Posts Tagged ‘Mozilla’

Friday, March 12th 2010

Why the Delay, Mozilla?

Apparently, Mozilla hasn’t offered Firefox 3.5 users an upgrade to 3.6 until now. Why did it take so long? 3.6 was released almost two months ago.

Tuesday, February 9th 2010

Some Great Firefox Extensions

I have been meaning to write this post for a while now. I have found a few new favourite extensions for Firefox. Mainly they help me make the most of the space on my screen.

Here’s what my screen looks like right now:

Screenshot showing Firefox with Hide Caption Titlebar Plus and Tabs On Top

  • Download Statusbar cures one slight annoyance with Firefox. Instead of opening the Download Manager whenever I save something from the web, the Download Statusbar will appear at the bottom of the screen. Kind-of the same thinking as with the neat Find bar that Firefox has. You can make it hide automatically when you’ve opened your downloaded files too.
  • Hide Caption Titlebar Plus lets you get rid of the titlebar at the top of the window. As you might have guessed. This gives you more space for web pages. Works really well with the next extension.
  • Tabs On Top puts Firefox’s tabs at the top of the window. Used together with Hide Caption Titlebar Plus above, this makes them easier to target with the mouse.
  • Link Target Display is another great extensions which indirectly increases the space left over for web pages. With this extension, you can hide the status bar, and still get to see the URLs that links point to.

Hope you find these useful!

Monday, December 14th 2009

Firefox 3.5 most used browser this week

This week, Firefox will most likely become the most used web browser version in the world, according to Statcounter.

Browser market share graph from Statcounter

According to Net Applications though, Firefox 3.5 has a while to go before being king.

I wish Google would share their browser data. They did, way back, didn’t they?

Monday, November 9th 2009

Firefox 5 years today

Today, the 9th November, is Firefox’s 5th birthday. Firefox 1.0 was released the 9th November 2004.

Firefox 5 years birthday cake.

Photo by Christopher Blizzard.

I didn’t start blogging until December 2004 so I have no historical blog post to link to.

Back in 2004 I’d already been using Firefox since version 0.6, released in May 2003. And I’d been a fan of the Mozilla Suite for roughly 2 ½ years. (Mozilla 1.0 was released 5th June 2002.) And before that I was happily using Netscape 6 since its release in November 2000.

In 2005 I wrote a long version of how I became such a huge Firefox fan. Towards the end, thinking about the future, I wrote:

Imagine being a web developer in 2009, with almost 93% of the browser market being CSS3 compliant.

Hah, that’s a laugh. It turns out things don’t move quite that fast. Still, we’re basically rid of the IE6 plague and IE7 is heading in the same direction – down.

Here’s to another 5 years of Firefox gaining market share! In 2014 it should have at least 50 percent. IE will be a minority player.

Tonight I’m meeting Mozilla Sweden, i.e. David Tenser and Patrick Finch at the Bishop’s Arms for a … beer? Naw, a coke maybe. :)

Edit: Mozilla’s Asa Dotzler has a good blog post up.

Saturday, October 31st 2009

Firefox 3.6 beta 1

Firefox 3.6 beta 1 has just been released. Read all about it here. Get it here.

Three small improvements that I really like:

  1. When you fill out a form in a web page, the autocomplete suggestions are now ranked based on how recently and how frequently you use the different words (aka frecency).
  2. If you middle-click or Ctrl+click a link to open it in a new tab, the new tab will be created directly to the right of the current tab instead of at the far end. This makes it easier to switch to, and related tabs are kept together.
  3. Videos embedded in a page with the <video> tag can now be shown fullscreen.

Wednesday, October 28th 2009

Ubiquity – Whoa!

I just tried the Ubiquity add-on for Firefox for the first time. This thing is incredible! I just typed in weather and somehow it already knows where I am?! Almost scary!

Screenshot of Ubiquity with the weather command.

Wednesday, October 28th 2009

How Mozilla Sees the Future of the Web

Just found an extremely interesting video where Mozilla’s Aza Raskin explains how they are thinking of the future of the web.

Tuesday, June 30th 2009

Firefox 3.5 – Get It Now

Firefox 3.5 has been released today. Many improvements over 3.0. Faster, better privacy options, better standards support. Get it now.

Thursday, March 12th 2009

Firefox 3.1 beta 3: Faster but Slower

A couple of days ago I tested how good the latest unreleased browsers from Opera, Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple and Google are at running Javascript.

