Mozilla 1.2 Beta Released

Wednesday October 16th, 2002

Mozilla 1.2 Beta is here! With this latest release come new features like link prefetching, viewing toolbars as text/images/both, GTK theme for Linux Mozilla (when in the classic theme), filter after the fact and filter logging in Mozilla Mail, bookmark groups as start page, and much, much more. Along with the new features come many stability and performance improvements and new code for yet to be enabled features like XFT font support. Check out the Release Notes for more details and a list of known issues. As usual, builds are available from's web site or FTP server.

#51 UI polish....

by macpeep

Thursday October 17th, 2002 2:03 PM

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No big deal one way or the other but what I don't like is how stuff like this gets checked in even though it causes obvious visual bugs in the UI. Under modern, there is now no spacing under the URL bar and throbber, which causes the navigation toolbar to be vertically mis-aligned.

The browser is starting to be very nice now and I've finally switched from IE 6 to Mozilla as my primary browser. There are still a lot of small quirks though. Sometimes when you click on a link and then just as it starts loading and displaying you click back, you end up somewhere that isn't where you were a moment ago but further back in the history. Also, sometimes the back button is disabled when you arrive at a page after clicking on a link.

Other weirdness includes stuff like some HTML generated from DocBook with XSL displaying wrong for no good reason at all. Some nested structures just start going wrong after a certain depth or certain amount of elements. The files validate correctly and hand-checking them and simplfying also shows that there's no logical reason to why they would fail to render right at the point that they do. IE displays the stuff correctly. But all in all, the browser is very stable. Still not a single crash for me for Mozilla 1.1 after two weeks of use as the primary browser on three separate machines (all with Windows 2000).

Some UI quality issues still remain.. The progress bar in the classic theme is very obviously misaligned, the borders around various widgets in the Mail & News app are extremely inconsistent. It's hard to find two tree widgets that would have the same borders, in fact! In the Mozilla help window, there are column headers for some of the trees even though there's no title in the column. Clicking on it once reverses the sort order. Clicking on it twice hides it and there's no way of getting it back. What's up with that?!

In Mail & News, the Get Msgs button is *STILL* disabled until you press the folder or thread pane.

These kinds of issues are still keeping me from wanting to switch from Netscape 4.8 to Mozilla for email.. I don't really understand why these kinds of relatively simple issues haven't been fixed yet. Some of these have been in there - and very obvious and in-your-face for quite some time now. Perhaps there should be a period of, say, a month, with polish issues getting a very high priority. Make sure all status bar are the same height, all widgets align, all borders are consistent and correct, pressing "delete" works in all trees as expected etc. Also, whenever there's a UI change, not only should the code be reviewed but also the impact on the UI. Many of these issues shold not have made it into the application in the first place. Just look at some of the dialogs! The errors are really clear and glaring! It looks like placeholder layouts just stuck around..

I would love to fix a lot of these issues myself but I really don't have the time to learn XUL, CSS and the Mozilla UI architecture (layout of files in directories, overlays, etc.) to the level that would be required. The application itself is now very solid, IMHO. Rendering speed is excellent and performance in general is quite acceptable and good, even on slower systems like my 550MHz Celeron laptop. Stability is *at least* on par with IE, at least for Mozilla 1.1 which I've been using lately. But the UI is still very poor quality in many areas, perhaps most of all in Mail & News. This is very unfortunate because it gives a much worse picture of Mozilla than is warranted.