echo "hey, it works" > /dev/null

just enough to be dangerous

Mozilla authoring tools?


And speaking of Firefox ...

I just went to an interesting, if lightning paced, talk by Robert O'Callahan, who works for the Mozilla Corporation. He showed some pretty damn impressive SVG stuff in the Firefox 3 beta that I haven't seen before. He stressed that the point of Mozilla is to promote an open web, and part of that mission is to try to encourage developers to move away from using proprietary plugin based architecture, such as Flash and Silverlight, to do their cool stuff. That's all very well, but there are powerful authoring tools for Flash (I don't know about Silverlight) and not many for SVG. I didn't manage to ask the question, but I wonder if Mozilla would consider a foray into the world of authoring tools.

Firefox beta better, but still flawed


John Gruber has switched back to Safari after a dalliance with Firefox 3, and outlined some of the reasons for switching back. It's a feature comparison, and I don't know some of the Safari features or care about some of the Firefox shortcomings he mentions, but there isn't anything in his post that I disagree with. I've used Firefox exclusively for a number of years, and while there are definitely things about it that shit me, I can't see myself using any other browser any time soon. Gruber mentions the reason himself.

Perhaps the biggest difference between Safari and Firefox is that Firefox offers an official, supported extension API.

A host of incredibly useful extensions have been written using this API and, as a developer, there are some that I just couldn't live without, especially Firebug, and to a lesser extent the Web Developer Toolbar and Greasemonkey. Gruber says he suspects some developers browse with Safari and then move back to Firefox for development. That certainly wouldn't work for me, for two reasons. First, if you're moving between browsers—different shortcuts, different UIs, different metaphors—you're invariably going to be slower on both because there's extra cognitive load. Second, there isn't really much difference between my daily browsing and my development. I jump back and forth between things all the time, and that level of separation wouldn't work for me. My daily browsing overlaps too much with my development.

So, what shits me? I'll start off by agreeing with Gruber.

Location Field—The new Firefox 3 location field, the so-called “AwesomeBar”, is too clever. When I click the mouse in the middle of a URL, I just want to place the insertion point. I don’t want to select the entire URL. If I wanted to select the entire URL, I’d double-click. Click to place, double-click to select—just like any other text field.

[Update: Not long after I posted, and via Gruber, I came across an about:config change to insert the cursor rather than select the entire URL, as well as a post that goes through Gruber's list point by point and provides a justification for this behaviour that sounds pretty reasonable.]

Related to this is that if you're in the location or search fields and switch away from Firefox to another application, switching back selects the entire field. I was also bothered by the fact that if you start typing in the AwesomeBar and a match is selected from your history, and you backspace over the last part of the URL to, for example, go to a different page on that site, then hit enter, you don't go to the URL in the location bar but to the matched URL. Thankfully, this has been fixed in beta 5.

Firefox 3 adds a new inline toolbar for password saving, similar to the inline text search bar that both Safari and Firefox now have. This password bar is very slick — it’s small and non-modal, staying out of the way until after you’ve finished logging into a site, at which point you can decide whether you want to allow Firefox to save your credentials for this site.

I agree it's great that I can avoid saving incorrect passwords and that the page can be loading while I'm thinking about whether I want to save the password, but I used to be able to dismiss the modal window with the keyboard. Now if I want Firefox to remember my password I have to use the mouse. I don't like to use the mouse. If I'm wrong, and I can do it from the keyboard, someone please enlighten me.

Anyone else using the Firefox 3 beta and have things that shit them?

Mozilla Developer News » Blog Archive » Firefox 3 Beta 2 now available for download


Performance improvements such as: better data reliability for user profiles, architectural improvements to speed up page rendering, over 330 memory leak fixes, a new XPCOM cycle collector to reduce entire classes of leaks, and reductions in the memory footprint.

I've never written a big piece of software, so maybe this is an unreasonable question to ask, but how did 330 memory leaks get into Firefox in the first place? The Fox is definitely my preferred browser but it's piss poor performance has been bugging the shit out of me lately, and I have been considering using it only for development and using something else for day-to-day browsing. Performance boosts more than welcome.

The W3C Cannot Save Us


To get a better future, not only do we need a return to “the browser wars”, we need to applaud and use the hell out of “non-standard” features until such time as there’s a standard to cover equivalent functionality. Non-standard features are the future, and suggesting that they are somehow “bad” is to work against your own self-interest.