back to article Mozilla makes rough notes on Firefox 3.6

Mozilla is instructing developers to go back to school in readiness for the changes that will come in Firefox 3.6, and helpfully it’s published a new guide detailing the latest tweaks. Many have already agonised over Mozilla’s plans to shake-up Firefox, following the release of mockups showing new iterations (3.7 and 4.0) of the …

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Paris Hilton

Why shouldn't firefox borrow..

..from Chrome or anyone else. Ditto, Google, Microsoft and Opera... If someone comes up with something handy, wouldn't it be nice to have in your browser of choice?

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Anonymous Coward

Meh

If it ain't broke, don't fix it

Now with added bloat and useless features. Roll up, roll up get your fire focks here.

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Flame

I have an idee

This may be far fetched but how about adding a new brave feature... lets call it... themes. This way users can choose layout and not be deep-throated something from Mozilla....

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Sounds like CADT

As described by JWZ: http://www.jwz.org/doc/cadt.html

It would be boorish to note that every single Firefox release I've used has been dramatically worse than the last, even if still more useful to me than the alternatives, so I won't. But why is Mozilla insisting on cooking up new, shiny stuff when, as far as I can tell, they haven't even got their existing versions fully working (as in, functional stuff is still broken, from the reports I hear)?

Pretend a facepalm icon goes here.

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Grenade

Themes?

What's wrong with the preexisting theme support?

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/browse/type:2/cat:all?sort=popular

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Anonymous Coward

@first ac

borrowing is fine, it's how a lot of great software came to be. there's a line though - some of the buttons in the screenshots of firefox look like they've been lifted straighted from chrome. at least TRY and make it look different

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Firefox bloat / regressive new versions

This doesn't tally with my experience at all. 1.x to 2.x was a very worthwhile upgrade, and 3.x seems like another nice upgrade so far from my own experience of using it. It starts in less than half a second from cold on my 2-year-old machine running Ubuntu and runs very quickly. I've had no stability issues. It even manages to perform OK on the Windows XP machine I use for work, and my own token toaster (Windows XP on an 833MHz P3 with 512Mb of RAM).

I've not been hugely impressed by recent mockups of future versions, but I haven't tried them yet to see how the new UI works in practice, and anyway I'm sure FF will retain its legendary flexibility so I can tweak it until I like it.

I tried Opera, but it ran a good bit slower on my machine so I went back to FF. I don't really think there's a reasonable competitor on my platform. Fortunately I'm very happy with Firefox.

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Anonymous Coward

What about the kiss* principle...

a nice simple, easy to use browser, with low overhead, and small enough code base to be functionally maintainable. You know for security issues.

I like FireFox but personally am not interested in pretty look and feel. All I want is a small, fast, fairly secure browser.

*kiss - keep it simple stupid

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@ Geoff Mackenzie

Okay, version 1.x to 2.x was indeed an improvement. But just speaking for my own experience, 3.x runs dramatically more sluggishly, the way it handles bookmarks strikes me as ridiculous, and it added nothing that I actually cared about (in fact, I detest the AwesomeBar, and needing to fiddle with semi-undocumented settings to turn it off is just adding insult to injury). All of the reports I hear about 3.5 are roughly along the lines of "new features, but breaks my plugins."

I also tried Opera, but forced use of tabs is even more baked into the crust than it is in Firefox, and I'm one of those people who has no use for tabs whatsoever. This seems to be a weird religious issue.

Mostly, I still want to know why any effort whatsoever is being sunk into new shiny features (that might be of interest to the developers, I suppose, and possibly a few users) if there is still so much as a single outstanding, verified bug. And why mess with a winning formula anyway, particularly when it seems like the only justification for doing so is "oooooh shiny"?

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WTF?

@utter nonsense from Mozilla again

"heck them retards can't even implement mousewheel support on listboxes.. for faster item selecting.. a feature you'll find working in windows for years and years across all apps.. just not shitfox"

I just tried V3.5 in Windows and the drop down from the address bar supports mouse wheel. The drop down from the search window supports mouse wheel. The drop down lists in web pages support mouse wheel. So what are you bitching about exactly?

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Silver badge
Flame

UI Changes

UI CHanges are nothing but stupidity, the browser is fine the way as it is, hidding functionality out of the screen only makes the app dumber.

Why do we have to learn a new UI for something which is well designed in the first place?

What´s the benefit???? Do they want to repeat Office 2007 ribbon interface fiasco? do they want to alienate their userbase?

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WTF?

Re: @ Geoff Mackenzie # @OkKTY8KK5U

"Mostly, I still want to know why any effort whatsoever is being sunk into new shiny features (that might be of interest to the developers, I suppose, and possibly a few users) if there is still so much as a single outstanding, verified bug. And why mess with a winning formula anyway, particularly when it seems like the only justification for doing so is "oooooh shiny"?"

The focussing of efforts being fucked up is quite easy to explain.

Whoever it is at Mozilla who has the final say about what happens with FF has been told that their pay/bonuses/promotions are based on increasing the numbers of users of FF. Technical computer users have been using FF since version 0.x, the people they know have been on it sonce 1.x. Therefore, Mozilla have to chase what's left: the IE users.

For years many people have been able to see what is wrong with IE, but many many more do not. They don't want to know about problems with IE, and even if they try and listen, they don't understand.

So to try and get the clueless onto FF, Mozilla need to appeal to people who make their decisions of which tool to use for a job NOT based on how effective that tool is. I dunno how I would get these kinds of people onto my product, but it would probably be the same kind of thing Mozilla are doing - up the shiny.

There are people that can see FF is bloating up and getting shoddier - and they know that as time goes on solving those long standing bugs will get harder and harder and less and less likely to be done properly (along with a bunch of other issues).

