Reassuring to see that @Firefox’s
datetime-local implementation is year 100,000 compliant. 😂 #Y100K
Reassuring to see that @Firefox’s
Reassuring to see that @Firefox’s
datetime-local implementation is year 100,000 compliant. 😂 #Y100K
I love Firefox, as I’ve doubtless said before. In 2005 it reached the point at which (with the right combination of add-ons) it could replace Opera as my default browser. Going mobile, I used it on my N900 (still an underrated device) back in 2010, and later I’d use it on my Android devices. I love the power, productivity, performance, and privacy Firefox helps to give me.
Enter the latest iteration of the Android version, Firefox Daylight, which came out last week.
First, the good: this latest version of Firefox for Android is fast. Blazingly fast. The privacy controls are clearer and easier to access. Having picture-in-picture mode on mobile is a nice touch, as is the new generation of tracking prevention features.
But Firefox Daylight still makes me frown. And it’s a trio of smaller things that really niggle:
In theory, I like the idea of having the address bar and its friends at the bottom of the screen where it’s more-accessible to your thumb. I’ve even tried it, independently. in years past. But it’s too much of a mental leap for me nowadays, plus it doesn’t cleanly fit into the “scroll down and the address bar disappears” user experience that’s become commonplace.
Making bottom toolbar the default was perhaps a little radical, then, but at least Mozilla provided an option to put it back at the top. But… it’s not quite right:
Even with the toolbar moved back to the top, some controls associated with it stay at the bottom. Want to open a new tab? You have to press the “tabs” button at the top of the screen, then the “plus” button at the bottom of the screen, then – probably – the address bar back at the top of the screen again! You’ve just covered two complete lengths of the screen to do something that used to require none. Not a satisfactory experience.
You’ve probably already spotted the other change to the “current tabs” view. Previously, open tabs were shown as mini previews with their titles above. Now they’re shown as tiny (sometimes absent) icon-sized previews with their titles alongside. This allows the domain name to be shown, which is nice, but not nice enough to justify reducing the instant visual recognition the previous interface provided.
It’s not even like you can fit more tabs onto a screen. The capacity is basically the same. You’re just making smaller hit targets with less recognisable graphics. Plus: previously the most-recent tabs were at the bottom (close to where your thumb is, which was the justification for making the address bar default to the bottom); now they’re at the top, further adding to the distance travelled.
I know first hand that implementing backwards-compatibility is hard, but breaking most plugins and then providing a list of nine or so popular/recommended ones that still works isn’t a great experience.
Feels a bit like this was released before it was ready.
For the time being, I’m using Fennec F-Droid as my primary mobile browser. It picks up exactly where Firefox for Android left off, and it doesn’t break my workflow. I hope to switch back to regular Firefox for Android someday, but Daylight needs “finishing” first.
Debate: Does Mozilla have more influence as a Chrome rival or ally?
“Thought: It’s time for @mozilla to get down from their philosophical ivory tower. The web is dominated by Chromium, if they really *cared* about the web they would be contributing instead of building a parallel universe that’s used by less than 5%?” He made it clear the viewpoint was his personal opinion, not Microsoft’s position.
Mozilla is indeed in a sticky situation, trying to improve the web when it comes to things like openness, privacy and new standards. That mission is harder with declining influence, though, and Firefox now accounts for 5 percent of web usage, according to analytics firm StatCounter. But without independent efforts like Firefox, and to an extent Apple’s Safari, the web will stop being an independent software foundation and become whatever Google says it is.
And plenty of people don’t like that one bit. Indeed, Mozilla defenders see the nonprofit’s mission as even more important with Chrome’s dominance.
“I couldn’t disagree with you more. It precisely *because* Chromium has such a large marketshare that is vital for Mozilla (or anyone else) to battle for diversity,” tweeted web developer Jeremy Keith in a response. “‘Building a parallel universe’? That *is* the contribution.”
I’ve been using Firefox as my main browser for a while now, and I can heartily recommend it. You should try it (and maybe talk to your relatives about it at Christmas). At this point, which browser you use no longer feels like it’s just about personal choice—it feels part of something bigger; it’s about the shape of the web we want.
Very much this. I’ve been using Firefox as my primary browser since I began (gradually) switching from Opera in 2005, but it’s never been more important than it is now that people know about and use Firefox. The rest of his post, which summarises the news I was talking about the other week and everything people have said since, is well-worth reading too.
We need a new movement: a movement of developers, influencers, and tech enthusiasts who loudly, proudly, use Firefox as their primary web browser. We use it on our desktops. We use it on our laptops. We use it on our phones. All of us test sites in it. Some of us write plugins for it. The bravest of us write code for it. But none of us, not one, takes it for granted.
Microsoft is officially giving up on an independent shared platform for the internet. By adopting Chromium, Microsoft hands over control of even more of online life to Google.
