29 October, 2013 § 6 Comments
I haven’t written up one of these blog posts in a while. The previous one was in August 2012 for Firefox 15. Coincidentally, that post mentioned a subtle change to the site identity area of the web browser.
In today’s release of Firefox, there is another subtle change to the site identity area of the browser. Pages that are a part of Firefox itself, whether it be the built-in home page (about:home), our troubleshooting page (about:support), or others now sport a special Firefox branding within the location bar. The goal of this branding is to increase awareness and trust with these pages.
Clicking on the Firefox name or the two-tone Firefox logo next to the name will show a popup notification that explains that this is a secure Firefox page.
16 October, 2013 § 1 Comment
As a web developer, there are often times where it’s necessary to know if an element on a page is scrollable. One way of checking this would be to find the difference of
element.clientWidth. If the difference between these two properties is non-zero, then the element is scrollable. However, this doesn’t work for all cases.
element.clientWidth clamp their values to integers. If the difference between the
clientWidth is less than zero, then the computed difference between the two will result in zero. This is less than good.
Starting in Firefox 16 , there is a new property
element.scrollLeftMax which returns the difference of
clientWidth, including the fractional component. Also introduced is the companion
element.scrollTopMax for use in determining vertical scrolling availability.
Hopefully these properties will find their way in to the other layout engines.
 These properties were implemented in bug 766937.
11 September, 2013 § 1 Comment
A couple weeks back, Gijs Kruitbosch and I began mentoring a group of students on a new student project focused on building some new Australis-styled widgets.
The goal of the project will be to create four independent widgets using the Add-on SDK and new Australis widget API:
- A weather widget that can show the weather for a selected location as well as up to 5-7 additional locations. This will need to use a public and free weather API.
- A music playing widget that will play music located on the user’s local machine. The user can select a folder on their machine and the widget will play any media files that it can find within that folder or in that folder’s children. We may need to limit the recursive depth to 2 folders.
- A Bugzilla widget that will show the assigned bugs, review requests, etc. This will be based on Heather Arthur‘s excellent Bugzilla Todos dashboard.
- A Spartan Scoreboard widget that will show the date, opponent, and location of the next MSU sporting event, as well as the score of the previous game. It should also include a link to get more information.
Eric Proper, Eric Slenk, and David Thorpe have begun blogging about their progress. You can follow along and get more details on their respective blogs. Eric Proper has an amazing amount of detail already on his blog. I’m looking forward to seeing the blogs from Dan Poggi and Dave Thorpe.
We will be meeting weekly at 9:00am Eastern time on Thursdays throughout the Fall semester.
25 July, 2013 § 17 Comments
I’ve been helping beta test B2G and subsequently FirefoxOS since October 2012. Once in a while I’ve come across a bug that requires me to reset the phone back to its factory state. Unfortunately at this early stage there isn’t a built-in way to back up your data from a FirefoxOS phone. I’m sure it’s on a roadmap, but as with all v1 products you have to make some tough calls when it comes to feature prioritization.
This tutorial provides a step-by-step walk through of how to backup and restore your contacts on a B2G or FirefoxOS phone. It’s not supported so it may stop working in the future, but for now it works
To complete this tutorial you’ll need a B2G/FirefoxOS phone, a USB cable to connect your phone to your computer, and the Android Debug Bridge installed (referred to as `adb` later in the tutorial).
1. Start up your FirefoxOS phone and go to Settings.
2. Go to Device Information
3. Go to More Information
4. Go to Developer
5. Enable “Remote Debugging”. This will allow you to use ADB to pull data off of the phone.
6. Connect your phone to the computer using the USB cable.
7. In your console, type `
adb devices` to check that the phone has connected properly. You should see your phone listed as an attached device. At this point you can now use `adb shell` to browse through the system files on the phone.
8. Type `
adb pull /data/local/indexedDB/chrome/3406066227csotncta.sqlite .` This will pull the contacts IndexedDB database off of your phone and in to your local working directory. If you are curious about the contents of the database, you can install the IndexedDB Browser add-on for Firefox which will let you open up the database.
And you are now done with backing up your contacts. If you need to reset your phone in the future, you can just follow these steps again but replace step 8 with the following: `
adb push 3406066227csotncta.sqlite /data/local/indexedDB/chrome/3406066227csotncta.sqlite`. This will push your backed-up contacts database back on to the device.
23 July, 2013 § 3 Comments
For many years there has been an increased emphasis towards increasing the visibility of a website’s identity. Pages served over HTTP lack a verifiable identity, while pages served over HTTPS begin to have aspects of their identity verifiable.
When a page is viewed over a valid HTTPS connection, the web browser is able to verify the identity of the domain that it is communicating with. Firefox uses this information to place a “site identity” graphic next to the website’s URL. Clicking on this site identity graphic provides more information about the connection.
Clicking on the More Information button shows how often this website is accessed, in an effort towards building trust and pointing out potentially untrustworthy websites.
When a page is viewed over a valid HTTPS connection using an Extended Validation certificate, the web browser places the certificate’s Organizational Name between the site identity graphic and the website’s URL. With Extended Validation, the web browser not only can confirm the identity of the domain that it is communicating with, but it relies on the vendor who issued the certificate to have verified the identity of the owner of the website. Again, clicking on the More Information button in the site identity panel will show prior access information.
Within the past couple weeks a new site identity view was introduced. Now when visiting privileged Firefox webpages such as about:home, about:config, and about:addons, the site identity area will show a Firefox logo along with the “Firefox” name. Clicking on the either of these will show a panel that confirms to the user that this page is a secure Firefox page.
This feature is expected to reach users on our Release channel during the last week of October, 2013. If you’d like to play with it today you can download and install a build of Firefox Nightly.