Gordon P. Hemsley

Linguist by day. Web developer by night.

Posts Tagged ‘Firefox’

Do you use Ubiquity?

Posted by Gordon P. Hemsley on June 16, 2010

As you may or may not know, Ubiquity is officially “on hiatus”. That means that the official Mozilla Labs team is not currently working on it at the moment. Unfortunately, when they made that decision, the latest released version of Ubiquity (0.5.4) was not compatible with Firefox 3.6.

Luckily, community member Satyr Murky (satyr) decided to keep maintaining Ubiquity (all alone!) and was able to bring it to a state where it works in Firefox 3.6 and even the latest trunk builds off mozilla-central (mostly). Satyr also fixed a number of bugs that were present, beyond support for the latest versions of Firefox. Unfortunately, none of Satyr’s fixes have been made officially: Ubiquity has been wallowing in dev-only land in an Hg repository, downloadable only from a BitBucket attachment.

But now Ubiquity 0.5.5 is just about ready (see bug 528417), and I’d like to see it get released. Who’s with me?

Do you use Ubiquity? Which version? (The older 0.1.x line works fine on Firefox 3.6—did you downgrade your Ubiquity?) Did you know about the developmental version? (Your add-on updater didn’t tell you about it, after all.) Or were you too scared to install it? Let me know in the comments.

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Online Video Editing Using HTML5 <video>?

Posted by Gordon P. Hemsley on April 30, 2009

This thought just popped into my head a couple a seconds ago, so I thought I’d throw it out there. Has anyone considered (or is anyone actively developing) an online video editing service that takes advantage of all the nice use features afforded by HTML5’s <video> tag? It just seems like it would be the perfect thing to do, especially with support in the upcoming Firefox 3.5 and Safari 4 releases.

Any thoughts?

Update: WTF? WordPress doesn’t automatically escape HTML symbols in post titles?!

Update 2: Nor does it support <small> tags in its posts?!

Posted in Mozilla, Open Source, Web Development | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Dropping Support for Mac OS X 10.4 in Firefox

Posted by Gordon P. Hemsley on April 27, 2009

When I posted in the topic on mozilla.dev.planning about dropping support for Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) in the next version of Firefox after 3.5 (to be powered by Gecko 1.9.2), I was merely trying my viewpoint as a user of that operating system that likes to use the cutting edge of Firefox versions. I wasn’t expecting to anything more than contribute to the discussion.

However, my buddy Google just alerted me that I had been quoted—sandwiched between two slices of Mike Conner (mconner) bread—by Gregg Keizer in an article for ComputerWorld:

“Overall I think there’s a lot of technical reasons why 10.5 should be a new baseline, and the number of users is small and diminishing in any case, so I definitely support this from the Firefox side,” said Michael Connor, one of the company’s software engineers, later in the discussion thread. Connor was the one who jump-started the conversation earlier this month about dropping support for Windows 2000 and versions of Windows XP prior to Service Pack 2.

Not everyone is keen on the idea, however. “Suffice to say, I will be very disappointed if I can’t upgrade to Firefox 3.6 or Firefox 4 next year,” countered Gordon Hemsley, a user who posted to the forum.

Even though he recommended dropping 10.4 support, Connor acknowledged that doing so will irk some Firefox fans. “Users will be [angry]. That’s just the way it works,” he said. “But a huge number of apps seem to be 10.5-only these days anyway, so we’re just another tree in the forest.”

How cool is that?

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Writing an Extension for Tab Sets

Posted by Gordon P. Hemsley on March 7, 2009

So, lately, I’ve been having problems with running Firefox 3.0.x on my MacBook Pro (which, admittedly, has been causing me many, many problems in the past couple of months unrelated to Firefox) in terms of speed and response time and whatnot. I’ve fairly certain it has something to do with the number of tabs I have open (which usually falls within the range of 75–100 tabs in my main window, plus a couple of other windows with fewer). However, running even more tabs (115+) on the latest Firefox 3.1b3 candidate build (build 2, as previously mentioned) doesn’t give me nearly as many problems. In fact, I think any problems it does give me are a result of Firefox 3.0.x slowing down my computer and confusing 3.1b3 into think it’s the one to blame.

