Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Browser Bits

Some quick news primarily regarding Vivaldi and Firefox web browsers.


I’m still not anywhere near the point of using Vivaldi as a daily web-browser. But the development work on the snapshot and technical preview releases is coming on strong. There seems to be a new snapshot release once or twice a week.  It is fast and I’ve not encountered any fatal bugs yet. And that bookmark sidebar feature on a Chromium based browser can’t be beat by anyone except Mozilla’s Firefox. Release updates from the most current, downward.


I gotta say. I follow more than a few of the Mozilla Developer blogs and channels. I like the technical discussions particularly those that relate to security. But special thanks and credit is due to the color-commentary and analysis provided by The Guru over at Firefox Extension Guru's Blog. The Guru never fails to deliver additional perspective and context of issues with Firefox build features and sea-changes by Mozilla. While I may read some Mozilla news with a “oh, that’s interesting” a follow up post by The Guru leaves me with a “totally missed that detail & impact!” experience.

Mozilla recently released background on an internal initiative “Great or Dead” where they seem to be showing a desire to listen to their user base and re-evaluate the features baked into Firefox. I am NOT a programmer so I can’t begin to fathom the challenges of coding a complex and secure web-browser that keeps pace with the web standards while stretching for backward compatibility. That said, I would really like to see Mozilla return back to its early “hot-rodding” vision of a stripped down core browser that can be customized by the user via add-ons. I’m totally cool with forced extension signing (though provision of a two-key missile silo “override” about:config option would be helpful). All these “extras” are cute but can be addressed via add-ons. Maybe what Mozilla needs to do is a campaign about their add-on “store” to introduce the concept and help general (non-technical) users find and customize the core framework to their own needs. Or perhaps put together and showcase add-on “starter packs”; social-media pack, cord-cutter pack, pen-tester pack, etc. Yes there are collections, featured, and most popular pages already. But for a Firefox noobie these may be overwhelming.  Just a thought.

Get ready for some potential UI changes in Firefox 40 when it runs on Windows 10.

And while Mozilla seems to make some progress with Flash-security, they also seem to take several steps back by (currently) (bug?) stopping Silverlight from loading on Win64 builds but still allowing Flash. See The Guru’s posts for more perspective.

Pale Moon

OK. While I’m not “heavily” monitoring the Pale Moon project, I continue to glance at the project so that if -- sometime in the future -- Mozilla totally jumps the shark with Firefox feature development, I will have another familiar platform to switch out with.

I have a portable version of Pale Moon that I keep around but haven’t done any tweaking or extension adding at this point. It feels familiar but different compared to Firefox. Kinda like when it dark in the morning and a grab a pair of jeans to pull on and find they are the odd Wranglers I own in the stack of Levi’s.


--Claus Valca

1 comment:

FF Extension Guru said...

Thanks for the call-out. Yeah, I am getting a little (may be that is an understatement) annoyed/frustrate/irritated with Mozilla in what they are doing to our beloved Firefox. They've gone from doing "what's best for the user" to "just do it and we will deal with the angry lynch mob of users later'. The concept behind 'Idea Town' sounds good (though all the functionality they are considering should just remain as add-ons) but I have concerns as Mozilla has been very keen on listening to their users.

Here's some food for thought, Mozilla has done very little with Thunderbird and what they have done recently (enabling OAuth2 for Gmail and Maildir Mailbox feature) has actually benefited the users. No, dramatic UI changes, no integration of third party features, no crippling the capabilities of the application. Extra features/functionality can be obtained for add-ons. There are some quirks that need to be fixed such as Thunderbird assumes the account username/password are incorrect and prompts the user to re-enter this info when a POP server is taking too long to respond. But overall, Thunderbird users are still very happy because Mozilla has choose to for the most part leave Thunderbird as is.