Saturday, June 28, 2008

Variations on a Theme called Firefox

Theme in this case being related to "a common idea” like in music or literature rather than a GUI based design applied to the browser….

Almost at the bottom of my link-post bucket…bear with me.

Firefox 3.0 Location Bar Fiddling and “OH!” its called the “Site Identity” button?

Turn Firefox 3’s Location Bar Yellow at https:// URLs – Lifehacker tip.

I did this trick and liked it quickly. Basically you can mess around with the address bar to make the full bar turn yellow again in Firefox 3.0. This behavior was modified a bit in Firefox 3.0.

To accomplish this trick I added the following code to my userChrome.css file located in my profile’s chrome folder:

#urlbar[level] .autocomplete-textbox-container {
background-color: #FFFFB7 !important;

Of course if  you want a different color, insert the hex-code color of your choosing.

While I was at it, there were a bunch other cool tips in the comments. I added this one as well to my userChrome.css file to remove the “star” bookmarking icon.  I never use that sucker.

#star-button {
display: none !important;

Visualize blue https sites in Firefox 3 in a better way – gHacks blog.

Yep. Now that we got done messing up a perfectly good address bar, Lets much it up more!

This tip from Martin at gHacks only requires the changing of a value in the about:config settings. Much easier if you don’t want to fiddle in the userChrome.css file.

Just go to about:config and find the browser.identify.sll_domain_display key.

0 is the default, 1 also colors the top-level domain, 2 colors the whole domain and displays the address as colored in the favicon area..

Confused? Check out the gHacks post then pop over to the Browser.identity.ssl domain display - MozillaZine Knowledge Base article for more details.

Finally the color distinctions are described a bit in this Mozilla Firefox 3 Released – MozillaZine article:

The site icon to the left of the Location bar is now the Site Identification button. While previous versions of Firefox concentrated on informing users whether their connection to a website was encrypted or not, Firefox 3 tries to focus more on who runs the site. When visiting a secure site, the Location bar no longer turns yellow and shows a padlock icon (though this is still present in the Status Bar). Instead, the Site Identity button turns blue (yellow was judged to no longer be a good color as Internet Explorer 7 uses it to mean a suspected phishing website) and clicking it will reveal the domain name of the site and who supplied the security certificate.

However, if the has a newer Extended Validation certificate (see for an example), the Site Identity button will turn green and display the name of the organization that runs the website. Clicking on the button will display not only the domain name of the site and certificate issuer but also the name and location of the who runs the site. Internet Explorer 7 and Opera 9.5 already support Extended Validation certificates.

Firefox 3 is also more strict about denying access to secure sites when the site's configuration is not quite right (for example, if the certificate presented does not match the domain name). To improve usability, all secure site errors are now displayed in the content area (like connection errors) rather than popping up modal dialogs.

See also this blog post at offered by commenter Scott Walsh Firefox 3: Site Identification button to get into more details on this thing I used to consider just a favicon in Firefox 3.  Now I now better!  This post is very detailed and nuanced. Great stuff to review for Firefox heads.

So now you have…

  • a yellow (or whatever color you picked) full address bar color to clearly alert you to the presence of a secure address,
  • a blue “Site Identity” button (favicon) coloring to also indicate a secure website,and displaying the full domain address of the site,
  • a green “Site identity” button color to indicate a secure website using the newer “Extended Validation” certificate is present and in use, and
  • a gray “Site identify” button color for sites offering no identity information at all—which is most websites you come across.

Want to mess around even more? Fine.

9 tweaks for Firefox 3’s location bar - Mozilla Links

Have at it!

Full Screen Display Repairing

When Firefox 3.0 came out they really made the “F11” full screen feature work. It now removes the tab bar, location bar, and status bar.

If that’s too much real-estate for you, then follow this easy gHacks tip: Change Firefox 3 Full Screen Mode

Just find the about:config key browser.fullscreen.autohide and toggle it to “false” to put things right again.

More details here: Browser.fullscreen.autohide - MozillaZine Knowledge Base

Disappearing Favicons in Firefox 3

As I have mentioned, Right now (until Weave is released in final form) I’m managing my Firefox 3.0 bookmarks again by shuffling an exported bookmark file back and forth between systems.

It works pretty well.

However I noticed that sometimes my bookmark favicons disappear and I have to revisit the site to re-load them. And sometimes they just refused to re-display at all.


