Archive for the ‘Mozilla Firefox’ Category

Monday, August 7th 2006

Commercial Website Using -moz-border-radius

I’ve just noticed that Prisjakt.nu, a commercial Swedish website, is using -moz-border-radius to make their design look a little more 21st century. That’s the first time I’ve seen that on a major website.

Screenshot of prisjakt.nu

However, it doesn’t look like they’re using the to-be-standardized border-radius… But then again, I guess that doesn’t have any effect in any browser as of today… Or does Safari understand border-radius?

The website is similar to Froogle et al.; it compares prices from different shops for whatever product you may be interested in.

Monday, July 31st 2006

Recent and Upcoming Improvements to Firefox 2 betas

There have been some great improvements to the Firefox 2 Beta nightlies lately. I’ve already told you about the improvement made to the tab overflow solution.

Yesterday the keyword handling was improved. Previously, if you typed some keywords into the URL-bar, Firefox would do a Google “I’m feeling lucky” search. Now it will do a Google “Browse By Name” search, which means that if there isn’t a clear top match, you will get to the Google search results instead. This is a great example of a good feature which just works without getting in the way.

They’ve also added a keyboard shortcut for “Undo Close Tab”, Ctrl+Shift+T. This was necessary, since that functionality previously wasn’t reachable if you had closed all tabs but one. (You had to open a new tab, and then right-click the tab area.) However, I can’t see that the keyboard shortcut is listed anywhere… It has to be if people are to find out about it. I also just realized there is a list of recently closed tabs on the History menu, which is very usable.

Another improvement, which it seems I can’t verify, is that the textbox spell checking now shouldn’t underline URLs. While writing this post, though, Firefox still seems to be doing just that.

Then, of course, there is the yet-to-come Visual Refresh, which you already know about.

The Options window is getting a makeover (again), to improve the categorization, and to better include the new options for Anti-Phishing. For instance, the Tabs tab has been moved to position 2, since it deals with one of Firefox’s main features. The networking options has been moved to Advanced, and the download location selector has been moved to tab number 1, named Main (previously General). Also, many prefs are renamed with easier-to-understand labels.

A small detail to finish off with: The close button has been removed if there is only one tab open (and you have chosen to not hide the tab bar).

As I’ve already said, many times: Firefox 2 will be a very nice update from 1.5!

Saturday, July 22nd 2006

Firefox 2 Tab Overflow Revised

The planned method of handling tab overflows in Firefox has been revised. Until now, the Firefox nightlies have had scroll buttons which have appeared at both ends of the tab bar. Those of us who have tried them know that they aren’t exactly wonderful to use…

Anyway – now the Firefox devs have thought up a better method of dealing with too many tabs. Instead of the scroll buttons, it seems like Firefox is getting a drop-down button at the right end of the tab bar, with a list of all open tabs. The tabs which are currently visible are meant to be highlighted in some way. Here’s a screenshot for you:

For the full details and developments on this feature, see bug 343251. It also seems like IE7 has a very similar solution.

Wednesday, July 12th 2006

Firefox 2 Visual Refresh

How on earth has this slipped by without me noticing? Firefox 2 is apparently getting a fairly serious visual polish (for beta 2). The whole browser interface will look more modern, and will fit in better with Windows Vista, as well as the other OSes. See more at the Firefox 2 wiki.

Firefox 2 will be getting quite a few other new features, too. I’ve covered some of them previously, but not all. Other changes in Firefox 2 beta 1 compared to version 1.5 are…

  • Session restore. After a crash, Firefox will open the pages you had open before the crash.
  • Undo Close Tab. Sits in the context menu (right-click menu) of the tab bar. However, there doesn’t seem to be any way of accessing this if there is only one tab open.
  • Tab Overflow Scroll Buttons. If there are too many open tabs, scroll buttons appear at the left and right end of the tab bar. In the nightlies a few days ago, this feature was very annoying because the scroll buttons appeared if there were no more than about eight tabs. Now it has been adjusted – I can open 20 tabs without them appearing, which is a much better limit.

More info at the Mozilla Dev Blog and at Mozilla Links.

Monday, May 15th 2006

Alpha 2 of Bon Echo, aka Firefox 2

The latest alpha of what is to become Firefox 2 is out. Mozillalinks has a great review of it, covering all the new features.

