Status Update – In-content Preferences, part 3

10 December, 2014 § 2 Comments

icons@2x

Since the last update, bug 1022582 (checkboxes and radio buttons in about:preferences lack any indication they’re checked/selected when using High Contrast mode) has been marked ready for check-in and should be marked fixed by late tomorrow.

This marks the last of the high-contrast bugs blocking the release :)

We also have had great progress on bug 1043346 (dialogs should have their dimensions reset after closing). This bug looks ready to land after the patch gets updated.

I’m optimistic that we can get a fix in for bug 1008172 ([linux-only] scrolling up and down on pages with scrollbars in about:preferences will change subgroups) soon. I put some tips in the bug, and Richard Marti has said that he will try to take a look at it.

As for bug 1056478 (resizer of sub-dialog follows only half of the movement of mouse pointer), I’m not sure if we should keep it as a blocker. This bug reveals an underlying issue in Gecko (bug 1105906) that exists with any centered resizable element. Webkit doesn’t suffer from this issue, so it’s hopeful that we will find a solution, but I don’t know if this quirk should stop us from shipping.

The next bugs that I would like to see attention on are:
Bug 1043612: Persist the size of resizable in-content subdialogs
Bug 1044597: in-content preferences: resized dialogs should not push buttons into overflow
Bug 1044600: in-content preferences: empty dialogs after pressing backspace or the Back button

All three of these bugs are part of the subdialogs category. Thanks for the work to those contributing patches and helping test, we couldn’t do this without you! :)

The Bugs Blocking In-Content Prefs, part 2

26 November, 2014 § 1 Comment

Season's greetingsAt the beginning of November I published a blog post with the list of bugs that are blocking in-content prefs from shipping. Since that post, quite a few bugs have been fixed and we figured out an approach for fixing most of the high-contrast bugs.

As in the last post, bugs that should be easy to fix for a newcomer are highlighted in yellow.

Here is the new list of bugs that are blocking the release:

The list is now down to 16 bugs (from 20). In the meantime, the following bugs have been fixed:

  • Bug 1022578: Can’t tell what category is selected in about:preferences when using High Contrast mode
  • Bug 1022579: Help buttons in about:preferences have no icon when using High Contrast mode
  • Bug 1012410: Can’t close in-content cookie exceptions dialog
  • Bug 1089812: Implement updated In-content pref secondary dialogs

Big thanks goes out to Richard Marti and Tim Nguyen for fixing the above mentioned bugs as well as their continued focus on helping to bring the In-Content Preferences to to the Beta and Release channels.

The Bugs Blocking In-Content Prefs

6 November, 2014 § Leave a comment

Paper Firefox!If you’ve been following my blog, you know that there has been a long on-going project to rewrite Firefox’ preferences and move them to a page within the browser.

Work has continued on that front, but it has been moving at a slow pace. Today, representatives from engineering, user experience, and project management met together to form the remaining list of bugs that are blocking us from shipping in-content preferences to the Release channel.

In total, we have 20 bugs blocking the release. There are five different categories that the bugs fit in. Bugs that should be easy to pick up and finish for a new-comer are highlighted.

If you’d like to work on one of the above bugs, please click on the bug and read the details. If you have any questions, please post the question in the bug and someone will get back to you. Thanks!

We knew unicorns could bounce, but now they spin?!

2 September, 2014 § 6 Comments

One of the hidden features of Firefox 29 was a unicorn that bounced around the Firefox menu when it was emptied. The LA Times covered it in their list of five great features of Firefox 29.

BraveDefiantBarasinga

Building on the fun, Firefox 32 (released today) will now spin the unicorn when you press the mouse down in the area that unicorn is bouncing.

PaleNegativeHumpbackwhale

The really cool thing about the unicorns movement, both bouncing and spinning, and coloring is that this is all completed using pure CSS. There is no Javascript triggering the animation, direction, or events.

The unicorn is shown when the menu’s :empty pseudo-class is true. The direction and speed of the movement is controlled via a CSS animation that moves the unicorn in the X- and Y-direction, with both moving at different speeds. On :hover, the image of the unicorn gets swapped from grayscale to colorful. Finally, :active triggers the spinning.

New in Firefox Nightly: Recommended and easy theme switching through Customize mode

27 August, 2014 § 5 Comments

Firefox menuWe shipped the Australis project with Firefox 29, but the Firefox team hasn’t stopped working on making Firefox the easiest browser to personalize. Firefox allows easy customizing through the new Customize mode, and now in Firefox Nightly people will find a quick and easy to way to set the theme of the browser.

