Removing Firefox, Re-educating Developers…

A lot of work is happening with respect to Firefox even though Ben is currently off in Kiwiland. It just seems that it’s work in removing stuff that’s happening lately. It’s been coming to light the various features that are being hidden due to not-ready-for-prime-time issues, which is valid in many cases. Not so in others. Thankfully, bug 256213 has been argued down for 1.0 (removing the menuitem for the JS console), but bug 213950 is still alive, and calls for separating the JS console for removal by Firefox 1.5, and being moved to the Developer addon where DOMI and other tools live.

But there are other somewhat interesting choices the Firefox team is making as well. Removing the Profile Manager UI, which will make testing profile issues a bitch. Really, this should be accessable through a command line switch only, as opposed to being removed altogether. Remove alternate stylesheet UI, which is debatable.Yeah, it’s somewhat buggy, but as Glazou has noted, it’s a requisite for CSS2 conformance. Maybe it’s better to try to fix some of the issues in the interim before release than cut it? After all, release has been pushed back to October 11 (and we know how good release dates are kept in this industry). There’s also the hiding of the buggy offline feature set (my favorite commend, “Removing features after the PR could have negative PR impact around 1.0. We should plan on doing this ASAP.“), removal of the bookmark notification panel, etc.

Now, I’m not saying all these are bad, some are good ideas (broken non-features). But I think that with the broken items being pulled, they’re pulling too much in this common-user focus. View Source _is_ a common user feature. No it’s not used by everyone, but it _is_ used by even the average user whey trying to figure out why a page is horribly mangled, not displaying, etc, even when they have no idea what they’re looking for or looking at. I have seen it myself working with common users in various capacities. The idea has been moved off the radar for now, but I think we need to help re-educate the developers before 1.5 and these become issues again.


  1. Brant Gurganus had this to say,

    August 25, 2004 @ 10:36 am

    The whole profile switcher thing is stupid. Profile manangement is the job of the operating system. As long as you use the correct API calls for the operating system on which you are running, it is transparent to create a new profile, just create a new OS users. While not as visible, Windows 9x has multil-user capabilities all the way up to windows XP.

  2. brewthatistrue had this to say,

    August 25, 2004 @ 12:10 pm

    What if one OS user wants multiple profiles?

  3. Joe Infla had this to say,

    August 25, 2004 @ 6:06 pm

    >View Source _is_ . . . used by even the
    >average user whey trying to figure out
    >why a page is horribly mangled, not
    >displaying, etc.

    No doubt everyone’s experiences differ, but average users I’ve encountered don’t try to figure out anything when a page is messed up. They view what they can, then move on to a different website. If they think that a new browser is the cause, they’ll switch back to the "devil they know" rather than adjust to even minor but novel problems.

    I’m even pretty tech-literate, but I don’t use any of the mentioned features in my everyday browsing. I use a stylesheet switcher very occasionally out of idle curiosity, and I use the profile manager & view source for testing. I think removing some of them (or even just their UI) can be a good direction to move in.

  4. Tristor_ had this to say,

    August 26, 2004 @ 1:30 pm

    Ergh, more removals? Well, that pretty much sets it, unless somebody (or if I ever get around to learning XUL, I will do it) makes an extension to add these things back in, I am never upgrading from 0.8, where I have all my beloved features. And jesus_x is right, average lusers do use view source. I have even caught my totally-computer-illiterate mother looking at a webpages source when it didn’t work right. It didn’t take me long to notice cause she yelled "Come here and tell me what this means!!"
    Additionally, there seems to be something wrong with the way nucleus logs users in. I noticed this on my blog as well..