Firebird Annoyances and the Charter

Sam Rowe:

"I'm really, deeply annoyed with Firebird. To make matters worse, everywhere I turn, everyone is lauding it as the best thing since scroll-wheels. So here goes..."

Mozilla Firebird 1.0 Development Charter:

"While the goal is to provide Firebird with a comprehensive set of tools useful to web developers by the 1.0 release, the browser is not specifically tailored to web (or Mozilla) developers, geeks of any denomination, etc. The idea is that for people using IE and wanting a bit more, for users of Mozilla who never touch 85% of the content of the Preferences dialog, users of Netscape 4 and other browsers - Firebird should fit like a glove."

Sam makes a lot of good points (no import, tabs lack built-in functionality) and a lot of points that won't be addressed because "thats how IE does it" (tools|options, keyboard shortcuts). The entire Mozilla Firebird 1.0 Development Charter is also worth a read.

» posted by pinder on October 22, 2003 at 02:02 PM


Whil he does have some good points, the main problem I have with his grpes is the fact that he has obviously used the Mozilla Suite since day one, and has just switch over.

I had all/most of those gripes too, but after a week or so of usage, I understood WHY Firebird does what it does, and why my Girlfriend now LOVES Firebird, and I could never get her to use the Suite.

The other standing issues like import and 'back" on the context I do understand.

All I can say is, I hope he has files those bugs, and I hope he is patcient enough to wait for FB 1.0

# posted by Jed

I can't agree with him enough about the "put a close button on the tabs" thing. Ever since I've used safari, that single close button waaaaaay over on the right just seems so wrong.

# posted by Matt Haughey

Install TBE and BAM, you've got a much better tabbed browsing experience. For a lot of people, the current functionality is just fine.

I've already filed a but about the poor wording choice of "Open Links in the background"

Keyboard shortcuts. Heaven forbid that they're not the same. If thats a top gripe then I'm certainly not worried.

Most people won't touch cache settings. Mindfuck someone else.

I'd really like to see some testcases of where javascript is different. Really. If there is a problem, get a debug build and post to Bugzilla.

I have no problem dragging URLs from tabs to the bookmarks toolbar. I'm not saying there is no problem. There was a big toolbar rewrite. Of course there will be some bugs. But it is hella more customizable.

It is a 0.7. Preference importing is a future thing. For someone that was so happy with the suite, how could he miss he be so clueless. Or is FB supposed to import IE cookies and preferences, too?

# posted by alanjstr

Posting as a newcomer to Mozilla and a refugee from an entirely MS world.

I have not yet downloaded Mozilla - too big, replacing too many things at once etc. OTOH Firebird 0.7 is an exellent replacement for IE - a few rough edges - but it is 0.7 .

So I would conclude that Firebird succeeds in what it sets out to do - provide a non intimidating, easy, expandable alternative to IE - which has enough going for it to make it my browser of choice.

# posted by Julian Brown

jed: middle click the tab to close.

# posted by pup

i mean matt, not jed. :(

# posted by pup

Some comments about these "annoyances"...

Open Links in the background

I agree with this point. I always thought this was a poorly worded preference. (It seems like the links will be loaded in background while you are reading the page, or something like this)

Keyboard shortcuts are different than Mozilla's

I don't think Firebird should be a mini-Mozilla. It's a different product, for a different audience. So, I disagree with this point.

Tools | Options

I think "Tools | Options" is way more standard than "Edit | Preferences", which was very Netscape-specific. I disagree with this point.

When using a web browser for development, caching can be a huge mindfuck. Please let me turn it on and off.

Hey, you should better develop your application with caching on, which is how your users' browsers will be configured! (Partially disagree, but an on/off switch could be useful)

Tabs lack built-in functionality

I disagree with this point: Firebird tabs are simple, yet functional.

Javascript bugs

I haven't encountered many javascript bugs in Firebird, but I guess bug fixes are always welcome. (Partially agree)

No Preferences/Bookmarks/Passwords/Cookies import from Mozilla

This is perhaps, the greatest annoyance in Firebird, IMO. I completelly agree.

Text Selection Context Menu Lacks "Back"

I never thought about this, but yes, it's a small annoyance. Agreed.

Just my 2c.

# posted by God

Yeah, soem more preferences would be quite fine... What I miss most is the setting to adjust the webpage language setting (to set, in which language the content should be send from the server)... Am I just too stupid to find it or doesn't it exist? If it doesn't exist, is there already a bug filed???

# posted by Markus

Open Links in the background
Maybe I'm wierd but this was completely obvious to me when I went looking for a fix to new tabs taking focus.
Tools | Options
This was explained by the Firebird developers and makes complete sense where it is.
Tabs lack built-in functionality
Close buttons on every tab? What's wrong with this guy? Middle-click open. Middle-click close. It just doesn't get any simpler.
No Preferences/Bookmarks/Passwords/Cookies import from Mozilla
I must be the only one who doesn't expect this feature at all
Text Selection Context Menu Lacks "Back"
Well duh! What does browser navigation have to do with selected text?

