firefox nitpicks

When I mentioned I was switching from epiphany to ffox, I mentioned that I thought that epiphany still offered a better basic user experience. A couple friends asked me to elaborate, so here is an unordered list of things gathered over several days:

  • printing dialog: ephy’s is native; ffox’s is not native in Ubuntu’s build, and I hear it is even worse in the stock build. Not a huge deal, just ugly.
  • window icon: I found it very nice that ephy used the favico as the window icon; it was useful for finding relevant windows when alt+tab-ing.
  • history in new tab: when you open a link in a new tab in ephy, it inherits the history of the previous window, so that the back button works as you’d expect. This doesn’t work in ffox, and it drives me nuts.
  • direct bookmarks from url bar: in ephy, the url bar autocompletes not just from your history but from your bookmarks. This is huge once you’re used to it. (I hear fixing this is in the pipeline for ffox 3.)
  • bookmarks, generally: the hierarchical folders thing is so ’70s. Thankfully, ffox has the delicious bookmark plugin that rips and replaces the default ffox bookmarks, but by default ffox feels dreadfully primitive here, and even the delicious plugin feels clunky on occasion. (Again, I hear this is being fixed, but it should be a high priority.)
  • theming: I realize this will never really be fixed (unless GNOME switches to XUL) but it is still irritating that changing my GNOME theme does not change my firefox theme as well. The pseudo-themes people have put together are close but still irritating.
  • clutter/organization: not that ephy is perfect on either of these points, but I would love to see lots of ffox preferences nuked and some reorganization. Maybe I’m just too boring, but I never realized when I was using epiphany that one would want an entire page of preferences for tabs. (A ‘tab mode’ was mooted about on the ephy developer list, which made sense, but that was one checkbox, not six.) And I’d never think to find my list of cookies under preferences- that is a list of data; it should be under edit or view, not preferences.
  • polish on the little things: ffox has lots of things that feel like they were implemented slightly half-assedly- the hypothetically cool autocomplete from the search box, for example, is often useless (at least on a 1024×768 screen) because it shows you the text you’ve already typed, and all the suggested completions are hidden behind hyphenation. Suggested completions in the URL bar have similar issues- I get neither enough of the URL nor enough of the page title to actually be useful; just an often-identical fragment of each. These aren’t a big deal, but when you add up lots of little things like this, it gives the impression that ffox does not care much about polish, which will hurt them in the long run.

There are more, I’m sure, but now I’ve been using it too long to remember them :/