Today Mozilla released Firefox 3.1 beta 3. So I gave it a spin on the Sunspider and V8 Javascript benchmarks.

I was obviously expecting it to do better than beta 2 in both tests, but that didn’t quite turn out to be the case. Below are averages from three runs of each combination of browser and benchmark, using a clean Firefox profile. (Not safe mode, since that will reduce Javascript speed in beta 3!)

Edit: I just added the data from my previous test for the non-Firefox browsers, for comparison. I also made a nice new graph.

To make the two benchmarks more comparable I’ve normalized the scores (inverting the time data from Sunspider, turning it into speed). The winner of each benchmark is given 100 and the others are given relative scores.

Graph comparing Javascript performance for Mozilla Firefox 3.1 beta 2, Mozilla Firefox 3.1 beta 3, Opera 10 alpha, Internet Explorer 8 Release Candidate 1, Safari 4 beta and Chrome 1.0

And here is the raw data (averages for three runs):

Browser Sunspider
(lower is better)
V8
(higher is better)
Firefox 3.1 b2 1,737ms 133
Firefox 3.1 b3 2,150ms 201
Opera 10 a 6,188ms 137
IE 8 rc1 7,994ms 47
Safari 4 b 1,633ms 1,056
Chrome 1.0 1,761ms 1,136

That’s pretty weird stuff. Beta 3 runs the V8 benchmark 51% faster than beta 2. But it chugs through the Sunspider benchmark 19% slower. (Or taking 24% longer, if you wish … 2150/1737 = 1.238 and 1/1.238 = 1-0.192)

Does anyone happen to know why this is the case? Was this a strategic move from the Firefox developers? I mean, did they introduce this slight performance regression knowingly, intending to fix it for final release?

Friday, February 20th 2009

Good stuff

Aftonbladet, the largest online news site in Sweden, is reminding IE6 users to upgrade to something better:

Screenshot of Aftonbladet.se IE6 warning note.

This couldn’t have happened too soon. Apparently, this is a campaign that started in Norway.

Tuesday, August 26th 2008

Four ways to improve form filling in Firefox

Over at Aza Razkin’s blog a flood of discussion has been going on for a few days, on ways to improve Firefox. This post is esentially a cross-post of my reply there.

In my view, form-filling is one area that can be improved a lot. I have been trying a few extensions that aim to improve form filling on the web, but they aren’t smart enough and they require a lot of pre-configuration.

Instead, form filling in Firefox should take a few lessons from the awesomebar:

  1. Use data from forms on all visited websites to give suggestions. So if I have ever entered David Naylor into a box it will be suggested when I want to enter it (and start typing D…) on a website I never visited before.

    Using all the saved entries as suggestions will give us a problem of very/too many suggestions. This can be countered by the following improvements:

    1. Count form entries per site: When visiting Gmail, keep track of the fact that I’m entering my own user name almost every time and put it at the top of the suggested list (even before I type anything). Then stick my girlfriend as number two, etc. (Currently entries are listed in the order they were first entered, right?)

    2. Count form entries across sites: When I visit a new webshop, understand that I’m most likely to type David Naylor when I start typing D… into a form.

  2. I guess, ideally, Firefox should understand whether I’m about to type into a name box or an e-mail box and use that knowledge to bring up the relevant suggestions quicker/further up. This function would have to be implemented with non-english websites in mind though. Perhaps this could be done by learning the names/labels (?) of the boxes being submitted with certain pieces of information.

  3. When asking whether to save a password, Firefox should give the user the option to log in automatically (fill login + password and submitting) in the future.

Tuesday, August 26th 2008

Firefox 3 being pushed to users

Today is the day Firefox 3 will start being pushed as an update to users of Firefox 2. That means, very soon 20 percent of the internet population will have one of the best rendering engine around with …

  • Support for soft hyphens
  • Support for transparent colours
  • Support for colour profiles in JPEGs.
  • Good support for rounded corners on boxes

These 20 percent will also be safer than ever with the new malware filter.

Here’s the complete list of improvements.

Tuesday, June 17th 2008

Firefox 3 ute nu

Firefox 3 finns att ladda ner nu. Ladda ner före klockan 19 den 18/6 så är du med och sätter ett världsrekord.

http://www.getfirefox.com/

Saturday, May 17th 2008

Almost Firefox 3 is here!

