6 November, 2014 § Leave a comment
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.
- High-contrast mode
- 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 1022582: Checkboxes and radio buttons in about:preferences lack any indication they’re checked/selected when using High Contrast mode
- Session restore
- Bug 1056478: Resizer of sub-dialog follows only half of the movement of mouse pointer
- Bug 1055973: Navigating by TAB key, it should be only in between the browser UI and the sub-dialog
- Bug 1044600: in-content preferences: empty dialogs after pressing backspace or the Back button
- Bug 1044597: in-content preferences: resized dialogs should not push buttons into overflow
- Bug 1043346: in-content subdialog cut off on bottom and right. Unrelated subdialog size changing affect the other one.
- Bug 1043612: Persist the size of resizable in-content subdialogs
- Bug 1012410: Can’t close in-content cookie exceptions dialog
- Bug 1089812: Implement updated In-content pref secondary dialogs
- Bug 1014208: Updated InContent Preferences Design Based on Project Chameleon
- Bug 1036434: In-content preferences doesn’t show the complete scrollbar
- Bug 1008171: No focus for elements except textboxes (and buttons, on Windows and Linux) inside in-content preferences
- Bug 1008172: Scrolling up and down on pages with scrollbars in about:preferences will change subgroups
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!
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.
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.
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.
27 August, 2014 § 5 Comments
We 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.
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.
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.
1 August, 2014 § 17 Comments
In 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
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.
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.
If 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:
27 May, 2014 § 28 Comments
Starting today, users of Firefox Nightly will see a new look to the classic 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.
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.
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:
18 May, 2014 § 46 Comments
I’m happy to announce that starting today, the new in-content preferences are enabled by default in Firefox Nightly.
This project was started by a group of students at Michigan State University and was mentored by Blair McBride and myself. Since its start, it has continued to get a ton of attention from contributors world-wide.
This is a list of people who have contributed patches to the in-content preferences as of this posting:
- Ally Naaktgeboren
- Andres Hernandez
- Andrew Hurle
- Benjamin Peterson
- Benjamin Smedberg
- Brendan Dahl
- Brian R. Bondy
- Brian Smith
- Carsten “Tomcat” Book
- Chris Mahoney
- Chris Peterson
- Christian Ascheberg
- Christian Sonne
- Devan Sayles
- Dão Gottwald
- Ed Morley
- Ehsan Akhgari
- Florian Quèze
- Gervase Markham
- Gijs Kruitbosch
- Gregory Szorc
- Honza Bambas
- Jan de Mooij
- Jan Varga
- Jared Wein
- Javi Rueda
- Jeff Walden
- John Schoenick
- Jon Rietveld
- Jonathan Mayer
- Josh Matthews
- Kyle Machulis
- Mahdi Dibaiee
- Manish Goregaokar
- Manish Goregaokar
- Mark Hammond
- Martin Stransky
- Matthew Noorenberghe
- Michael Harrison
- Mike Connor
- Mike Hommey
- Nicholas Nethercote
- Nick Alexander
- Owen Carpenter
- Paolo Amadini
- Phil Ringnalda
- Richard Marti
- Richard Newman
- Ryan VanderMeulen
- Sebastian Hengst
- Sid Stamm
- Ted Mielczarek
- Theo Chevalier
- Tim Taubert
- Zuhao (Joe) Chen
There is still a lot of work to be done before shipping the new in-content preferences out to people on the release builds of Firefox. That also means that this long list of contributors doesn’t have to stay at 59 people, it can keep growing :)
We have a list of bugs that we need to fix before we can call version 1 of this project complete. The easiest way for someone new to help out is to download Firefox Nightly and help test that the new preferences work just as well as the old preferences. If you find an issue and see that it hasn’t already been reported, please file a new bug in Bugzilla and leave a comment on this blog post with a link to the bug that you filed.
30 April, 2014 § 1 Comment
Firefox on GTK Linux now matches the look of Firefox on Windows and Mac OS X. The new Firefox brings interactions and visual designs that were present previously only on Windows and Mac OS X to Linux to provide a more familiar user experience to Firefox users regardless of platform.
Firefox on Linux now has the familiar “keyhole” design. This design is an immediately recognizable feature of Firefox, and is shown by the shape of the back button connected to the forward button and location bar.
Many brands have identifiable shapes such as the Mickey Mouse ears that Disney uses, and the curvy bottle shape of Coke. These shapes are immediately recognizable as part of their respective brands, and bringing Linux in to the mix is something that has been on the Firefox front-end team’s backlog for a while now.
I’m really happy to see the keyhole shape now present on all of our tier-1 platforms: Windows, Mac OS X, and now Linux (GTK).
Another large refinement that has been brought to Linux is new toolbar icons for buttons such as the Home, Back/Forward, and tab close buttons. The iconography of our Linux version now matches that of Windows and Mac OS X.
These changes help unify the experience of Firefox users independent of platform, while also allowing for a faster pace of development for the people working on making Firefox.
If you’re already running Firefox, it will automatically update to the latest version. If not, you can download Firefox now, always free and always open.