Saturday, October 04, 2008

Fresh Firefox musings – And Shiretoko

Warning: Firefox Linkfest to follow.

I’ve long been a user of the Firefox “nightly” builds (see Resolving a “Nightly” Firefox Issue…) and generally haven’t had any bad experiences in using them.  I enjoy seeing and playing with the latest advancements and features and the “bugs” seem pretty few and far-between.

I almost always stick to the Minefield builds rather than Gran Paradiso.

However, as occasionally happens, it all comes crashing down around my head.

Meet my new friend - Shiretoko

Two or three late-nights ago I noticed I could no longer drag-n-drop HTML links from out of my Thunderbird email client onto the Firefox/Minefield window and get the page to load.  In the end I had to copy the link location in Thunderbird and paste it into the address bar.

This was a real issue as I will often collect a number of promising links at work during the day and as my RSS feeds are a bit different at work and home, I will have to send them to myself to make sure I include them for posting.  The first few days this wasn’t too big an issue. More of a nuisance.  (It was happening on my XP system, so it wasn’t a Vista UAC thing.)

However things went from bad-to-worse.  I then found that later nightly updates would crash Firefox when I attempted to drag a tab onto my bookmarks sidebar or into  bookmark toolbar location.  The only way I could add bookmarks without crashing my system was to right-click the tab and add them that way.

I thought my profile might have become corrupted so I blew it out after copying a few key files (userchrome.css, textview.css (NewsFox thing), and did a Bookmarks backup to a JSON file).  That didn’t help.  Then I uninstalled Firefox, Minefield, and Gran Paradiso as well as their user profiles. And rebuilt them all, including a number of about:config entries. For instance, forcing a link to open in a background tab. (Sigh).  Didn’t help.

Sure the latest public release of Firefox (3.0.3) worked just fine and was very stable, but I still missed the performance and features that Firefox 3.1.x builds contained.

In the end I decided to go with the Shiretoko Alpha 2 build.  It is now at Alpha 2 release.  It is basically another development fork towards Firefox 3.1.  It has all the stability I am looking for with (most) the feature-sets of the Nightly Minefield builds of Firefox.

So far it has been running great and is very stable.  Whew.

Firefox and Mozilla Linkage

Here are the collection of neat and interesting Firefox (and one Thunderbird) links I have collected during my down time.  Might be old-news to some of you.

Bug fixes, more languages and… Gmail in Firefox 3.0.2 - Mozilla Links.  Woot!  Now I can use my Gmail client for email’s back. This is an issue as I often want to email folks using the weblink, but that normally ties into my “private” Thunderbird client email.  Don’t want to be sending too many folks email with that one.  This now allows me to use my Claus V. account instead on the fly.  Nice.

Quick Firefox update on its way to fix saved credentials access issues - Mozilla Links – Thus causing the quick release of Firefox 3.0.3 that followed.

Overhauled tabbed browsing for Firefox 3.1 - Mozilla Links.  This actually is a feature that showed up one day in the Minefield Nightly versions of Firefox I had been using.  At first I didn’t like not having my trusted “new-tab” icon in the toolbar and this strange “+” tab thing felt weird. Also when I closed the only open tab, Firefox Minefield would close out entirely.  Once I got used to it however, I really enjoyed using it.  Much more intuitive, and as the post points out, a few about: config tweaks can change this behavior back to the old-style.  Unfortunately, Shiretoko Alpha 2 doesn’t include this feature-set in it just yet. So I’m back to the “normal” tab experience in Firefox for now.

Private mode back in Firefox 3.1 plans – Mozilla Links – IE8’s gonna have it, Safari has it, Even Chrome’s got it; Porn mode private web-browsing mode.  Now it looks like it’s going to be a done-deal for Firefox as well.  My vote for the UI signal is like IE8’s.

NewsFox is now out with NewsFox 1.0.4rc1 release version.  This isn’t the stable public release but I like it all the same.

Mozilla-based Sunbird and Lightning calendar apps hit 0.9 - Download Squad.  I don’t talk much about our email client Thunderbird. It just works spectacularly.  That’s about it.  I don’t have any add-ons for it at all except Lightning which I use as a handy calendar tool (like Outlook).  Why this is as I also have Rainlendar loaded on my desktop and use it for task and event reminders is beyond me, but anyway, Thunderbird just seems lacking without its presence.  The updates in this new version are substantial and I really like them.  More Lightning and Sunbird 0.9 released notes at Mozilla Links.

Breaking Mozilla News Sources

The following locations are my prime-sources for news on Mozilla happenings.

If you are a Mozilla/Firefox fan, you might want to bookmark or RSS feed a few.




Nathaniel said...

I heard about the new tab button. I actually wanted a new tab button from using Chrome, so I installed the extension New Tab Button on Tab Right. Works like a charm, and automatically sets tabs as always visible once installed. One note: you can't close Firefox by closing the last tab... it just keeps a new tab up.

Nathaniel said...

oooops... one more thing: the Gmail thing was possible in Firefox before, you just had to add it yourself... but you might have known that already.

Claus said...

@ Nathaniel - The Mozilla Links post says that this tab feature is in the nightly builds of Shiretoko, but it hasn't yet made it into the alpha versions just yet.

New Tab Button on Tab Right 0.5.6 does look similar and provides the same functionality in a well-integrated manner.

I found Basics 3.0.1 which is close and will try it out.

New Tab Button on Tab Bar looks very similar.

Fancy Numbered Tabs looked interesting as well.

And no, I didn't ever realize that I could have set up the "old" Firefox with a "use Gmail" option for email links.... ;)