Mostly Moz news

Always interesting to have the Semipermanent Floating RSS Argument stop by for a visit. Highlights from this trip by included the GAOF Pro Tempore cooking up his funky chips, and a visit from the always-delightful Michael Bernstein. Since I throw off twenty or thirty allusions like that every day, and have someone catch the context, um, never, it’s that much better when someone does. Sometimes, I really do love the internet.

In Mozilla news, Mozilla 1.4 RC 2 is out, mostly notable to me as a step on the path to 1.5, when Firebird and Thunderbird take their rightful places as the main products.

More personally significant, LiveHTTPHeaders 0.6 is out, with a fix for the “crash with Tabbrowser Extensions in single window mode” bug. The fix puts the LiveHTTPHeaders menu item below the Options item, which is a bit funky, but quite tolerable compared to doing without either one. But I have to say that my totally uneducated guess is that TBE is probably at fault, what with the way that it’s doing so much, and LiveHTTPHeaders is just trying to insertAfter like any other extension. Don’t know yet whether I’m sharp enough (or committed enough) to hack at extension, but I’m getting more tempted all the time to try doing my own version of TBE, splitting off the parts I use into probably three separate focused extensions.

The 2003-06-17 Thunderbird build includes support for extensions. Wonderful! Extensions do two things for you: if there’s an extension to do that one thing that you would kill to have a program do, then suddenly Fire/Thunderbird goes from being something sort of interesting to being something you can’t live without, and the existence and incredible power of extensions (I was poking around in just what you can do with the XPInstall API, which is slicker and more powerful than some standalone Windows installers I’ve used) means that the owner(s) of the program itself can say “No. If you and three hundred other people want it, do it in an extension.” rather than adding ten prefs and three menu items for every idea anyone has ever had.

Also currently rocking my Flattened Firebird world: the Download Statusbar extension puts downloads in a second statusbar at the bottom of the window, rather than using separate dialogs or a sidebar. Start a download or two (at the moment I’m 55% of the way through the new Thunderbird), and when you notice that the progress bar has finally made it clear across, double-click to launch it. It does several other nice things, but just those two are enough to put it in my must-have list.


Comment by Roger Benningfield #
2003-06-19 05:24:19

Phil: ”suddenly Fire/Thunderbird goes from being something sort of interesting to being something you can’t live without”

I was waffling between Firebird and NetCaptor as my primary browser… I rely on IE’s WYSIWYG editing support, which made NetCaptor a contender. Until I found the Googlebar extension for Firebird.

Firebird = easy Googling
NetCaptor = no such luck

That pretty much sealed it. I’d rather just launch plain ol’ IE to do the occasional edit job and rely on Firebird for general browsing. I’ve always enjoyed hating Mozilla, but I guess my fun is over.

Comment by KafkaesquĆ­ #
2003-06-19 06:52:28

Quote of the week!

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-06-19 07:21:10

And that’s exactly my point about extensions in a nutshell: the only thing I want out of a Googlebar is the one thing the extension can’t give me, a PageRank display. As for search, if I want the results I type ”google keyword1 keyword2” in the address bar, and if I’m Feeling Lucky (or forgetful, or know what’s number one) I just type ”keyword1 keyword2” in the address bar. I can’t imagine wanting to give up an entire toolbar of prime location for search, and I’d be annoyed by a browser that did. Luckily, there’s a browser that’s perfect for each of us, and they’re both Firebird.

(You don’t have to stop hating Mozilla, beautiful though that line is: I hate the Bloated Application Suite with at least 20% of my hatred for IE, fluctuating based on how long it’s been since I last had to start IE.)

Comment by Manda #
2003-10-22 04:38:25

I haven’t tried Firebird (yet), but I don’t understand how using Google in NetCaptor can be called less than easy. With QuickSearch you just type ”g ”. Piece of cake. I use gn for Google News searches, gg for Google Groups, gi for Google Images. The possibilities are endless.