Writing this, I’m using one of the new features – spell check for text-boxes. It works great! This is a feature I will have a lot of use for, since I often post to forums and comment on blogs… Thank you Mozilla!

Another feature I love is the integration with online feed readers, such as Google Reader. I can set the feed handler in Firefox to automatically open feeds in Google Reader when I click an RSS link, or the RSS button in the location bar.

Of course, the new search engine manager is a welcome addition. The lack of this feature was one of the major drawbacks of earlier versions if you ask me.

The safebrowsing feature (phishing protection) which is intended to be added for Firefox 2, hasn’t yet been implemented. It will be in alpha 3.

All in all, I’m really looking forward to the final release of Firefox 2, hopefully sometime in august or september. (That’s just my guess.)

Friday, May 5th 2006

Another Great Firefox Flick

Found another great Firefox Flick. This one is teh funni3!

Thursday, May 4th 2006

Doodle Classic for Firefox Out Now!

Ogirtd has done it again! For all of those who have been missing the Doodle Classic theme for Firefox – cry no more! Get it right here.

Tuesday, April 18th 2006

Great Firefox Flicks Out Today

A whole bunch of new Firefox Flicks released today. Here are my favourites so far:

Just love the look on his face… 🙂

Professional, serious, usable.

Best touch, visual style. Has a subtle twist.

Kind-of funny, well-made and usable.

Wednesday, March 29th 2006

Larger Photos at My Web Gallery

I’ve been thinking for a long time that I should increase the size of the photos on display at my web gallery. So, a few days back I went ahead and did a whole lot of batch resizing of the originals using Photoshop. (Having tired of the Gimp and it’s useless UI…) The photos should fit 1280×1024 screens perfectly. Any smaller sizes will have to scroll to see the full photos, or perhas hit F11 for fullscreen mode.

View from Fiskebäckskil.

I also removed the (evil, 90’s-esque) javascript popup links for the larger view of the photos. Instead they open in the same window now, with a link back to the gallery. Much more user-friendly, especially for Firefox users. Not to mention search-engine friendly.

Långe Jan, at the southern tip of Öland.

I’ve noticed that some photos now have severe jpeg artifacts. My local copies look fine, so something must be going wrong when I upload them. Has anyone got any of idea what might be causing these strange artifacts? I use FileZilla, set to automatically detect binary/ASCII files.

Saturday, March 25th 2006

Doodle is Back!

My old theme Doodle has been updated by ogirtd. He’s done some great work to make it work with Firefox 1.5. Go and get it over at addons.mozilla.org.

Doodle for Firefox

Saturday, March 18th 2006

Doodle is Back!

Thanks to ogirtd (of whom I know very little) the Doodle theme has now been updated for Firefox 1.5! Thanks again, ogirtd!

Sunday, March 5th 2006

Major Firefox 2 News

It looks like Firefox 2 may be getting an anti-phishing feature based on Googles Safe Browsing extension.

While it’s not yet certain that this feature will make it into Firefox 2 (as I read it anyway), it seems to have become just a little bit more likely. The Firefox 2 Feature Draft Plan has the anti-phishing feature listed as a class 3 priority. I don’t know if the current events change that, but… Anyone in the know… er … who knows?

Monday, February 27th 2006

Firefox on Steroids

Some guy has successfully installed 100 Firefox extensions. A nice test of Firefox’s extension mechanism. Turned out it was pretty stable…

Monday, February 20th 2006

See-Through CSS Colours in Firefox 3

The bug for rgba and hsla css colours has just been fixed on the Firefox trunk. That means it will be released with Firefox 3, in about a years time.

Can’t wait till we can start playing around with semi-transparent colours… Also, the hsl colour model is very nice – making it possible to think in hue, saturation and lightness when choosing colours. Very nice 🙂

It’s just a shame that Firefox 3 is so far away.

Edit: Fixed an error. (Had written brightness instead of lightness.)

Wednesday, February 15th 2006

Large Swedish News Site Uses Firefox RSS Icon

Svenska Dagbladet, or SvD for short, are using Firefox’s RSS icon on their website:

Svenska Dagbladet RSS icon

Actually, come to think of it, this is the IE7 version of the icon. Typical. At least to me, they don’t look 100% identical. The Firefox version stands out more – the IE7 one looks flatter.

