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simple content manager for Fx4 home page snippets
Python JavaScript
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about:home Snippets Server v0.1

Firefox 4 has space for snippets of content on about:home - this is a content management app to serve and manage those snippets.

See also:


  • Make sure you have at least Python 2.5
    • I'm using Python 2.6.5 from MacPorts, for what it's worth.
  • Get the source code:
    • git clone git://
    • cd home-snippets-server
  • Acquire python library dependencies, using either of these methods
    • Use the vendor library (closer to Mozilla production):
      • git clone git:// vendor
    • Use pip and virtualenv (more bleeding edge):
      • virtualenv --no-site-packages env
      • ./env/activate
      • pip install -r requirements/dev.txt
  • Prepare a file:
    • cp
    • Local config tweaks go here, though existing defaults may be sufficient to start hacking.
  • Set up and run the project

    • Quick and dirty development
      • Use a sqlite DB in your file
      • python syncdb
    • Using MySQL and Schematic migrations (closer to Mozilla production)
      • Use the vendor library as described earlier.
      • Set up a MySQL database using migrations/000-base.sql
      • Configure your to use the MySQL database
      • ./vendor/src/schematic/schematic migrations
      • Repeat the previous step whenever code is updated
      • Be sure to create numbered SQL migration files under migration/ whenever you need to change the database.
      • IMPORTANT:
        • The migrations include an initial admin user account:
          • username: admin
          • password: admin
        • You should log in using this account ASAP and change the password.
    • python runserver
  • Running tests

    • python test homesnippets
      • This runs everything, with minimal verbosity
    • python test homesnippets -lnose.homesnippets -a\!TODO
      • This skips tests that may intentionally fail because they represent in-progress features.

Switch about:home to another server

Install and use this addon:

This will allow you to change the server used by about:home, and to force a refresh. Usually this page only checks for content once per day, but the addon will cause another check immediately.


  • Follow the steps for development, but use the vendor library and use Schematic migrations.
  • Also, check out rather than the -dev version.
  • Configure your web server to serve up static assets, which are only served by Django in development.

Static assets

For Apache, something like this should do (adjust paths to suit your installation):

Alias /site_media/ /www/
<Directory /www/>
    Options -ExecCGI
Alias /media/ /www/
<Directory /www/>
    Options -ExecCGI

Useful settings, if you need to change the locations from which these assets are served (eg. to a CDN or other host)

  • MEDIA_URL = '/site_media/'
    • May be an absolute URL
  • MEDIA_ROOT = os.path.join(PROJECT_ROOT, 'site_media')
    • Absolute file path to location of site_media
  • ADMIN_MEDIA_PREFIX = '/media/'
    • May be an absolute URL
  • ADMIN_MEDIA_ROOT = os.path.join(PROJECT_ROOT, 'vendor/packages/Django/django/contrib/admin/media')
    • Absolute file path to location of vendor/packages/Django/django/contrib/admin/media
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