There are people who can see FF is changing but don't understand the implications of the changes. They do things like suggest workarounds as if they solve the underlying issues. The calls for people to just apply themes if they don't like the way the browser is going is an example of this. That's like just painting over rising damp in your home!

Then there are the people who only switch browsers once their mainstay (i.e. IE) is so crudded up it is unusable. These are the people FF is being aimed at now, as this is where the large numbers are. Larger numbers of FF users mean more users getting Google in their face by default, rather than bing - which makes Mozilla's corporate benefactor (oxymoron, or what?) happy.

Please Mozilla, fork FF into a couple of projects - MyFirstFox for the vast majority of users, the ones who want it to "just work" and want their hands held constantly, and FuckingHardcoreFox, where even javascript support is optional!

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Anonymous Coward

Spotted!

"Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10.5; en-US; rv:1.9.2a1pre) Gecko/20090722 Minefield/3.6a1pre"

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Bronze badge
Badgers

@John J

There's links or lynx for your purposes. Who needs graphics, anyway?

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Anonymous Coward

Sod the bloody appearance

It's the functionality and efficiency that matters.

(and I hope that functionality will include "classic interface". Skin... sorry, they call it "skin", these days, I think... I wouldn't like to let on that I'm an old fogey!)

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Anonymous Coward

This is a marketing ploy

Come on.... mock-ups of three versions in as many days? In all likelihood there will be no 3.6 or 3.7, they'll go straight to version 4.

They're just trying to divert attention away from the IE8/Windows/EU/Opera affair.

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Badgers

Firefox Scroll nuisance

Try going to http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/default.stm, click the 'Choose an area' drop-down combo, then keep the mouse still but use its scroll wheel to go down the list. Hey presto, irritation.

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E 2

@Anonymous Coward 12:59

Nothing is wrong with borrowing good ideas from other products. I don't know who really invented, say, drop down menus, but they are undeniably a good idea and adopted by everyone.

WRT FF: Office 10 has no traditional drop down menus, just some sort of strange big button. Everyone at work who uses Office hates this - it is a bad idea in that it obscures the menu driven commands. Now, some people in Mozilla are saying FF must adopt Office's weird one-big-button menu scheme, which seems more like slavish imitation than considered borrowing.

I note also KDE 4.x which seems for all the world to want to look and work just like Vista. There was nothing wrong with the 3.5 UI - it works very well. Yet KDE 4 was released with most functionality missing, but by God it was shiny and looked a lot like Vista!

Gnome is plainly a knock-off of MacOS UI.

It does seem that the UI people in a lot of OO projects have no more ideas than those they find inside shiny boxes from MS and Apple, and have a powerful need to copy those ideas regardless of whether or not they are good ideas.

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Megaphone

5 blockers needed for the 5 senses

>>a feature for adding notification sounds to alert users about a new email or instant message

So now, in addition to a script blocker and a popup blocker I'm going to need an audio blocker too. We just fought the visual ad wars, what idiot thinks we won't be assaulted aurally too?

Shouty, shouty says, "HEY: Click HERE to run a FREE scan of your PC!!!11"

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Megaphone

Another noisy program

Hopefully you'll be able to disable any sound making functionality. I need the volume on my speakers set a a level that I can hear when hardware events occur so I can do my job. One of the reasons I use Flashblock is so those annoying adds that want to play automatically at the highest volume level when you visit a site don't. Hopefully as they move towards making it have those massive frames like new MS programs and VIsta have you'll be able to turn it off so that you can have the minimal windows of the "Classic" mode.

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Flame

Change is Bad

How DARE they change the way things look! Change frightens and confuses me.

In 1996 we had a browser that supported .gifs, and that's it. And we LIKED it like that. Divergence from that is bloatware.

PS: Isn't it creative how I combined "bloat" and "software"? Congratulate me!

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Silver badge
WTF?

UIs should be stable

Imagine that software designers made cars. This year, you steer with a wheel, the clutch is on the left, the accellerator is on the right, the brakes are in the middle. (Car 6.1, since the 1960s - almost no-one living can remember versions 1 through 5. Car 6.0 was the same except you had to do double-declutching. 6.1 really WAS an improvement - a small UI change requiring much tricky re-engineering inside the gearbox, where no-one except a serious techie ever sees the details.)

Next year, they swap the brake and the accellerator. (Car 7.0)

The year after, they decide wheels and pedals are so old-fashioned, and "everyone" is used to driving computer games, so they put a game controller in the cockpit and remove the wheel and the pedals. (Car 8.0 a.k.a. "Panarama")

Of course, it couldn't happen. There would be far too many fatalities.But with software there aren't many fatalities. (I'm sure there are a few: heart attacks and the odd employee going postal, but none of those can be pinned on the software vendor for certain). So they keep screwing with the UI and annoying the hell out of us.

I happen to like Firefox precisely because the UI developments from FF2 to FF3 to FF3.5 have been incremental improvements that never annoyed me. Please keep it that way. If FF4 abandons the interface I'm used to, there will be no reason for me to stick with it and quite a lot of reason not to (i.e. you've pissed me off, so sod you). I'm aware of Opera, Seamonkey, Chrome, Safari, but am not interested in spending time leaning to use them without thinking about it. Don't give me a reason to become better-acquainted, or I will do just that.

The best UI is the one that uncounted millions of users are used to, unless it is so terrible that at least half of them are crying out for something - anything - different. A good UI fades into the background once you've learned it, just like the details of how to ride a bicycle, while the human brain gets on with processing the information in the window (i.e. on the other side of the interface). "Improvements" should be incremental - something that can be ignored until or unless one discovers the need for them. Menus are a very good way of accomplishing this, because a new item in a menu doesn't get in the way of the familiar ones. So are plug-ins, because if you don't need them, you don't plug them in.

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