Tuesday, February 7th 2006

Opera 9, Technical Preview 2

This is not a full review of Opera 9 (TP2). Just a little pointer to a few things I like about it, things I think Firefox should have too. 🙂 Alright, alright, Opera fans, it’s all about copying features.

  • Autoscrolling is much slower in Opera than in Firefox. That’s great, since it means that you can actually set it to scroll the text slowly enough for you to be able to read it. (This may not be new to Opera 9.)
  • BitTorrent support. A great and logical addition to the web browser. Non-geeky people shouldn’t need to worry about separate BitTorrent software, they should just be able to click a bittorrent link and have it download the file there and then. Just like we don’t (usually) use separate software to handle our normal ftp/http downloads. Azureus and other BitTorrent clients will be around for those of us who like to fiddle around with settings and/or are serious file sharers. For instance, I’ve got four episodes of the CommandN tech show being uploaded in Azureus right now. I like to have full control over what happens with my torrents, and having something constantly on the task bar (like I would have were I using Opera instead) is not an option. I guess what I’m trying to say is that having built-in, simple BitTorrent support is in line with the philosophy of Firefox.
  • New keyboard shortcuts. I’m not sure, but I think Ctrl+L for the location bar is new for Opera 9. I know Ctrl+T for new tab (not page, as in Opera 8) and Ctrl+N for new page are new for Opera 9. It must have hurt Opera to make that change, but I think it was the best thing to do in the long run, seeing that both Firefox and IE7 are using those combinations.
  • The Tab Preview feature is definately nice. But I think it would be even nicer (cleaner) without the information displayed to the right of the (anti-aliased) thumbnail:

Opera 9 Tab Preview feature

The title is visible at the top of the tab, and the other informations doesn’t feel essential enough to outweigh the clutter it creates. I doubt that this is something that should be in the default Firefox install though.

The improved content blocking à la adblock initially seems to work fine. Does anyone know how it remembers what to block? If a different ad is displayed in the position where I blocked an ad a few days ago, will that also be blocked? If not, this is useless. If it is, this is useful. Adblock still has a slight edge on Opera though, with the ability to import a ready-made filter. Also, Opera doesn’t seem to be able to block Google Ads, should you wish to do so.

As for the widgets, I’m not entirely convinced of their usefullness. At least the widgets available now seem to be of limited value. Maybe the possibilities go far beyond the present ones. I get a feeling this whole widget thing is a bit overrated – a fad or a craze if you like.

All in all, Opera 9 looks very promising. I almost thought Wow! and This is something I could use permanently!. But I just can’t get used to the behaviour of Ctrl+Tab. I want it to be instant, as in Firefox. Not a big issue, but I just can’t quite get used to it.

Edit: Fixed a typo in the title.

Tuesday, February 7th 2006

Adobe Acrobat Reader Rant

After having stuck with Acrobat Reader 5.0 (the golden version in my eyes) I decided to try to update to version 7. Version 7 is supposedly faster than version 6, which was a real nightmare. You know: you’re out surfing, click a link, and then boom! You’ve just suffered the PDF death. Your computer grinds to a near standstill while Acrobat starts to load. The time it takes you’d think it were a 3D CAD application or something.

Anyway. My first thing to rant about when it comes to version 7 is the download website. It’s really slow. I mean, really slow. You start wondering if you’ve lost your Internet connection. Then, when you finally get the file you want, it turns out to be one of those silly little things that in turn downloads the real installer data, 25 odd megabytes of it, in this case. That means that you can’t simply burn it to a CD for when you’re fixing up your friends’ and family’s computers. Also, that setup is pretty annoying when something goes wrong with the installation and you have to reinstall…

That happens to be what happened to me. Admittedly, I had used Acrobat Reader SpeedUp on my previous installation, but I believe the Acrobat installer should be able to handle a few disabled plugins. So, I had to download the whole thing again, making me loose more work time. The whole thing made me so annoyed I had to blog about it, making me waste even more time on this non-essential issue. 🙂

Seriously though, stub installers (I believe that’s what they’re called?) offer no benefit to the user. Quite the opposite in fact. Especially when you have to click your way through the ususal OS/OS version/Language menus to get the thing. (It’d be a slightly different matter if there were only one stub installer, served to you immediately, which then handled those options.)