Mozilla have just released a release candidate of Firefox 3 while us Swedes were asleep.

It’s packed full of small and large improvements that make life easier.

And here’s a tip for saving some milliseconds now and then:

When using the new cool address bar, hit Tab and then Enter to easily get to the first suggestion in the list. That’s way easier than doing Down, Enter when you’ve got your hands in typing position.

Wednesday, April 2nd 2008

Firefox 3 beta 5 is out

As the title says ^^. Get it now. Or read a review over at Mozilla links first.

Screenshot of the Firefox 3 beta 5 first load page

It’s available in an amazing 45 different languages, simultaneously! I hear Vista SP1 in Swedish will be out some time during quarter two…

There have been quite a few nice little theme tweaks since beta 4. And I believe all the memory and javascript performance improvements that the Internets have been raving about are new for beta 5 as well.

Monday, March 3rd 2008

How to define Firefox 3

Ok, so we all know Firefox 3 will be great. But what will it mean? What will it feel like?

Well it just hit me. Firefox 3 makes Firefox 2 feel like a beta. It’s not that Firefox 2 is buggy or hangs, but there are just so many things in Firefox 3 that work better, easier, faster, simpler.

I guess all the Firefox releases so far have been like that. The improvements make you wonder: Why didn’t they just do that in the first place? That might sound like criticism, but it isn’t.

Instead it’s a matter of the Firefox community and developers managing to think of more and more ways to streamline and simplify the browser for every release.

New location bar

Cropped screenshot of Firefox 3 awesome bar or location bar.

For instance, take the new location bar: When you start typing, Firefox will start listing previously visited pages that match what you’ve typed so far. It will match against URL, page title and bookmark tags. Firefox will take into account how often and how recently you visited the pages in the list and order them accordingly.

The location bar search is very soft, in other words it will find matches with the searched words in any order, and it’ll also find parts of words.

Also, the location bar will learn how you think. Sort of. If you type in “news” and then choose http://www.cnn.com/ from the list of previously visited websites, Firefox will remember that combination of search phrase and web page. The next time you type “news”, CNN will end up higher in the list, if not at the top.

Other new features

Here are a few other things that will make Firefox 3 easier to use and live with:

  • A panel in the Add-ons manager for installing addons straight from within the browser.
  • Another panel in the Add-ons manager for plugins. Makes it very easy to enable and disable plugins as you like in stead of mucking around in the installation folder.
  • Pausable downloads – great for large downloads or if you’re on a dialup connection.
  • Searchable download history.
  • Quick bookmarking – just click the star to save a bookmark! Click it twice if you want to place the bookmark in a particular place, or if you want to tag it.
  • Per-site permission settings for images, cookies, popups and addons, all accessible in a new panel in the page info window.
  • Full page zooming
  • Saved bookmark searches. Allows you to automatically sort your bookmarks into folders based on tags, location (server/URL) or visiting dates. Great for the bookmark addict.
  • New themes making Firefox 3 fit much better in Windows Vista, OS X and in Linux. I’m a little sceptical about the new XP theme though, but then it’s not actually finished yet. See Wikipedia for some fairly up to date screenshots.
  • Malware protection. In the same way Firefox 2 blocked known phishing sites, Firefox 3 will also block sites known to try installing viruses, spyware, etc on your computer.
  • New manager for controlling how your downloads are handled. Similar to the file-type handler in Windows, Firefox lets you set if you want different file types to be saved, opened by a certain program or handled by a plugin.

Speed

One major advantage of Firefox 3 over 2 is its performance. Firefox 3 is quicker and uses less memory than Firefox 2. I haven’t compared the two for speed myself, but the difference in memory usage is easy to see after a few hours of browsing.

I’ve always known Firefox was generally a quick browser, but I obviously hadn’t understood quite how fast it was. Yesterday I did a quick test of various pages in Firefox 3 and IE7. Man, this thing flies! It just sucks the pages down off the net, while IE7 sort of sits there – waiting to be served… If you want to read more about Firefox 3′s performance, see this article by Percy Cabello.

Well, I’m probably forgetting a few things now, but those are probably the main reasons to switch to Firefox 3. I’m predicting we will see a final version some time in July.

Friday, February 29th 2008

Firefox bug submitted

Today I submitted my third Mozilla bug, “Search using awesomebar locationbar doesn’t always find history entries”.

(The use of both locationbar and awesomebar is to make it easier to find using the search in bugzilla.)