This may sound melodramatic, but it’s not. The “browser engines” — Chromium from Google and Gecko Quantum from Mozilla — are “inside baseball” pieces of software that actually determine a great deal of what each of us can do online. They determine core capabilities such as which content we as consumers can see, how secure we are when we watch content, and how much control we have over what websites and services can do to us. Microsoft’s decision gives Google more ability to single-handedly decide what possibilities are available to each one of us.
From a business point of view Microsoft’s decision may well make sense. Google is so close to almost complete control of the infrastructure of our online lives that it may not be profitable to continue to fight this. The interests of Microsoft’s shareholders may well be served by giving up on the freedom and choice that the internet once offered us. Google is a fierce competitor with highly talented employees and a monopolistic hold on unique assets. Google’s dominance across search, advertising, smartphones, and data capture creates a vastly tilted playing field that works against the rest of us.
From a social, civic and individual empowerment perspective ceding control of fundamental online infrastructure to a single company is terrible. This is why Mozilla exists. We compete with Google not because it’s a good business opportunity. We compete with Google because the health of the internet and online life depend on competition and choice. They depend on consumers being able to decide we want something better and to take action.
Will Microsoft’s decision make it harder for Firefox to prosper? It could. Making Google more powerful is risky on many fronts. And a big part of the answer depends on what the web developers and businesses who create services and websites do. If one product like Chromium has enough market share, then it becomes easier for web developers and businesses to decide not to worry if their services and sites work with anything other than Chromium. That’s what happened when Microsoft had a monopoly on browsers in the early 2000s before Firefox was released. And it could happen again.
If you care about what’s happening with online life today, take another look at Firefox. It’s radically better than it was 18 months ago — Firefox once again holds its own when it comes to speed and performance. Try Firefox as your default browser for a week and then decide. Making Firefox stronger won’t solve all the problems of online life — browsers are only one part of the equation. But if you find Firefox is a good product for you, then your use makes Firefox stronger. Your use helps web developers and businesses think beyond Chrome. And this helps Firefox and Mozilla make overall life on the internet better — more choice, more security options, more competition.
Scathing but well-deserved dig at Microsoft by Mozilla, following on from the Edge-switch-to-Chromium I’ve been going on about. Chris is right: more people should try Firefox (it’s been my general-purpose browser on desktop and mobile ever since Opera threw in the towel and joined the Chromium hivemind in 2013, and on-and-off plenty before then) – not just because it’s a great browser (and it is!) but also now because it’s important for the diversity and health of the Web.
(Reprinted in full under a creative commons license.)
When Firefox 64 arrives in December, support for RSS, the once celebrated content syndication scheme, and its sibling, Atom, will be missing.
“After considering the maintenance, performance and security costs of the feed preview and subscription features in Firefox, we’ve concluded that it is no longer sustainable to keep feed support in the core of the product,” said Gijs Kruitbosch, a software engineer who works on Firefox at Mozilla, in a blog post on Thursday.
Not a great sign, but understandable. Live Bookmarks was never strong enough to be a full-featured RSS reader, and I don’t know about you but I haven’t really made use of bookmarks for a good few years, let alone “live” bookmarks, but the media are likely to see this (as El Reg does, in the article) as another nail in the coffin of one of the best syndication mechanisms the Web ever came up with.
Investigating a possible new bug in @firefox 57: after installing the service worker, going to an uncached page on a site like adactio.com (@adactio), danq.me, or 3r.org.uk results in a “NetworkError” and the offline page, even though the connection is fine…
I’ve been playing about with the beta of Firefox 4 for a little while now, and I wanted to tell you about a feature that I thought was absolutely amazing, until it turned out that it was a bug and they “fixed” it. This feature is made possible by a handful of other new tools that are coming into Firefox in this new version:
I run with a lot of tabs open most of the time. Not so many as Ruth, but a good number. These can be divided into three major categories: those related to my work with SmartData, those related to my work with Three Rings, and those related to my freelance work and my personal websurfing. Since an early beta of Firefox 4, I discovered that I could do this:
Time to do some SmartData work? I just click the SmartData webmail app tab and there’s my e-mail, and the rest of the non-app tabs transform magically into my work-related tabs: development versions of the sites I’m working on, relevant APIs, and so on. Time to clock off for lunch? I click on the personal webmail tab, look at my e-mail, and magically all of the other tabs are my personal ones – my RSS feeds, the forum threads I’m following, and so on. Doing some Three Rings work in the evening? I can click the Three Rings webmail tab and check my mail, and simultaneously the browser presents me with the Three Rings related tabs I was working on last, too. It was fabulous.
