2.0’s “Addons Manager”

I just got the latest build of Bon Echo, the alpha build of Firefox 2.0, and noticed a nice new feature called the ‘Addons Manager’. For what I can tell, it is a combination of the theme manager and the extension manager from previous versions of Firefox. I imagine that this could be expanded to include things just as the Flash plugin, Java plugin, etc. This is all a part of the visual refresh that is planned for Firefox 2.0. Here’s a screenshot:
Screenshot of the Addons Manager

The nicest thing about it is that there is now an options button associated with the extension, instead of down below. People always seemed to miss it before, so now it’s a bit more obvious.

Code Firefox

My First Bug

That’s right! My first bug reported for Firefox, bug 331807.

The bug has to deal with a security error that isn’t an error in the current version of Firefox, but is an error in Bon Echo, the alpha release of Firefox 2.0. It’s a good thing that I test these things, as that would have been a big monkey wrench once 2.0 came out. I’ve found a workaround for it, but I fear that the workaround leaves the same security hole open that was patched in Bon Echo.

Regrettably, it also happens to be bug that kills the main feature of my most popular extension, RTSE. It will also kill the main feature in an extension I’ve been planning to make. Can we say ‘Curses’ anyone? Of course, this won’t affect Firefox 1.5.0.*, so those of you who uses the stable builds of Firefox will have nothing to worry about for some time.

I’ll keep updating this in the comments for anyone that is interested.

Code Firefox

The a ping Attribute

There has been a recent outcry from many users of Firefox when it was learned that developers implemented the ping attribute for the a element. Personally, I think people are overreacting, and I hope to present a list of reasons why this is a good thing as opposed to the ‘evil’ thing that many are portraying it as.

For background information, this attribute is spec’d out by WHATWG, who, as stated on their website, are “a loose unofficial collaboration of Web browser manufacturers and interested parties who wish to develop new technologies designed to allow authors to write and deploy Applications over the World Wide Web.”

The ping attribute is supposed to allow tracking of what links a user clicks on. Now, many might say “Woah, I don’t want my clicking to be tracked!” However, I can assure you that many websites already do this. The catch is that they don’t exactly inform you that they are doing it. The idea of this spec is to make this easier for developers to do, but at the same to have User Agents (i.e. browsers) give the user options. The whole spec can be found here, but in summary, the benefits of this attribute to the user are numerous.

  • It will allow the user to see the final target location plainly
  • It will allow the user to disable the notifications without losing the underlying link functionality (many methods that currently accomplish the same goal will break if the user disables javascript)
  • It will allow the browser to send the ping when the user isn’t actively loading a page so that the target page loads faster

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems to me that this is a good thing. By making things easier for developers, they’ll probably use it (especially once a few other browsers pick it up), and by doing so give the users more control over their privacy. It seems as though most people just pick out the fact that it is now easier for websites to track where you are going, and are completely overlooking the fact that it gives the user a lot more control. Even with this though, I think most people probably won’t care, but will get the added security of easily knowing when they are being tracked. For me, that is significantly better than the current situation on the web.