firefox nitpicks, revisited

[I’ve studied an immense amount the past 38 hours; this is a brain break while watching the terrible but enjoyable Gladiator.]

Someone recently linked to my old post on firefox nitpicks; I’ve also been using firefox three this week. Time to revisit…


  • direct bookmarks from url bar: ffox’s new ‘awesomebar’ is really quite nice. Finally caught up to ephy :)
  • bookmarks, generally: tags! woohoo! again, ffox catches up.
  • theming: new ffox is impressively integrated with gtk/gnome themes. There are some details that aren’t right- HIGginess generally- but still, overall, very impressive- can’t have been easy.

Not fixed/improved:

  • printing dialog: still not native; gets more painful now that the gnome printing dialog exposes lots of cups functionality. (Who knew my printer could do double-sided printing? Sadly, ffox still doesn’t, though apparently epiphany doesn’t expose the full functionality either.)
  • history in new tab: still doesn’t work. Yargh. At least there is a plugin.
  • window icon: booo.
  • clutter: seems to be about the same, overall. Still really should follow epiphany’s lead of separating preferences and personal information.

Ahead(?) of epiphany:

  • prism: prism is awesome; ephy should have done something like it ages ago. (Not actually integrated into ffox3 yet, but… details.)
  • speed: I actually have no idea how fast ephy is these days, but I can’t ever remember having a browser launch as fast as ffox3 does. Very impressive. Probably helps that I’m back to nearly-no-plugins state as a result of the upgrade.

The ffox guys should be proud- this looks like a very nice release, if still not perfect.

15 thoughts on “firefox nitpicks, revisited”

  1. Focus stealing! It allows javascript to yank focus from the url bar or a password entry, while you are typing.

  2. and, obviously, it still has that horrid habit of dropping you into a file chooser inside /usr/bin for choosing the application binary for opening an unknown file type.

  3. ## printing dialog: being worked on! will probably not make it into FF3, but it is on the radar. See Bug 193001

    ## history in new tab: what? sure this works…

    ## window icon: will probably be fixed for FF3. cross fingers ;)

  4. Michael: tab history definitely doesn’t work here. To be clear, what I mean is that I right-click on a link, select “open in new tab”, and then I expect when that tab opens I should be able to hit ‘back’ to go back to the page I started from. (For those seeing the problem in ffox2, the fix is the tab history addon.

    Havoc: I haven’t noticed it, but maybe that is in part because I’ve been (mostly) using desktop effects, which means I’m fucked on focus anyway. Can’t wait for iain to finish giving a proper window manager the necessary 3D features.

    Emmanuele: You’re right, but I didn’t bother to comment on it because I think all the distros have a patch for that. Why it isn’t upstream I have no idea.

  5. The javascript focus problem bites me all the time since I use google as a home page. Creating a new window and hitting Ctrl+L lets you start entering a new address, but if loads slowly then its javascript grabs focus for the search box while you’re typing.

    Also, I’ve had problems with text boxes and focus. If you are ctrl-tabbing through tabs and you hit a page with focus in a textarea, you get stuck on that page until you switch the focus to another element.

  6. Regarding “speed”, when Epiphany starts using Gecko 1.9 (the version coming with FF3) it will take more or less the same amount of time to launch both browsers. Saying “FF3 loads faster than epiphany” does not really make much sense, the differences will be always quite marginal until Gecko is so massively optimized that the bottleneck starts to be the UI/other bits, which the browsers don’t share.

  7. Xan: awesome. So now epiphany has to ask ‘why us’? I’m afraid being a slight bit faster and a slight bit better integrated isn’t the answer- it needs to figure out some really innovative bits that firefox can’t do (or can only do slowly) to leap ahead. Doing prism in a more gnome-y way would be one such thing- I still strongly suggest it.

  8. Luis: very true. I honestly don’t think it’s possible to beat Firefox in their own game with the manpower Epiphany has. My personal opinion is that Epiphany/WebKit could give the project the differentiator it needs and the ability to do some deep integration that is far from easy to achieve with Gecko. That’s why I’m spending my free time hacking on that, but of course it’s only my personal opinion.

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