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.


Accessing an Outside Server and AJAX

So in a recent discussion in a thread over at RT has called for the use of AJAX, and suggestions to other features that would access an outside server for data. Now I did not comment in this thread mainly because it was not the appropriate place to be discussing this, so I’d like to make a few points here.

While the use of AJAX makes a really neat user interface, it often makes a site almost impossible to use for those with disabilities. Since I’m a web developer, I’m more concerned with accessibility that I am with “bling” because what really matters is that everyone can use it, and not just those who are not disabled. Disabled people are people too, but many people don’t seem like they care at all.

There is also another reason why I do not want to use AJAX. The site developers, Corporate Green, specifically told me:

There’s no proper way to access the stie to do that. Without being signed in, and spamming the site, which would cause performance issues on the site, increase time online, and likely end up being something we’d have to break on purpose.

I’m trying to cooperate with the site developers, and I will not go against that for any reason. I’ve been in communication with them to get some API’s to do that (also have an alert service, which would rock). API’s are great because they use significantly less bandwidth, although may take as much server processing power. Now, if I find ways to implement things that are both accessible and do not hurt the servers, I’ll be glad to implement it.

The other big issue is accessing an outside server to retrieve data. I have two main concerns for using my server for additional services and features. The first of which is that it makes more requests from the client, and I’m trying to make this extension more useful for those with low bandwidth connections. The second is the issue of data being sent to my server. Users may not like that as most people won’t be able to view the source and see exactly what is being sent. Sure, I can say that I am not doing anything malicious, but I don’t expect everyone to take my word (although I’d like them too). I would like feedback on this issue, as I will not do this until I get feedback from users.

I’m also open to any other constructive feedback on the Rooster Teeth Site Extender, as development for version 1.1.0 is ramping up. Your opinion does matter!



The call has been made to delay the release of RTSE until January 1st, 2006. There is one big thing that we feel we need to have done before release, and it just isn’t ready yet. We want to deliver a high quality product, so we’ll take our time and not rush it out the door.

What does this mean for you? Well, it means you will have to wait about a week and a half more than before, but you’ll get a better extension for it. This feature is a first install wizard to help everyone get it setup the way they want it from the get-go. While you can change settings at anytime, most people will probably want to set it and forget it. It was Brandon’s idea to begin with, but everyone likes it, so we are going with it.

With the extra time added now, Mike is going to work on the help file for the extension as well, so the user can always look up how to do something within Firefox. I’m not sure how many people plan on using this, but it seems like a good idea too. There shouldn’t be anymore delays for the release of 1.0 after this one.

Extensions Personal

Web Site Work and Extensions Update

More work has been done with this website as I get it ready for the release of RTSE. You won’t see a lot of these changes unless you know what you are looking for because things are deliberately hidden right now. Don’t worry though, soon enough I’ll be releasing it to the general public. Beta1 is already underway, and several bugs have already been reported and fixed. We are still trying to add support for the editor to look ‘right’ when you have a theme enabled, but there are still some issues with that. It may or may not work by the time we release the extension, but we’ll get it in on a future version if it doesn’t.

As for things you can see that have changed with this site, I’ve added an about page which has very little about me. I’m never good at talking about myself, so if you think I should add something, let me know. Soon to come will be the contact page, which will have more contact info than just me.

This upcoming break, once RTSE is released, I’ll be revamping the Orion/Oxford Soccer League’s web site to allow the administration to post news entries, announcements, or other various things. I’m thinking that a WordPress thing might work out very well. I will probably put up a forum as well. Maybe with a new site look, people will post in it. Probably not, but it still allows for another avenue of communication between the players’ families and the administration.

The ETA for the release of RTSE is December 24. Until then, keep checking back for updates!