New Website Beta Final Call

Monday August 30th, 2004

Steven Garrity is inviting final comments on the new website beta (located at Many of the earlier known issues have now been fixed and this call is for critical problems only. Please add your comments to the website beta feedback topic in the forums. If all goes well, the new website will launch tomorrow.

Update: The new website is now live!

#114 Re: Do-it-yourself theme kit

by ronin65

Thursday September 2nd, 2004 10:50 AM

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First I must say that I do not like the general concept of Firefox at all insofar as features which were present in Mozilla are now shoved off on extensions developers or required to be added manually via user.js file edits (e.g. URL auto-complete) or about:config additions. These are "nice to have" capabilities for those with the skills to utilize them, but are completely beyond the capabilities of the people who the Foundation professes to target as users. It makes no sense at all. In fact, it is really dumb. For example, Mozilla's sidebar has a "grippie" to open/close it with a single click (very much like IE). Firefox does not. One must hunt down an extension...which does not work any more. There are no "grippies" for the bookmark bar and etc in Firefox with or without extensions at the present time. There is no "tab icon" to open a new tab (this is important to new users who have not figured out keyboard commands). Some of the menu structure in Firefox is several steps backward in my opinion. Example: In Mozilla to view saved passwords one simply clicks tools>password manager (manage stored passwords)>show passwords>yes whereas in Firefox one must first figure out that it is tucked away in preferences (rather than in tools with other things) and click Firefox>Preferences>Saved Passwords>View Saved Passwords>Show Saved Passwords>Yes. On top of that the password manager in Firefox still does not work properly in all instances and will not show passwords. (This note applies to both Firefox and Mozilla: there is no ability to edit the password file or keep a note about the account and it is not password protected as are all the case with the OS X Keychain. By the way, I can think of no good reason why Firefox for OS X fails to make use of the existing Keychain capability or fails to utilize "services" as other OS X browser do.)

There are some things which worked briefly in Firefox's extensions which are such good ideas that I can not conceive why they are not incorporated into the browser as a basic feature such as an automatic bookmark and/or profile backup on closing the browser. Another is the Tabbed Browser Extension (no longer functional) which, among other things, allows tabs to be reordered by dragging and dropping (as is also the case with OmniWeb 5). And then there is the no longer functional extension to generate secure passwords...making up passwords is rather a chore for the typical user in my experience...and the reason that there are so many insecure passwords. I have lost track of the ability to white list/ black list individual site's pop-up windows via a "button" in the toolbar which I believe also belongs as a basic part of the browser. Blocking all pop-ups is great until the user goes to a site which they wish to access information which requires that pop-ups or cookies be enabled. While it is a fair comment that Firefox is only approaching version 1.0 I believe that it is nonetheless fair comment that the design philosophy does not take these things into account and so is unlikely to do the things I have mentioned at all.

As I mentioned earlier, Firefox needs to incorporate a "check for updates" feature to enable a new user to keep the browser up to date without having to try to figure out the arcane mislabelings that are used in Firefox. It is difficult enough for someone who has been using Firefox for some period of time to figure out just what the hell the developers intend you to use when there are multiple versions of the same number issued and higher numbered versions which are transitory "bug fixes" which should they revert to the lower numbered version thereafter. Very, very confusing. Not at all suitable for use by the general public.

Insofar as the Camino vs. Firefox discusion goes it is clear that the developers of Camino wish to have absolutely nothing to do with Firefox and are engaged on a development path which pleases them (as is their priviledge to do). In my experience with Camino it is, by design, without features which allow it to be configured as I would wish and I find increasingly less to distinguish it from Safari.

In sum I find that the perspective that the developers of Firefox is quite different from that of the people they desire to attract to the browser. Their needs are very different as well. I do not see that the two are a good mix. My views are based upon my experience with the OS X versions of the browsers involved and may not necessarily be similar to the experience with the Windows versions.