# posted by Hemebond

I'm sorry, but on Linux middle click doesn't close the tab.
Tools->Options makes no sense to any sane person except brainwased M$ monkeys.
Firebird developers should stop being so damn M$/Windoze centric and have in mind other platforms too, firebird in linux sucks.
And no, I wont use galeon or epiphany, both suck, both are bloated as hell, and both have loads of stupid Gnome dependencies.

# posted by K

Thanks for the link. :)

I thought I'd address some of the things that people have said here.

I've been using TBE for a long time (and don't even know what BAM is.) I addressed TBE in my gripe, so I don't know why you'd suggest it as if I didn't.

As to keyboard shortcuts, I think of MozillaFirebird as a Mini-Mozilla and I'm not sure why I shouldn't think that. It's a browser by the same people who made the browser I'm used to. Why change the keybindings?

Matt wants to see an example of JS differences, I welcome him to search bugzilla for the bug I filed about the Active PHP Bookmarks "bookmarklet" that worked fine in Moz but not in FB. (which, again(!), I mentioned in my gripe.)

Matt also suggests that since "most people" won't do something, we shouldn't have preferences for it. I can't say I can understand his point.

Matt then makes some smart-assed crack about importing IE preferences. I don't understand this logic either, since MozillaFirebird isn't made by Microsoft as a replacement for IE.

Pup says that FB is "for a different audience." Maybe I'm misinformed, but I was under the impression that the "suite" is going away. So that means that if I want to use a browser by the Mozilla folks, I need to use FB. So that makes me the audience. If you're going to force me into FB, I think it should be made as painless as possible. However, even if his/her assertion was correct, does that mean FB is targeted solely at IE users? If that's the case, I guess I need to start a browser project like Mozilla did 5+ years ago.

"Edit | Preferences" is Netscape specific? We need to tell the GNOME folks that then. Just because Microsoft does something, doesn't make it "standard." I've been using Netscape products since Navigator 1.0, so I think I'm entitled to gripe a bit when they change something needlessly.

As to doing web development with similar cache settings to a user, I'm not exactly sure what your point is. If I'm writing a web-based application and I make a change to fix a bug, and FB gives me cached results, I think I haven't fixed the bug. What this has to do with the end user who might eventually use my application, I have no idea.

Tabs are functional, but not much more. The things I'd like added are simple and shouldn't require a buggy, slow extension to work.

I'd like to see the FB developers' explanation of Tools | Options. When I see a "Tools" menu, I think of things like Venkman, not the preferences for the application I'm using.

As Hemebond said, middle click does not close tabs in Linux, which is the OS that I use, so that's what's wrong with me, I guess.

Navigation has to do with context menus, not selected text. It's *so incredibly easy* to select text in FB/Moz that it's done a lot by accident. The "Find" feature also selects text. If I'm browsing Google search results, searching for words, I'm not out to copy and paste, I'm out to navigate.

# posted by Sam Rowe

Since blogzilla places the comment poster's name at the bottom, you should be flaming alanjstr : )

middle-clicking tabs in linux goes to the uri in the clipboard, which is for me expected behaviour, 'right-click and left-click' works, but that, no doubt, will be too many clicks : )

# posted by cdn

Middle-click tab closings are possible in Linux, just not enabled as such by default. Add this to user.js:

user_pref("middlemouse.contentLoadURL", false);

# posted by hoot

Re: Individual tab close buttons
Could someone (Hemebond?) please tell me how I'm supposed to middle-click with my two-button mouse? It's by no means a universal standard to have a middle mouse button, so why make closing a tab dependent on it?
And no, I don't consider going way out right (and having to first select the tab I want to close) a solution.

# posted by Stefan right click on the tab and choose "Close Tab". It doesn't have to be selected/highlighted/active to work, either. Or do you object to more than one click to do anything?

Not one to be rude here, but why on earth are folks moaning about IE/Windoze stylings in Firebird? So the menu is under Tools/ what? Just click Tools/Options. You're wasting a hell of a lot more time whining about it than you would if you just got on with the job.

The world does NOT change because you are used to a slightly different way of doing things. If it did, my HTML skills would mean that I could get a job as a top C++ developer, as C++ would be the same as HTML. You dig?

Firebird is a very good browser, with some very nice features. If you don't like it, go and use something else.

Retro "I wish every mouse in the world had a finger extension to replace the end I lost as a child" Ken

# posted by Retro

"Edit | Preferences" is Netscape specific? We need to tell the GNOME folks that then. Just because Microsoft does something, doesn't make it "standard." I've been using Netscape products since Navigator 1.0, so I think I'm entitled to gripe a bit when they change something needlessly."

No. You are not entitled. Why? Because NOBODY CHANGED ANYTHING. Firebird is a DIFFERENT PRODUCT. It is NOT, and I repeat NOT Netscape, Mozilla, Opera, Internet Explorer, Konqueror or Lynx. It is a new, standalone product from the makers of Mozilla. Not a "Mozilla Lite". Why can't people get that into their heads?

Krontess "I've been on the internet for 8 years, so I think I'm entitled to moan about missing out on the dot com boom" Smith

# posted by Krontess

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