Resume - Robert Helmer
Major contributions to Open Source Software
- Professional Experience
- Senior Staff Engineer- Mozilla Corporation https://mozilla.com
Duration: 06/2015 to present, Full-time
Lead client engineer for Experiments program.
Integrated the privacy-preserving Telemetry system Prio with
- Prio allows for the collection and aggregate reporting of sensitive, possibly personally identifiable
data, without the receiving party being able to identify the data of any particular user.
- Started, contributed to, and conducted reviews for, the libprio standalone project as well as
implementing the Firefox
- Launched successful pilot program to verify correctness and performance.
- Worked closely with Mozilla Telemetry teams on further integration and long-term support.
Joined Firefox TAG (Technical Architecture Group), advised
on the future of Firefox front-end.
Direct contributions to Firefox:
- Resolved hundreds of issues.
- Lead the Go Faster initiative, which allowed
for shipping Firefox features to users much more quickly, in a continuous-delivery fashion. This was
successful and lead to our more formalized Experiments program, for which I owned client engineering.
- Improved in-product pages such as
- Helped launch auto-generated Firefox
documentation, most specifically contributing to Sphinx-JS
for APIs (the Firefox front-end is entirely written in JS and is an exceptionally large project).
Directly responsible for the Add-ons/Extensions Manager in Firefox
- Fixed bugs and added features to built-in Firefox
add-ons manager, did regular triage of the open bugs, and conducted code
reviews for both staff and volunteers.
- Wrote and reviewed significant performance improvements for the Firefox Quantum release.
- Wrote and reviewed dozens of urgent "hotfix" extensions, to resolve serious problems found with
Firefox clients in the field.
- Moved built-in Firefox features (Hello, Pocket) to extensions.
- Contributed to and advised on the WebExtensions implementation.
- Prototyped backend add-ons manager component in
Rust, and front-end add-ons UI in React.
- Senior Web Developer - Mozilla
Duration: 09/2010 to 06/2015, Full-time
Returned to Mozilla to work on big data problems
around crash collection/reporting and performance test results.
- Technical lead on high-volume crash collecting and reporting system (Socorro, aka crash-stats.mozilla.com).
- Migrated Socorro to AWS from on-prem servers, with no downtime.
- Led rewrite and migration of Socorro front-end from PHP to Mozilla's standard Django-based framework
Playdoh (later moved away from Playdoh to more vanilla
- Created Eddy project for on-demand testing of FirefoxOS
third-party apps, using Python, Flask, Celery and RabbitMQ.
- Developed features and fixed bugs on Mozilla Etherpad install.
- Contributed directly to upstream Etherpad project, on JS rewrite (formerly known as Etherpad Lite).
- Worked with open-source community to integrate
contributions, support external installs, and make the testing,
documentation and installation process better.
- Re-implemented web front-end for performance graph system (demo video).
- Built working Go and Rust prototypes of key crash collection and processing components (with tests).
Previous Mozilla employment was to automate the existing build and release infrastructure which was based on random one-off machines jettisoned from AOL/Netscape, with a completely manual release process. It took about two weeks to complete a Firefox release after code completion. By the time I left, we had completely standardized and version controlled virtualized environments and toolchains, and the turnaround time for a release was 12 hours.
- VP of Technology - CustomWeather
Duration: 06/2008 to 09/2010, Full-time, 24x7 oncall
- Managed projects and worked directly with
customers to deploy custom solutions.
- Moved co-located infrastructure to hybrid cloud/colo/remote.
- Built AWS-powered distributed map tile service for weather
mapping project (also worked on frontend, which supported Bing and
- Added features and fixed bugs in Java/J2EE Tomcat
real-time weather service.
- Developed reporting system using jQuery, flot, and PostgreSQL.
- Deploy fully redundant remote datacenter.
- Drove releases, automated release process.
- Developed unit and functional tests in Python and
- Tracked and improved site performance and
- Consulting and full-time work (systems administration,
programming, devops) for companies such as Dollartee, CustomWeather,
Skeva Systems (Healthcare), Kaiser, Vectiv (Commercial Real Estate), Mozilla, and ValueStar.
- Bench test, tech/customer support for companies such as Talking Technologies Inc. and Sony.
- Fundraising and sales (cold and warm calling).
- Firefox - web browser. Mostly JS (ES6+), a moderate
amount of C++, tiny bit of Rust
- Etherpad - Software Freedom Conservancy committee member and contributor on
- Mozilla Socorro - Crash collection+processing system for
Firefox, Firefox OS, Thunderbird. Mostly Python and Django, small bit of C++
- Programming Languages
Java (J2ME/J2EE), Shell (bourne/bash/c), C, C++, Perl, PHP, Go, Rust
- Other technologies
PostgreSQL, MySQL, XML, HTML, RabbitMQ, Elastic Search, Django, Flask, git, mercurial/hg
- Domain Expertise
- Weather systems and forecasting, physical geography
- Geo-spatial / Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
- Real Estate automation