But anyway, that’s beside the point. The point is, because of this large number of tabs, I’ve been looking to splitting them up into multiple windows. The thing is, if the computer’s not being slowed to a halt, I still have plenty of trouble finding the tabs that I want. It’s no fun having to scroll through 100 tabs to find what you’re looking for, after all.

So, I came up with the idea of writing an extension to have some way of managing what window is for what tasks (i.e. giving them names). Unfortunately (or fortunately, as it often saves me trouble), like every other idea I’ve thought of, someone has already created an extension that does what I’m looking for. This time, it was FireTitle.

The difference in this case, though, is that I’m not quite sure it’s tailored to fit exactly what I want to use it for. In fact, there are a number of problems with it:

  1. It doesn’t work with Firefox 3.1 (or, at least, hasn’t been tested for it).
  2. It only seems to get updated whenever a new version of Firefox comes out (i.e. it’s only been updated 3 times since it was created for Firefox 1.0).
  3. It doesn’t put the name of the tab set in the window title bar, only in the Window menu.
  4. It has a couple of other features I’m not interested in.
  5. It doesn’t save the information across sessions, a feature that was introduced in Firefox 2. (This is especially important, because I work continuously on the same set of tabs, independent of whether Firefox had to close for some reason. I don’t want to have to rename them every time I restart Firefox.)

On the flip-side of that, I’ve been wanting to write an extension for Firefox, but I haven’t had any good ideas to do it with. (Like I said, every time I come up with an idea, someone’s already beaten me to the punch.) So I think I just may go ahead with this idea. Or, at least, I’ll try to. I mean, I have a lot of stuff to do. But this should be useful for me, so that should drive me to do it. Another problem, besides time, would be learning how to do all the fancy code work. I’m a PHP coder, and I haven’t had sufficient experience with JavaScript to know everything by heart. Your help will be appreciated as I blog about it along the way.

I haven’t yet decided what I’ll call it, but it will be based around the concept of “tab sets”. As the term implies, these are sets of tabs group together by a common purpose. This might include “Firefox development” or “Fixing bug 487625” (a completely random number, as it were). This common purpose will also be reflected in the name of the tab set. (In these cases, they’d likely be identical.) So now on to the features:

  • As previously mentioned, named tab sets, possibly with more lengthy descriptions available somewhere.
  • Prepend tab set name to window title (which is followed by the browser branding on Windows, but not Mac; not sure about Linux)
    • Keep normal page title of frontmost tab of each window involved
  • Include number of tabs in the window title bar
    • Eliminates the need for the Tab Counter extension
  • Allow bookmark sets (folders) to be opened as a named window/tab set
  • Perhaps create a status bar button that would open (pop up) to give a list or thumbnails to bring a different tab set into focus (à la most multiple desktops applications). I’m imagining this in the lower left corner of the browser, by the way.

That’s all I’ve come up with so far. I haven’t yet started working on anything. I first have to look into the heart of FireTitle and see how they do it. Also, I don’t know quite how the features go across Firefox versions, but I’m going to be aiming this primarily for Firefox 3.1 (or, 3.5… grr…). If it turns out that’s not a big hassle to include Firefox 3.0 support, then I’ll do that, too.

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or answers regarding anything I’ve mentioned here, please comment. I’m looking for any and all feedback I can get.

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Working on the Cloud

Posted by Gordon P. Hemsley on March 6, 2009

This is just a quick post to note that I have recently been working with the lovely folks in #bespin (including Dion Almaer [dalmaer]) and helping them out with some minor stuff. I’ve filed a few bugs (namely, bug 481486, bug 481511, and bug 478610) and fixed another (bug 478446). The first bug was a quick fix regarding logging in, and was pushed live to bespin.mozilla.com rather quickly in the form of version 0.1.5 (“Nonchalant Nimbus+”). The second bug was actually fixed by another bug, which also fixed a number of bugs I’d noticed and mentioned in the channel, but never officially filed. The third bug still exists, but is probably still over my head, as it requires removing the display of lines in the area where the scrollbars would/should be. And that fourth bug was a quick regular expression fix to add support for plus signs and underscores in the e-mail addresses used to register on a Bespin implementation. The second and fourth bugs are currently only fixed in trunk, and I don’t know what the plan is for pushing them live. The third bug has yet to be fixed.

