Development:Interviews:Håkan Waara

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Originally published by Ludovic Hirlimann on septembre 2, 2006 4:10 PM at

Camino Interview #3 : Håkan Waara

Ludovic Hirlimann: Could you introduce yourself , including age, place where you live, name ?

Håkan Waara: I'm Håkan Waara, 21 years old, and I currently live in Stockholm, Sweden.

HW: Right now I'm working for a grant from the Mozilla Foundation, to make Gecko more accessible on the mac.

LH: How long have you been involved with mozilla ? Camino ?

HW: I started getting curious about the Mozilla community back in 1999. I had done some REALbasic programming on the Mac, and tried to learn C/C++. In the beginning, I just filed bugs, and tried to help out with really simple bugs - mostly in the Mail/News component of Mozilla (what later became Thunderbird).

HW: I spent a lot of time learning new things, and making more patches all the way until somewhere around 2001.There were a lot of other things going on in my life, and around then there was *a lot* of controversy around the clumsy UI of Mozilla.So, most bugs that I was involved in became UI wars.

HW: I think that was one of the reasons why they then created Firefox. To be able to design more freely, thinking about the basics, from scratch.

HW: Then in November this year, I finally was able to buy a Mac again. Being without it for 5 years (having to use Windows at home) had been a learning experience, but I knew my roots. :-)

LH: Ok where you a Chimera user ?

HW: No, back then I had Windows computer only. I used a Mac until around 1999 when that old Powermac became too slow to use even for emailing.So I got this iMac around winter last year, and started getting back into programming, Mac OS, and Mozilla. One of my friends introduced me to Camino, and then I was back in business.

LH: How long have you been using computer ? What was your first computer ?

HW: I started getting into computers when my mother bought one around 1994. It was a Macintosh Performa, and I remember that one of the first things I did was to insert a 3,5" floppy disk upside down, and ruined the floppy disk drive. :)

LH: Was becoming a member of the Camino community difficult ?

HW: The first few patches I submitted were probably quite horrible. I was learning Objective-C and Cocoa basics at that point, and thought to myself that the reviewers were a bit harsh. But as always, in the end it is the best (and only!) way to learn - from your mistakes. After logging on a few times on the #camino IRC channel, I started getting familiar with all the people, and their interests in Camino.

LH: What do you think is missing in Camino ?

HW: One of my main pet peeves has been the lack of a find toolbar, similar to that of Firefox. If you search a lot on webpages, the primitive Find dialog is not of much help. Some support for routing RSS to my favorite RSS application is also needed, and I know Nick Kreeger has a patch brewing for that.

HW: One of the reasons Firefox has been such a tremendous success is because of its extensibility, where people can make extensions to hook in almost anywhere in the UI code and customize it. I think in order to compete with Safari on the mac, something radical like that would be needed for Camino.

HW: TextMate is another example where extensibility has been one of the key points for success. I would love to see some way to extend Camino with bundles.

LH: Are you involved in other software projects ?

HW: I'm active in Firefox a bit, obviously. Then I've written a small plug-in to TextMate called TabMate, that will make TextMate show Mozilla code nicely, according to how the local code style is defined at the top of the file (with a modeline). I've written a few small patches to Shakespeer, and right now I'm also trying to develop a new OS X app with my friend.

LH: Ok I think I'm done with the techie side. I have one non techie question, where does your name come from ?

HW: Håkan is an old Scandinavian name. Historically, it means something like "descendant of the king". :)