Comment by pete #
2003-06-20 00:48:11

i’ve never really understood why people say mozilla is bloated. if the installer made you install everything then yes, i would agree but it doesn’t. i’ve been installing just the browser component since… well a while now (i started around 0.8 and i can’t remember what options were available on install then).

maybe my understanding of the word ’bloat’ is different from everybody elses? yes gecko *is* bloated, the devs finally admitting that it contains a lot of unneeded code but thats not what people seem to think of when complaining of mozilla bloat.

my favourite Firebird extenstion? Ook. having your bookmarks a right click away is great. i use the context menu for all my navigation as well.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-06-20 07:39:52

Yeah, bloat isn’t a very precise way of describing it: most people think you mean that the size of the downloaded file is too big. I object more to all the menus and toolbars and ten thousand prefs (not in about:config so much, where I’d rather have ten thousand if it gives me one for something I want to change, but in the UI). Even if it’s possible to avoid the chat and IM completely (seems to me last time I tried, you could not install them, but the UI would still have hooks for them), and possible to thin down the number of menus and toolbars, I’m actually having pretty good luck lately by judging a program by how clean the interface is at the start of a default install. If it’s just showing me the things I absolutely have to see, making it easy to find my way around, then I’ll see if I can find how to add more to it, but if it starts out by showing me every single thing that the programmers figured out how to add, and makes me turn them off and hide them, I’m more likely to pass.

I’m willing to object to code bloat as well, though I’m not at all qualified to judge, other than having browsed around in the code some looking for why an unescaped </noscript> in a textarea would strip attributes from tags that follow it, finding a ton of comments about ”(is this still called?)”, ”quick hack for qwkl, should be pulled by M18” and the like.

I can see where Ook would be one of those absolutely wonderful to people who like it things, but I haven’t actually tried it yet: there’ve been times when I wanted to do everything in a context menu, but at the moment I’ve got such strong conditioning that navigation happens up there at the top of the screen that my head’s halfway raised before I finish thinking that I need to go somewhere else.

Comment by Roger Benningfield #
2003-06-20 07:12:25


Last night, I spent a few minutes updating JournURL’s editing Javascript to be Mozilla-friendly, and set about posting my first batch of Firebird-only blog entries. In the aftermath, a tiny corner of my heart hates Firebird. Or at least Firebird extensions. Or maybe just the Tabbrowser extension. Just a little bit. :D

”Hey, where did that error come from? I’ve been using this app for years without seeing it.”

”Hey, why are multiple, identical posts popping up?”

Being the sort that suspects himself as the point of failure in most scenarios, I promptly began to scour the code, looking for problems. I checked the database for corruption. I scratched my head a lot, and freaked out a little. By chance, I happened to try a test post in IE. It worked fine. I didn’t notice this at first, unfortunately. About an hour later, around 1:30am, it dawned on me. I fired up Mozilla… it didn’t have a problem, either. I began to get annoyed as a possiblity crept into my mind.

I opened Firebird and disabled the Tabbrowser extension. Subsequent posts went through without a hitch. I turned the Tabbrowser back on… instant error report.

Preliminary diagnosis: To protect the user from data-loss due to a server reset or lost session, JournURL defaults to targeting _blank when posting, leaving the original textarea intact. For some reason, the TBEx sees that and sends two identical, simultaneous POSTs when it is set to open new windows in a tab.

Now sure, I should be grateful that Firebird uncovered a security hole that I thought I’d filled long ago. But that’ll have to wait until I’m done being irritated. :D

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-06-20 07:51:16

Oh, is that TBE’s fault, too? The only place I hit it is from my ”Blogroll in a popup” link, where I’ve got a whole line of thought about ”I should fix that, I shouldn’t be using a popup at all, but I’d have to rename it and what if it’s actually handy for someone as it is…” down to a half-second ”I should, nah”.

I’d love to ”borrow” the useful parts of TBE out into two or three separate slimmed down extensions, but one of the parts I really use a lot is Undo close tab, and I doubt that it’ll be an easy thing to strip out. We’ll see.

Comment by Roger Benningfield #
2003-06-23 13:23:51

It would be nice to see the thing trimmed down… there are just so many options, and honestly, several of them seem redundant. (They probably aren’t, but the descriptions make them seem to be.)

Oh well. The TBE probably did me a favor in the long run… my anti-flood code had a blindingly obvious problem, and with a few days distance, I’m thrilled that a harmless little browser extension uncovered it for me. Now that it’s fixed, I can turn the TBE back on, and the world is a nicer place. [grin]

Trackback by Jonathon Delacour #
2003-08-12 21:46:59

Thunderbird is go!

Once I discovered the wonder of UniCode, I realized that I need a new email client. For a few years I’ve been using Rimarts Becky! to send and read Japanese email. I was able to read and write Chinese in Becky! (not that I understand Chinese but I’ve d…

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