MozillaZine

Full Article Attached Minutes of the mozilla.org Staff Meeting of Monday 28th April 2003

Friday May 2nd, 2003

The minutes of the mozilla.org staff meeting of Monday 28th April 2003 are now online. Issues discussed include 1.4 Beta, 1.3.1, Mozilla Firebird 0.6 and 1.5 onwards.


#22 Advanced Preferences

by pkb351 <pbergsagel@shaw.ca>

Friday May 2nd, 2003 7:51 PM

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Here is a solution: There can be a simplified preferences window which would include a link to open an advanced preferences window. (This advanced window could be password protected by an administrator or a parent.) Those who do not wish to have advanced preferences do not need to use it. The default preference setting is good for some, tolerated by others and hated by others. A program is most usable when it is easily configurable by all users. I am comfortable using about:config, but I find it anything but easy to use, most of all when I am not sure what the preference is called.

I do not underrstand why some are so against allowing adavnced preferences (and I don't mean by access through about:config). Making browser preferences easier to use can only make the browser better. If there is a preference which may screw up the browseror cause a user major grief if the user does not know what they are doing, then leave it out and very advanced users needing that preference can go to about:config. For more useful advanced preferences, such as Tab browsing behavior or popup windows settings users need and REQUIRE a preferences panel. about:config is only useful for preferences rarely set to anything but the default.

Now for the Tabbed browsing example: if the default is to open a link in the background and there is no option to change it in the preference the user may not realize the option of using about:config. Even when told about:config they might find it too confusing. All they want is to stop new links from openning in the background. Many users with high speed internet connections do not want a new link to open in the background. I would consider the user who wants to change how links open an advanced user. Not all advanced users are comfortable or capable of using about:config. This user requires advanced preferences.

If you fell the browser must not have advanced preferences there is a simple solution ->do not use them. For those who need advanced preferences let them have them. Please don't simply claim that everyone only need a very "simple" preferences panel. If you need anything beyond the most basic preference go to about:config.

We want Mozilla to gain in popularilty and usage. I am sure Mozilla will lose users when they inquire how to set a certian preference and they are directed to about:config. I can just hear a revier of Mozilla 1.5 stating: "Many useful preferences are very hard for the users to access. Mozilla puts many useful preferences in a very cryptic location. To access Mozilla's advanced preferences the user has to type in about:config into the url bar and hope they can find the preference in the long list, let alone how th set it. Mozilla should have an advanced preferences panel."