This is a story all about how my life got flipped turned upside down…..
wait what?!?! I can’t start a blog post with The Fresh Prince.
Last week, when I was still in my 20’s, I wrote a blog post about HTML5
History API needing a new event. This came about
because the LeviRoutes framework
would work better if it could understand when state had been pushed via
History.pushState. Whilst investigating pushState and adding some tests to
the LeviRoutes framework I wanted to be able to simulate an “onpopstate”
Let’s just quickly digress with a little bit about HTML DOM events. HTML
defines a rich series of events that are fired when a user clicks on
something, the page loads or….. well let’s just say there are hundreds of
events. Not only do the events get triggered when the user or system does
something, but the developer can easily simulate events.
If you want to click on a button via script. Simple:
var evt = document.createEvent("MouseEvent");
var anchor = document.getElementById(......);
evt.initMouseEvent("click", true, true, window, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, false,
false, false, false, 0, null);
Why is this programatic dispatch important? You can build individual tests
that are responsive to the events that would fire to user events without
having to build a system that tries to automate the UI by say, managing the
mouse pointer through hardware control.
Digressions aside, I was building tests that would test my HTML5 History
handling logic without me having to physically invoke a History.pushState
command. In summary, separating the physical navigation from my logic.
var evt = document.createEvent("PopStateEvent");
This should have worked. Instead all I got was:
var evt = document.createEvent("PopStateEvent");
Which if you read the Event specification
is what occurs when an Event type is not implemented. I quickly jumped
across to Firefox and tested the same code. It worked. So it must be a bug
Now, this is where my real story starts, and what I hope will demonstrate
the power of Open Source software.
I was in a bind. I could raise a bug and hope someone might pick it up at
some point in the future, or I could raise a bug and try to fix it myself.
I chose the latter. I didn’t think it would be hard – after all the Event
system is already in WebKit and PopStateEvent is already implemented, it is
only the hookup with createEvent that didn’t.
Where do you start? I started by downloading the latest WebKit code and building it. In all this process took longer
than the actual fix.
Once I had a build, I decided to create a very simple test case to prove
that it is still broken. With this in hand, I had a quick peek at the
Webkit code. Google Code search is your friend here, I just searched for
and it returned a list of important places to look.
Inspecting PopStateEvent.cpp and PopStateEvent.h, I could see that there was
a create and initPopStateEvent methods so I was pretty sure I was in the
roughly the correct place. I also knew that createEvent is on the document
object in the DOM, so I did a quick search for createEvent
and there was a file called “Document.cpp”, this looked promising. A quick
search in Document.cpp
highlighted the area where the events are created, and there was a
suspicious lack of PopStateEvent.
I quickly raised a bug, on http://bugs.webkit.org/ detailing the error with
a simple test case attached, and then went about fixing the code. Raising
the bug seemed to take longer than the fix, which amounted to adding in a
condition for the type of event, adding in a parameterless constructor and
then calling it.
Pretty quick. My own test case passed, so I had a strong indication that it
was fixed, but I knew if I submitted it without an automated test it would
probably get rejected. The problem is that I had no idea how to build the
automated tests or where to put them.
I had a quick scan through LayoutTests, and in the “fast” directory there is
an “events” directory which seemed liked the logical place to start. I
followed the examples of other tests, I created a simple test and an
“expected” results file and then gave the test runner a go. Boom! it
failed. It took a little bit of looking, I found that the results of the
test run were stored in “/tmp/layout-test-results/results.html” and it gives
you a visual diff of the actual output vs the expected – it was a single new
line character that was causing the problem.
That was me done. I created the ChangeLog and attached it to the bug, set r to ? (this was an
oddity that I had to learn about). After the first review there were a
couple of changes I needed to make. The second review indicated that I
updated the wrong ChangeLog and some other smallish issues. But after that
it was ok and submitted.
And here it is: http://trac.webkit.org/changeset/88187, it is not a complex
fix but it is one I am proud of, if all the ports include the fix then my
code will be used by the eleventy billion users of WebKit (ok – I have no
idea of the number of users, but I know it is very large number) and now I
can get on with fixing my LeviRoutes framework ;)
In my eyes, this is one of the powers of Open Source. Rather than just
report a bug and hope someone picks it up, and then wait for the next major
release of the software to see if it is fixed, I have the power to go in and
fix the problem, and if it stands up to muster I can get the solution