Screenshot illustrating Firefox bug 420271

Here’s the description of the bug I posted to bugzilla:

When I type in a word into the location bar it doesn’t always find the relevant
history entries.

For instance, in the past 60 days (my history cutoff) I have visited the
website “Helgessons kök”, http://www.helgessons.se/. Now when I type
“helgessons” (no quotes) into the location bar I get nothing, even though it
should match both the URL and the page title.

When I do the same search in the History side-bar I *do* find the website. (Se
attached screenshot.)

I have previously submitted one bug for Thunderbird and one for Firefox.

Wednesday, February 13th 2008

Firefox 3 beta 3 is out

The third beta of the mighty Firefox 3 is out now. You know you want it.

If you don’t know you want it, read this great review at Mozilla Links.

Edit: Here’s a full list of improvements in Firefox 3 beta 3.

Tuesday, November 20th 2007

Firefox 3 beta 1 out now!

It’s here!

So what’s the big deal about Firefox 3? Well, many people who try new versions of Firefox (both version 3 and previous releases) complain that there aren’t any major new features. But that’s the thing with Firefox: It is constantly being refined and tweaked to improve your web browsing in subtle but great ways.

Here are some examples: (Copied from the official what’s new list.)

  • Easier password management: an information bar replaces the old password dialog so you can now save passwords after a successful login.
  • Simplified add-on installation: the add-ons whitelist has been removed making it possible to install extensions from third-party sites in fewer clicks.
  • Resumable downloading: users can now resume downloads after restarting the browser or resetting your network connection.
  • Full page zoom: from the View menu and via keyboard shortcuts, the new zooming feature lets you zoom in and out of entire pages, scaling the layout, text and images.
  • Save what you were doing: Firefox will prompt users to save tabs on exit.
  • Find toolbar: the Find toolbar now opens with the current selection.
  • Star button: quickly add bookmarks from the location bar with a single click; a second click lets you file and tag them.
  • Location bar & auto-complete: type the title or tag of a page in the location bar to quickly find the site you were looking for in your history; favicons, bookmark, and tag indicators help you see where results are coming from.

Firefox 3, alltogether, will be a huge improvement over Firefox 2. In my eyes there are two killer features:

  • Rendering updated to Gecko 1.9. (If that can be called a feature.)
  • Bookmarks and History combined into Places.

Once Firefox 3 has replaced most of the Firefox 2 installs (which should be sometime in april, thanks to Firefox’s sleek update feature) web designers can seriously start playing around with semi-transparent colours. Also, soft hyphens will work in all the major browsers. (Although it is rather embarrassing that Firefox is the last browser to implement &shy;.)

Places is a very nice semi-revolutionary change in Firefox 3. If you want to, you can keep using bookmarks in the same old way you always used them. But if you have lots of bookmarks, chances are you will have a go at using the new tagging feature and use the location bar for searching your bookmarks and history.

Right now though, Places doesn’t seem to work very well. The searching is slow, and sometimes doesn’t find bookmarks that I just added a couple of minutes ago. This could be because I use a nightly build of Firefox which is newer than beta 1. (Can someone tell me if this works in beta 1?)

Anyway, give it a try!

Saturday, August 25th 2007

Firefox 3 Shaping Up

A lot of nice features are being added to what will become Firefox 3. The final release will probably be out sometime in November or December.

Here are some of the many improvements that have landed recently in the Firefox code:

  • Colour management. Previously, if you saved a colour profile in a JPEG picture, only Safari would be able to interpret that information. Now Firefox will be able to as well.
  • Improved Bookmarks and History: Places. Searchable, taggable bookmarks and history. To bookmark a page, just click the star in the URL bar.
  • Plug-in manager. The add-ons manager gets a new tab for plug-ins. (Flash, Java, Acrobat Reader, etc.) Makes it easier to see which plug-ins are installed.
  • Full page zoom. Together with bicubic interpolation of images, this can be quite useful. A website can for instance have a 800 pixel wide image and display it as 400 pixels wide. Then, if you like, you can zoom in to 200% and see more detail in the picture.
  • Native audio and video support. Firefox 3 will support the new <audio> and <video> tags, which will make it much easier for website creators to include video and audio in their pages.
  • Support for soft hyphens! All scandinavian web editors say yay!

I’ve downloaded a nightly build of Minefield and it is looking pretty good, even if the Places interface needs a bit of polish IMNSHO.