I’ve also taken the liberty (with dalmaer’s blessing) of porting Bespin’s README.txt file to MozillaWiki as the starting point for the Developer Guide (which was mentioned in the User Guide as an upcoming document). Work still needs to be done to move any relevant content from the User Guide to the Developer Guide, but I’m heading to bed, because I’ve got a plane to catch for home tomorrow afternoon. (Your help in the matter would be greatly appreciated, though!)

I do want to note first, however, that throughout all this I’ve been implicitly testing QA build 2 of Firefox 3.1b3 (to be released next week), and everything seems tip-top at the moment (with 126 tabs open, no less!).

Posted in Mozilla | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Firefox Bugs Housekeeping

Posted by Gordon P. Hemsley on February 15, 2009

With the help of Henrik Skupin (whimboo) of the Mozilla QA Team, I’ve recently been going through the old Firefox 1.0 and 1.5 bugs and closing the ones that have outlived their usefulness. The ones whose current usefulness remains questionable, I’ve added a comment requesting more information, and tagged the whiteboard with “[closeme <date>]”, where <date> is a month from today, in YYYY-MM-DD format. (There is an ongoing discussion on mozilla.dev.quality regarding the use of this tag, and whether it should be removed once the bug is closed.) There are currently over 300 bugs filed against old Firefox versions, so I could use some help with this task, if anyone is willing (and able).

I’ve also taken it upon myself to go through and re-categorize recent bugs that have been filed with version “unspecified”, whenever possible. (Sometimes, there is not enough detail in the bug to determine which version it belongs under. Other times, it falls under multiple versions.) I’ve created a saved search (available to those with “editbugs” status) called “Recent Firefox Bugs Needing Version Sorting” to help simplify this process. (This link goes to the recreated, public version of the search. Visit your preferences to turn on my shared version.) I don’t know how important of a task this is, and I don’t do it too often, as the volume of new bugs of that nature is just overwhelming, but I’m sure it couldn’t hurt if other people chipped in to help.

So this is one of the first steps I’ve taken to try to make myself useful to as many people as possible. Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you, or if you’d like to help me in my process.

Posted in Mozilla | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

My Foray into Mozilla Education

Posted by Gordon P. Hemsley on February 14, 2009

I’ve recently rebooted this blog based on a suggestion by David Humphrey (humph) of Mozilla Education (wiki) during a discussion in #education. I’ll now be using it blog about my endeavors across the Internet related to software development (particularly the open source kind), as well as any other coding experiences I may have (including website development).

I’m excited to get involved with Mozilla Education, because that means I’ll be able to put my new Linguistics major to work (I’m currently attending the University of Vermont), while also building upon my 10 years of web development—not to mention being able to contribute to a community that I’ve been following and wanting to get involved with for those same 10 years. (I used Netscape 4 back in the day, was thrilled when Netscape 6 came out, soon switched to Mozilla Application Suite, and was finally convinced to switch to Firefox, where I’ve been ever since.)

In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be working with humph and others to decide where I’ll best fit. He suggested that I start with getting familiar with Ubiquity, so that I can perhaps help with their development of their natural language processing engine. He also mentioned the possibility of improving the tools that the localization team uses to translate Mozilla products into languages other than English, particularly via the Web. In the meantime, though, I have to brush up on my JavaScript, because it is an integral part of most Mozilla products, especially Ubiquity.

So I hope this will be a good experience for me, and I hope that I will be able to contribute something that other people will consider useful in the course of their using (or developing) Mozilla products.

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