Status Update 9 of Reader Mode for desktop Firefox

3 December, 2012 § 15 Comments

This is the final week for the students working on the Reader Mode project for Firefox. The students will be presenting their final work on Friday to a panel of judges at Michigan State’s Design Day.

Reader mode now mostly works at prototype-level functionality. There is still some more work and lots more testing to do.

The team has asked for help with testing on Windows & Linux, as well as switching tabs. When a tab is switched to, the document is parsed for its readability score. We want to make sure that we don’t regress tab switching times as well as increase memory usage by the introduction of the feature.

I pushed their current patch to our Try servers so you can help test. When it is finished building, they should be available to download and play with here*. After downloading the build, go to about:config and set reader.enabled=true.

*Update: I have heard from at least one person that the Windows build isn’t working correctly.

Without further ado, here is the team’s project overview video.

The team also is planning on tweaking the size of the toolbar button so it doesn’t stretch the URL bar vertically. This is a subtle bug that you can see in the team’s project video.

Further work for Reader Mode will include moving the in-page adjustments to a toolbar at the top of the page, as well as adding a Sepia color mode.

The team updated the current work-in-progress patch on the meta bug.

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§ 15 Responses to Status Update 9 of Reader Mode for desktop Firefox

  • AV says:

    is the readability score calculated synchronously with the tab switch?

  • Gozzin says:

    This is such a wonderful idea! I can’t wait for it to become a reality and a predominant feature of Fire Fox! I do hope this this will be mainly controlled with the mouse rather than short cuts,since I’m a point and click person.
    The zoom feature is also excellent…Yup,I’m excited.

  • Jonas says:

    I’ve tried the Windows builds, both the installer and the archive, but in neither one Reader mode seem to work. And yes, I did remember to toggle the preference according to the above.
    To make sure that my old profile data didn’t somehow contribute to the problem, I tried creating a new profile. Unfortunately that didn’t help!

    I am really excited about Reader mode in desktop builds and would like to test it, but I’m stumped as to what I’m doing wrong.

    Have I managed to find a bug in the Windows builds, or I am just overlooking something trivial here!?

    • msujaws says:

      I think there might be a bug in the build that you tried out. When I pushed it to the Try server it failed a bunch of tests with a JS error, so that will need to be fixed first. Thanks for helping to test and I’m sorry that it wasn’t working. I’ll update the post to take down the link to the test build.

    • Jonas says:

      @msujaws: Thanks for the information!
      No need to be sorry, the whole point of this early testing is to catch simple errors like these.

      I realized that I forgot to mention what problem I was experiencing: the Reader icon never showed up, not even when I tried some of the web pages shown in the video. I also tried navigating manually to about:reader?url=[web address], but to no avail.

      (BTW it doesn’t seem like it’s possible to reply to a reply, so this comment might end up in the wrong place. A limit in the blog platform?)

  • kensaunders says:

    I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to look into the Windows issues, but I grabbed some screen shots after creating a button to initialize reader (onclick=”ReaderMode.BrowserOpenReaderMode(event);”/>), and playing around with a userstyle.

    My technical/coding abilities are very limited so I can’t provide any more than what I’ve captured, but in short, the toolbar appears to be loading at the bottom of the page and is not hidden by default. The urlbar icon is not displayed. It seems like the style sheet (aboutReader.css) isn’t loading or applied, etc.

    Could it be that the way that I’m initializing reader is affecting anything?

    I hope that this helps.

  • wonderful :)) (Y) (Y) (Y)

  • Manoj Mehta says:

    Is there an approximate time-frame when this will become a part of the nightly builds so that it can receive wider testing, etc.?

    • msujaws says:

      No timeframe yet, the original patch needs some clean up still. I’m not sure if the students are still working on it or not.

  • […] peut à présent tester le « reader mode » dans une version spéciale de Firefox Desktop : […]

  • Bearz314 says:

    Hello Mr Jaws. Sorry for disturbing. Is Reader Mode coming to Desktop at all? Is there anyone working on it? The meta bug says “still committed to finishing this” but there doesn’t seem to be any recent updates. Is Mozilla picking up this project? Do you know anything more than we do?

    I am not very familiar with development cycles so pardon for my weird questions. 🙂


    • msujaws says:

      The project is not actively being worked on. There was some movement to add reader mode to Firefox for Windows Metro, but that work stalled when the project was shelved due to low adoption of Windows 8. It’s possible that reader mode may get picked up in the future if someone comes along and wants to work on it, but I haven’t heard from anybody about it recently. Thanks for the question 🙂

    • Bearz314 says:

      Thank you for your swift reply and clarification! Now I know I shouldn’t put too much hope into this 😂 What a pity tho. I guess I will rely on some add-ons for the time being 😦 If only I was a developer… 😂

      Thanks again, Mr Jaws.

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