After entering Customize mode, a new menu is shown at the footer of the window. Clicking on this menu will show any installed themes as well as a list of five recommended themes.

These recommended themes were picked from the Add-ons for Firefox website by members of the Firefox User Experience team. All of the themes are licensed through Creative Commons. Some are CC-BY and others are CC-BY-SA.

Themes menu

Hovering over a theme in the menu will preview the appearance of the theme. Clicking on one of the themes will change the applied theme.

An applied theme

We haven’t figured out yet what the rotation will be for recommended themes. Any input on how often or how we should go about putting together the next list is greatly appreciated.

Full management of themes and add-ons is still available through the Add-ons Manager. Recommended themes that have not been applied will not show up in the Add-ons Manager. Once a recommended theme is applied, it will appear in the Add-ons Manager and can be uninstalled from there.

Faster and snappier searches now in Firefox Aurora

1 August, 2014 § 17 Comments

nice-red-running-foxIn case you haven’t noticed yet, Firefox Aurora contains some great speed ups when searching from the location bar. For far too long, searches that consisted of a single-word or arithmetic expressions would either result in errors or long delays before a search results page was presented.

This has all changed starting in Firefox Aurora. Take for example, a search for “867-5309″:

Previously when a single word was typed in to the location bar and Enter was pressed (or the Go button clicked), Firefox would look for a website at http://867-5309/. After the lookup timed out, Firefox would redirect to a search for “867-5309“. If the hyphen was removed and “8675309” was entered, Firefox would immediately go to an error page saying that it was unable to connect to the server at 8675309.

Some people may have become accustomed to placing a `?` at the beginning of the location bar to subvert this behavior. With the new Firefox Aurora, this is no longer necessary.

Slow and broken search behavior seen in Firefox 32 and older

Slow and broken search behavior seen in Firefox 32 and older

Now, in both of these cases Firefox will kick off the search request immediately. In the background, Firefox will look for locally-hosted sites that have a hostname matching the value that was typed in. Most people will see search results on average 5 seconds quicker!

In cases where there is a potential match, Firefox will show a notification bar asking if the locally-hosted site was the intended destination. Clicking “Yes, take me to 8675309″ will navigate to the matched site and whitelist it for future.

Screenshot of new behavior coming in Firefox 33

Screenshot of new behavior coming in Firefox 33

Whitelisting a serverIf you’d like to proactively whitelist a site, you can go to about:config and create a new Boolean pref with the name of `browser.fixup.domainwhitelist.` followed by the single word that you would like whitelisted. Set the pref to true, and the search will be skipped. localhost is already whitelisted.

Firefox continues to gain speed, customizability, and security with each release. This feature will find its way to the Release population with Firefox 33. In the meantime, you can install Firefox Aurora or Firefox Nightly and begin using it today.

There are two minor cases left to fix:

  • Queries that end with a period still fail. This is in the process of being fixed and can be tracked at bug 1042519.
  • Queries containing a period in the middle also fail. This is not currently being worked on, but is tracked at bug 494092.

New in Firefox Nightly: Experimenting with context menus

27 May, 2014 § 28 Comments

Starting today, users of Firefox Nightly will see a new look to the classic context menu.

New context menu

Context menus on desktop browsers have changed very little since Firefox 1.0 was introduced. Meanwhile, new devices have brought new concepts to context menus. The context menu on Firefox for Android is much more graphical, showing recognizable symbols at a glance.

Context menu in Firefox for Android

Switching frequently used menuitems to their iconic forms can improve the usability of the menu, as it can make it easier to find the menuitems at a glance as well as click on. One way to visualize the difference is by performing what is known as a “squint test”. The image on the left is the old Firefox context menu, and the image on the right is the new Firefox context menu.

Squint test of old (left) vs. new (right) context menu (Gaussian blur=3)

Squint test of old (left) vs. new (right) context menu (Gaussian blur=3)

Looking at the squint test above, not only is it easier to see the actions of the buttons at the top, but we can also see that the new menu feels a bit leaner.

We don’t have plans to switch all menuitems over to their iconic forms, mainly because many menuitems lack a well-understood graphical metaphor. We’ll keep experimenting with our context menus, hopefully adding the ability to customize them just like the rest of Firefox.

Known issues: The context menus found in today’s Firefox Nightly are still missing a couple finishing touches that we are going to follow up with:

  • The icons being used are not the right size and are lacking HiDPI versions
  • The bookmark star is not shown as filled-in when the page being right-clicked on is already bookmarked
  • OSX is missing the inverted icons, currently showing grey icons on a blue-hovered background

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