March 27, 2002

XML in Mozilla Script

XML Extras

The usage of XML is everywhere. The usage of XML inside the browser has been around for a while but not until lately has it been possible to get this to work in a satisfactory way in more than one browser. A while back Mozilla added support for creating MS compatible XML classes scriptable from JavaScript.

This script creates a common interface for Mozilla and IE and also extends the Mozilla classes a little to make them behave even more like the Microsoft interfaces.

Check the demo to see it in action.

Posted by pinder at 10:24 AM | Comments (3)

March 26, 2002

My little rant

pb writes: ...what's your all's thought on mozilla choosing to develop a suite rather than a browser? i contend that by scoping the mozilla project to include non-browsing components such as mail, news, chat, skins and compose, mozilla is at least 2 years late, remains inferior to IE and has nearly lost the battle...

Frankly, I'm really sick of this argument. I see it all the time, in usenet posts, email lists, weblogs (!), and slashdot *ugh*

Why am I sick of it? Because it's so wrong. That's why. Why is it wrong? Let me tell you:

1. Yes, instead of mail, anyone can use pine/outlook/eudora whatever, but I don't want to. I liked netscape mail, I've used it all my emailing life and I like mozilla mail. If they didn't include an updated mail client, I would be a very unhappy user.

2. Why spend valuable development time developing mail and composer? Because whether you like it or not, the browser component is built on top of a platform called XPCOM. Developing the mail and composer application has lead to the refining of the XPCOM platform more than just writing a browser component.

3. Why skins? Because Mozilla is cross-platform and most of the code that you write for cross platform applications is in the GUI, it makes sense to abstract that out as much as possible.

4. Chat? Someone else wrote that. It took no time away from the main Mozilla dev work and frankly I find it a clever addition that some was able to take a well written *application suite* and extend it to add useful functionality

5. If you just want the browser, use galeon or one of the other "just a browser" packages that have used the gecko engine for web surfing.

Frankly, Mozilla is NOT a browser, Mozilla IS a platform for developing cross-platform applications.

If they didn't write the mail/componse components and focused only on the browser only they may be ahead on the timeframe *slightly* but the overall offering would not be near as stable without that extra component development work and honestly, not nearly as interesting.

6. What does *2 years behind* mean anyhow? Does the magic "version 1.0" really mean anything at this point? I've been using Mozilla happily for a long time as my default browser.

7. Inferior to IE? Sure in some ways it is, in others it is superior to IE (popup ad's, image blocking, tabbed browsing, etc). Has IE really made any significant enhancements since version 5? No. IE 6 didn't really add anything new to the package, while Mozilla, thanks to the input of lots of developers has been adding lots of features that make it superior to IE (again tabbed browsing which was inspired by the MultiZilla MozDev project).

8. Finally, the Mozilla organization made a choice, they decided to develop a cross-platform application suite and then build the browser on top of that. That being said, there is no point complaining about that fact since it's way to late for them to rethink it now, nor should they.

Besides, five years from now, either pb will be right and Mozilla blew it, or we'll all be using the Mozilla platform (maybe even 1.0! :>) as our browser.

Posted by jeffp at 01:08 PM | Comments (7)

March 25, 2002

Eye candy is good (aka. More Mozilla Mail features)

Well, this one impressed me. Mozilla Mail now has a feature added to it called animated alerts.

What is an animated alert you ask? For all those who have used Hotmail w/ Messager (or apparently Yahoo mail), you're used to seeing animated boxes popping up from your taskbar (sorry Linux users) informing you that you have a new email.

Well, now this nice piece of gold-plating has been added to Mozilla Mail. A window will rise showing how many new pieces of email you have in your inbox.

This is a lot better than the previous method of an icon with a tool tip.

Posted by jeffp at 09:50 AM | Comments (5)

March 20, 2002

How to create bookmark groups in five easy steps

Mozilla has recently added the ability to bookmark a group of tabs. This way, when you select the bookmark group, all the bookmarks under it will open (i.e. four bookmarks opens four tabs)

Well, as neat as this is, there is no UI to actually turn this feature on. To get it working, you will need to edit your bookmarks.html file manually.

Here's how you do it:
1. Make sure Mozilla is not running
2. Open your bookmarks.html file and find the HTML code that defines a bookmark folder, for example:
<H3 ADD_DATE="961105105" FOLDER_GROUP="true" ID="NC:BookmarksRoot#$b8619366">Webtools</H3>
3. Add the attribute FOLDER_GROUP="true" to the <H3> tag
4. Save your bookmarks.html file and open Mozilla
5. Select your bookmark folder (now a group) and voila! All your bookmarks open in tabs.

Posted by jeffp at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2002

No more mispelled emails?

The Mozilla Mail spellchecker project has been going on for a while now, but I have finally got it to work!

I downloaded the latest version of it for the nightly builds and lo and behold! I can now spell check my emails.

Of course considering the fact that I keep downloading the nightly builds, I'm sure this won't last, but while it's working, I'm happy.

Posted by jeffp at 03:01 PM | Comments (0)

download manager appears!

Download Manager has finally showed up in the nightly builds, (Tasks|Tools|Download Manager). Take a look at a screenshot.

As you'd expect from something that's just showed up in the nightlies, there's not really that much to it right now. There are no (visible) prefs as of yet. When you click on a file to download, it's listed in the Download Manager, but the Save As/progress meter dialog box is also still there.