So I set out on a search to fix them.

I found a lot of great information and tips regarding favicon behavior;

Manually refresh favicon.ico files in Firefox 3 - Tim Dupree - This fascinating technique involves using the SQlite Manager Add-on for Firefox to explore the places.sqlite database file. It was really fun. Anyway, you find the favicon reference file, delete the BLOB data field linked. Then close out the database and close Firefox. When relaunched, visit the site again and the bookmark favicon should refresh. Only in my case, it did not.


Next I found these mozillaZine forum posts:

Make Firefox 3 Beta NOT update favicons... • mozillaZine Forums

Favicons in bookmarks - How to get rid of them? • mozillaZine Forums

Yeah, crazy right? Read stuff on how not to do what you are trying to fix and then do the opposite.

Despite also not helping me with my problem, they again provided great background information into the inner workings of the Mozilla favicon handling.

Finally I found this great page: GrApple - Aronnax`s Firefox Themes.

It has a hack to change the RSS feed indicator in your Firefox address bar. Neat.

Also, a hack to modify the favicons in the search field and one for the favicons in the bookmarks toolbar.

I added the last to in to my userChrome.css file as well.

Still didn’t help me. I could see the favicons in their teasing beauty in the now correctly named “Site Identity” button field but many wouldn’t update in the corresponding bookmark icon, while others would.

Finally I did some plain and simple Southern ‘spearmint’n:

Clearing the cache, cookies, and history didn’t help.

So I tried dragging a new bookmark in next to the non-updating one. It worked.

After some more work I’ve decided that if you have changed the “name” property of the bookmark to a custom one in Firefox 2.0, then imported them over into Firefox 3.0 some time in the past, it would preserve the favicon on that system. But when you then copy that bookmark JSON file over between systems, something breaks and the icon can not re-update again.

So I had to rebuild all of those I found that wouldn’t update automatically by clicking them and loading the page. Once so replaced, they seem to re-update fine when clicked after swapping between profiles.

Anyway, I’ve got all my favorite and most used ones updated now. It will be a while before I can work through all the more buried ones I have.

Sage Returns – A Bit Too Late to the Dance?

I’m an evangelist now for NewsFox, the greatest RSS feed reader Add-on for Firefox ever.

Then recently folks decided that my former favorite RSS feed extension Sage was dead so they resurrected it in Sage-Too. Nicely done.

I guess someone got their feelings hurt (or simply were prodded into action) as now the Sage team has now released Sage again now compatible with Firefox 3.0.

Sage 1.4 Released: Sage Blog – lists lots of fixes.

Sage 1.4.1 Released: Sage Blog – few more fixes.

Now downloading at this Sage Install link.

Me? Too much water has flowed under the bridge. I’m sticking with NewsFox.

To Tweak or not to Tweak…That is the Color Question

BoingBoing picked up a blog post regarding a tiny not well known about:config change that just might better render color images in Firefox 3.0.

Color management tweak in Firefox 3 – BoingBoing

Upside? Colors “might” be more vibrant and rich.

Downside? Browser performance might take a hit and most image files don’t contain the extra data needed to take advantage of this tweak. Also, it might mess with your color-optimized monitor if you are a graphic designer and fiddle with these things as well for picture-perfect rendering.

I tried it, Couldn’t see much of a difference either way so I went back to the default.

More details? Ask and you shall receive!

Firefox 3: Color profile support (oh the pretty, pretty colors) – blog

Firefox 3: Tweak Firefox to Display Richer Colors – Lifehacker blog

Gfx.color management.enabled - MozillaZine Knowledge Base

The Bits that Remain

Firefox Add-ons Site Gets Advanced Search – CyberNet news – I’m personally really loving the new advanced search feature in the Mozilla add-ons site.  You can really drill down the searches now. Saves me a bunch-load of time.

Yes, Firefox does Phone Home Everyday – CyberNet News. No real surprises here. I knew at least about some of the add-on checks for updates, browser updates check, and the download of the Google malware-attack-site file data.

Connections established on startup – Firefox - MozillaZine Knowledge Base. Even better details on those web-processes started in Firefox at launch.

Downloading JSON and JavaScript in extensions – MDC – don’t know why but I just simply found this an interesting read.

Quite a performance tonight!


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