The other day, Firefox 4 beta 7 was released, and this functionality didn’t work any more. Now app tabs aren’t associated with particular tab groups any longer: they’re associated with all tab groups. This means:
I’m painfully familiar about what happens when people treat a bug as a feature. Some years ago, a University Nightline were using a bug in Three Rings as a feature, and were outraged when we “fixed” it. Eventually, we had to provide a workaround so that they could continue to use the buggy behaviour that they’d come to depend upon.
So please, Mozilla – help me out here and at least make an about:config option that I can switch on to make app tabs belong to specific tab groups again (but still be always visible). It was such an awesome feature, and it saddens me that you made it by mistake.
It didn’t occur to me until somebody looked over my shoulder and commented on it, today, that I actually have an at-least slightly unusual layout for my Firefox window. I thought I’d share with you all the thinking behind the particular collection of add-ons and tweaks that go into my day-to-day web browsing:
I’m a big fan of maximising the amount of screen real estate available for browsing, minimising the chrome that surrounds it. That’s why I use the LittleFox theme. It’s not the prettiest theme around, but it’s tiny, simplistic, and works with every version of Firefox I’ve ever thrown it at. It saves space by reducing the size of icons and excess space around tabs and buttons, and it does a great job of it.
To save even more precious vertical space (and because I’m generally running at high screen resolutions, and can spare the horizontal screen space), I combine my menu bar, toolbar, address bar and search boxes into a single toolbar. You can do this by right-clicking on the menu bar and clicking “Customize…” I drop the refresh, stop, and home buttons. I never pressed refresh nor stop anyway, always using the shortcut keys (F5 or CTRL-R, and ESC, respectively), and I my homepage is about:blank. On computers running at lower screen resolutions I’ve previously used the Searchbar Autosizer add-on to tuck-away the search box when I’m not using it, but nowadays I rarely bother.
I frequently find myself with dozens of tabs open, and I loathe it when tabbed applications force me to “scroll” left and right through my tabs (I’d rather my tabs just got narrower and narrower, until only the favicon remains), so I use about:config to change the browser.tabs.tabMinWidth setting to 0, which, after you’ve restarted your browser, changes this behaviour.
In addition to the add-ons that can be seen in my status bar – ColorZilla (in the bottom-left, so not visible in the screenshot above), Adblock Plus, FireGPG, Firebug (and a few extensions), Google Reader Watcher, Greasemonkey, HTML Validator, NoScript (with noscript.firstRunRedirection set to false, to stop it’s nagging), and ShowIP, I use one further add-on to tidy up my “bookmarks toolbar”.
The Status Buttons add-on gives you the capability to drag-drop any other user interface component into the right-hand side of the status bar: I use this to move the entire contents of the Bookmarks Toolbar down into the status bar, tucked out of the way. I remove the titles from most of the bookmarks (I can identify these, my most-frequently-used sites, by their favicons), adding them only where there’d otherwise be ambiguity as to the purpose of the icon.
All of these tweaks give me a huge browsing space that works the way that I want it to. I’m a heavy user of keyboard shortcuts – I pretty much only use the mouse to click hyperlinks and the buttons in the status bar – so this kind of layout suits me very well. One of the great things about Firefox is it’s flexibility: that you can make these kinds of tweaks so easily. And hopefully if you’re a similar kind of power user you’ll take some of these tips and be able to make use of them, too.
Have you seen the latest stupidity that the Windows Internet Explorer team have come up with? Ten Grand Is Buried Here.
The idea is that they encourage you to give up whatever browser you’re using (assuming it’s not Internet Explorer 8), calling it names (like “old Firefox” if you’re using Firefox, “boring Safari” if you’re using Safari, “tarnished Chrome” if you’re using Chrome, and… “that browser” if you’re using Opera) and upgrade to Internet Explorer 8, and they’ll be giving out clues on their Twitter feed about some secret website that’ll only work in IE8 at which you can register and win $10,000AUS (yes, this is an Australian competition).
After looking at the site in Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Opera, I thought I’d give it a go in Internet Explorer 8. But it didn’t work – it mis-detected my installation of IE8 as being IE7 (no, I didn’t have Compatability Mode on).
In the end, though, I just used User Agent Switcher to make my copy of Firefox pretend to be Internet Explorer 8. Then it worked. So basically, all that I’ve learned is that Firefox does a better job of everything that Internet Explorer does, including viewing websites designed to only work in Internet Explorer. Good work, Microsoft. Have a slow clap.
Downloaded your copy of Mozilla Firefox 3 yet to help them make the world record? I’ve been using Firefox 3 since the early betas and I’ve got no qualms about recommending it wholeheartedly. The awsomebar is simply that: awesome, the speed and memory usage have become far better than the previous version, and the care and attention that have gone into the little things – like the fact that it now asks you if you want to save passwords after you’ve seen if they were correct, not before – really do make this the best web browser I’ve ever used.
Go download it already.
Bookmarked via del.icio.us: 10 Useful Firefox Extensions That Don’t Get Glamorised.