Posted by pinder at 01:48 PM | Comments (8)

March 15, 2002

New weblog tools for mozilla

Similar to the functionality in mozblog, Bloggenmoz allows you to post to Blogger-based weblogs via Mozilla Composer.

Jon Udell has an interesting post on this tool, and the status of Mozilla in general. Composer is often considered the forgotten component of Mozilla, but there is a lot of potential for intregration of a strong HTML authoring component into web applications.

Posted by at 11:34 AM | Comments (3)

March 13, 2002

Mozilla Mail no longer annoys me

I like email, I liked Netscape Mail, I really like Mozilla can't drag more than one attachment at a time onto the "Attachments" drop area.

This limitation was really annoying and was pretty much the last major frustration I *had* with Mozilla Mail.

I say had, because since March 12th, 2002, a fix for bug has been checked in.

Posted by jeffp at 08:17 AM | Comments (3)

March 12, 2002

Mozilla 0.9.9

0.9.9 has finally been released. in addition to lots of bug fixes and better stability, some of the other new features include:

- new methods for disabling popup and popunder windows
- improved View-> Page Info dialog
- full screen mode in Windows
- much improved Print Preview
- new Page Setup dialog
- SOAP support
- true type support for Unix
- MathML now enabled
- Venkman can now do Javascript profiling

Next up, 1.0.

Posted by pinder at 12:09 AM | Comments (1)

March 11, 2002

More on AOL using Mozilla

Following up on pinder's posting "AOL embraces Mozilla", here's a few things to think about:

1. When Netscape had a huge market share and IE had the better, but less popular browser, getting IE into AOL was a big turning point in the browser war. Will this mean the same for Mozilla? What will Microsoft's reaction to the loss of market share be?

2. AOL no longer has any dependancies on 3rd party (IE) technology for the core of it's platform, except that their user base mainly runs Windows. What's next? Buying Redhat and putting together a Linux distro running Mozilla? They could make a self-contained OS/Browser AOL system that is a one-step install on your computer.

3. Finally, the move to standards based web-browsing get's closer. What will this mean for web development across the web? No more frames (please!)? CSS for layout everywhere? I can finally use DHTML for more than just menus!?! Will the browser finally become a platform for applications?

Posted by jeffp at 10:28 AM | Comments (2)

AOL embraces Mozilla

Newsforge: AOL embraces Linux and Mozilla, plans to drop MS Explorer - "Sources inside AOL and Red Hat say AOL is making a major internal switch to Linux, and the long-rumored AOL default browser switch from Microsoft's Internet Explorer to Mozilla -- or at least Mozilla's Gecko rendering engine -- is well under way."

Soon AOL lamers across the country will be using a Gecko powered default browser instead of IE. Jokes aside, this could be a good thing, if it actually happens that is.

Posted by pinder at 10:08 AM | Comments (1)

March 09, 2002

mozilla crash in xp

I recently installed Windows XP. One word review: meh. I download the nightly builds of Mozilla, so of course it's prone to crash on occasion. I encountered this amusing error message recently:

mozilla.exe has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

Please tell Microsoft about this problem.

I think I'll click Don't Send.

Posted by pinder at 05:09 PM | Comments (2)

March 07, 2002

MachV, all your questions answered

MachV. You may have seen reference to it on newsgroups, bugzilla entries or some other Mozilla reference. But what is it?

Well, here's your answer. MachV is the internal Netscape plan for the next official Netscape release of Mozilla. It outlines a series of features, enchanements and targets that need to be met before the next release goes out.

There's all kinds of interesting infomation available in this document from performance targets to features.

If you like to know whats going on inside Mozilla or are interesting in what's up and coming, check it out.

Posted by jeffp at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2002

keyword searching

A lot of people have been creating bookmarklets and toolbars and that's great, but they usually only work in IE only. So here's a technique for Mozilla users: Custom keyword searches. It's best to illustrate with an example, so if i want to search "guns n roses lyrics" on Google, I just type:

gg guns n roses lyrics

in the location bar. Simple. And it doesn't use any toolbar real estate that custom toolbars or bookmarklet links would. It's a great feature for power users and you linux dudes who love command line interfaces.

To create these custom keywords, from the bookmark manager, create a new bookmark and enter the name and location. See the list below for samples. Unfortunately, when you create a new bookmark, it doesn't let you enter a keyword. To associate the keyword, choose Edit | Properties and add it there. Here's a screenshot of what my Google bookmark properties looks like. This should give you an idea if you're confused or haven't explained it properly.

Keywords I've got setup as well as examples of use:

Name: Google
Keyword: gg
Example: gg guns n roses lyrics

Name: Google Groups
Keyword: gs
Example: gs mozilla performance

Keyword: az
Example: az lateralus

Name: Domain WHOIS
Keyword: whois
Example: whois

Name: IMDB
Keyword: imdb
Example: imdb ben kingsley

Name: SNPP
Keyword: snpp
Example: snpp i found a moon rock in my nose

(i quote a lot of Simpsons)

Keyword: dc
Example: dc vapid

Name: Roget's Thesaurus
Keyword: ts
Example: ts obsequious

Name: w3 Validator
Keyword: w3
Example: w3

So to create your own, you just have to lookup how the search/lookup works and replace your search term with %s in the bookmark. As you can tell, this is very customizable and you can create one for whatever site you use most. Hope this was helpful.

Posted by pinder at 04:41 PM | Comments (33)