Mozilla 1.3 Alpha Released
Friday December 13th, 2002
Mozilla 1.3 Alpha is out! This release introduces shedloads of new Mail & Newsgroups features (including Bayesian spam classification, message views and improved filtering), a new Bookmarks Quick Search bar (similar to the one found in Phoenix) and support for the Back and Forward buttons on the IntelliMouse Explorer. There's also improvements to the DOM Inspector and lots of other bug fixes. However, remember that this is only an alpha release, so expect bugs.
#4 Re: More bloat
Saturday December 14th, 2002 4:40 AM
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I agree, yet don't. I too think that polish is *VERY* important and I too think that there are lots of annoying bugs that should have been fixed a long time ago. For example, I've filed lots of UI bugs that are about pretty obvious and easy things to fix. At the same time, completely new features go in. The "Get Msgs" button was completely riddled with bugs and inconsistencies and disabled itself seemingly on random every once in a while. Bugs regarding it had lots and lots of votes and long discussions, yet nobody seemed to really be bothered about it and instead, there were new mail features like views and "Bayesian filters" and "filter after the fact" that landed. Now don't get me wrong. I understand very well that I'm in no position to demand anything from anyone. And I'm not. People will work on whatever they feel like. I'm just expressing my regret that new features are being worked on while the old ones aren't polished yet.
For example, select the Classic theme on a Windows box and open the mail composer window in 1.3a. Notice how the addressing buttons (To/Cc/Bcc/Reply-To/etc.) look weird. Apparently something went wrong when native theming were enabled and the addressing button suffered to the point where it now looks completely twisted. Now click on the "Address" button on the toolbar in the composer window. Up pops a "Select Addresses" window. Checkout the borders around the big tree widget on the center-left in the dialog. Moving on, close the select addresses window and open up the Security window instead. Notice how the tree column headers are seperated by several pixels from the top of the tree. Also notice how the labels in the column headers have colons in them. There's "Recipient:" when there should just be "Recipient" etc.
In Mozilla Help, click on the "Index" tab on the sidebar. See how there's a narrow Column header above the index? Click on the column header. It reverses the sort order. Now click on it again. Instead of reversing the sort order, the column dissapears. It's been like that forever.
In the Address Book, after native theming was enabled, the borders between the three panes in the window have had really thick borders in the Classic theme, and so on.
Now what I'm wondering is how did these kinds of things go un-noticed? For the most part, these aren't hard to fix issues either, but they are totally in your face. Why aren't these "oops, that new feature made some highly visible collateral damage"-issues repaired before starting to work on new features?
And that's just the UI. There are similar polish issues for functionality too. For example, when a filter moves an email to the Trash folder, the folder appears with bold font in the folder tree in the left pane of the main Mail window. In other words, it's suggesting that there are some undread emails there. However, deleting the email shouldn't cause that to happen. It should also be considered read. And in fact, it IS considered read, but the tree only picks up on it after you enter the folder by clicking on it and then click on some other folder. Only after that does it go back to not being with a bold font.
Enough ranting.. I guess I just think it's sad that old features and the UI aren't being polished. I would love to work on these issues myself but I simply don't have time due to my own job. My involvement is thus limited to testing, bug reports and the occational rant on MozillaZine. I hope people take this as it was meant: as feedback and not as an insult to anyone.