No, stub installers only exist because (I presume) they make it easier for the company distributing the software. Well, the software companies should start thinking a little more about their users.

The vast number of light-weight PDF readers that are popping up all over the place are doing so for a reason. People want small, quick and simple software! Sadly, I haven’t yet found one (for Windows) that works 100%. Foxit, for instance, had a slight display issue:

Foxit Display Bug

Those red blobs are supposed to be round, and Adobe Reader (as they apparently call it these days) displays them correctly, so there’s presumably nothing wrong with the PDF.

If anyone knows of a good, solid (& free!) light-weight PDF viewer (with Firefox support), please let me know!

Monday, February 6th 2006

Ben Goodger Writes on Firefox History

Ben Goodger has written an interesting article about what happened before Firefox, and what led a few developers to basically scrap the whole UI of Mozilla and start again.

I didn’t know (until now) about the serious conflicts between Mozilla engineers and Netscape leadership over user interface. This was back before Mozilla Foundation was created.

The following bit was also interesting:

There was and remains much resentment towards Firefox and its development model. At its creation, there was much shouting about how the many were not always smarter than the few, the merits of small development teams with strong centralized direction, the need to adhere strictly to Mozilla’s module ownership policy. In practice, these statements resulted in effectively locking everyone but the Firefox team out of the Firefox source code. We railed against the inefficiencies of past UIs. We were unnecessarily harsh, and polarized opinions. We had been badly wounded by the Netscape experience and the disorganization that had followed. I don’t think a lot of people understood that. It wasn’t something we could easily communicate.

I remember there being a clear division between Suite devs and Firefox devs, when I was hanging at MozillaZine. I knew that the division was because of the tight control that the Firefox leads maintained, but I didn’t know the underlying reasons behind that tight control – other than wanting to optimize the user experience.

Since they had worked on a browser that looked like this…

Screenshot of Mozilla M17

…their concerns were understandable.

Tuesday, January 31st 2006

IE7 Beta 2 (Preview) Released

I just noticed that IE7 beta 2 has been released. Sounds like the IE team know their stuff. It has (almost) everything that I love about Firefox. The only things I can think of are…

  • Less standards support. Did anyone say SVG?
  • Extensions, extensions, extensions

However, even if IE7 were just as good as Firefox on every point, or even slightly better, I would still stay loyal to Firefox. Simply because Firefox gave me this perfect mix of simplicity and features way before anyone else did. Why walk out on the guy that saved you, just because the guy who left you out in the cold for four years says he’s going to be good again?

If I only could get SP2 to work properly on my computer I would install IE7 in order to test this site and others. Since SP2 had a habit of drawing random turquoise lines across my screen, I won’t be doing that. So I’d like to ask anyone reading this in IE7 to report back to me about how things look. This is what things should look like:

Screenshot of what my blog should look like.

Thursday, December 22nd 2005

MSNBC Has a Great Firefox Article

MSNBC has published a great review of Firefox 1.5. It raises a few good points:

  • It [Firefox 1.5] incorporates useful improvements without forcing users to learn anything new.
  • The users more likely to stumble across a malicious site are often least likely to remember to install security updates that would protect them from the bad site’s break-in attempts.
  • If security issues lead people to Firefox, tabbed browsing tends to keep them there.
  • Firefox 1.5 makes only two changes to its implementation of this concept [tabs], both unobtrusive but helpful.

It also talks about a few of Firefox 1.5’s weaknesses.

  • And you can’t easily remove search engines from the list of shortcuts in Firefox’s search bar.
  • You can’t ask it to tell you what sites you visit most or least often or at particular times of the day.

I know* at least those two issues will be fixed in Firefox 2.0.

They also claim that Firefox’s bookmarks managing system is no good. Not sure that I agree with them there. It maybe isn’t optimal yet, but it sure is lightyears better than IE’s and at least as good as any of the other bookmark managers out there.

*) Based on the Firefox 2.0 Product Plan Draft.