues between the server version of your 
bookmarks and the local copies are shown. Note that this only works in 
recent nightlies - it *should* degrade gracefully though (ie, the addon 
itself *probably* works on older Firefox, but the "Validation" tab will 
tell you to use a recent Nightly). Note also that we fully expect *all* 
Sync users to have a number of validation errors - most of these we now 
understand, but they still exist.

* It makes it easy to get your Sync logs as a zip file and see how many 
error logs you currently have. It also makes it easy to tweak your 
logging preferences, and even persists those preferences as you 
disconnect and reconnect the profile from Sync (otherwise, every time 
you disconnect from Sync all the logging prefs are reset)

* It has the ability to import and export your bookmark data. This data 
includes both the decrypted copy of the server data and all your local 
bookmarks. This data is *not* anonymized, so use this with caution. The 
idea here is that someone can export their data and send it to a Sync 
dev, who can import it can see what crazy state differences exist 
between the server and client versions of the data. Note also that 
"import" is a bit of a misnomer - it doesn't write that data anywhere - 
it's more "view" than "import". It currently only exports bookmarks as 
that is where the current value is (eg, it does *not* include saved 
passwords etc) - but bookmarks are still private enough that I would 
love to work out how to anonymize the data.

* It never writes anything to Sync or to your local data - it is 
read-only. There's no danger of having it screw your local bookmarks or 
your server data.

* It's written in react and is on github. It needs styling love. It 
needs someone who understands react well to first laugh at, then fix, 
some of my attempts at using react patterns.  I'll exchange pull 
requests for beer at London :)

Please file issues etc at https://github.com/mhammond/aboutsync



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