Mozilla Firebird Gets New Download Manager
Saturday November 29th, 2003
The latest nightly builds of Mozilla Firebird feature a new download manager for saving files. The Downloads sidebar and progress windows have been replaced by a new combined Downloads window that lists all current and completed downloads. Cancelled and failed downloads also remain in this list, with a 'Retry' option to allow transfers to be attempted again. A 'Clean Up' button lets users keep the Downloads window tidy by removing all completed, cancelled and failed downloads. There are also new preferences for the automatic removal of downloads from the list.
To streamline tasks such as saving cached images, the Downloads windows does not appear for files that take less than two seconds to transfer. A confirmation dialogue is displayed if you try to exit Firebird with downloads still in progress, eliminating the frustration of accidentally stopping your downloads when you're done browsing. For Windows users, an alert similar to the new mail notification from the Mozilla Application Suite and Mozilla Thunderbird appears near the taskbar when all downloads have completed. See the download manager QA page and the forum topic about the new Downloads window for more information.
I like the new download manager. It obviously is not 100% finished yet, but it looks very promising. One thing that I disagree with though is the default behavior of hiding itself when all downloads complete. I find that a bit counter-intuitive, since most of the time you are just downloading one file and when it's downloaded, you want to launch it. With the current default settings, the window just disappears and you have to manually look up the file on your disks, unless you happen to know that you can click Tools > Downloads to see the window again.
Auto-hiding windows should be considered power usage and should not be the default behavior. Besides, it was not the default behavior in earlier versions of Firebird.