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

New in Firefox Nightly: In-content Preferences

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.

Preferences

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
  • JosiahOne
  • Kyle Machulis
  • Mahdi Dibaiee
  • Manish Goregaokar
  • Manish Goregaokar
  • Mark Hammond
  • Martin Stransky
  • Matthew Noorenberghe
  • Michael Harrison
  • Mike Connor
  • Mike Hommey
  • Ms2ger
  • Nicholas Nethercote
  • Nick Alexander
  • Owen Carpenter
  • Paolo Amadini
  • Phil Ringnalda
  • Richard Marti
  • Richard Newman
  • rsx11m
  • Ryan VanderMeulen
  • Sebastian Hengst
  • Sid Stamm
  • Ted Mielczarek
  • Theo Chevalier
  • Tim Taubert
  • Yosy
  • 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.

In-Content Preferences

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