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Earlier this evening, I was reminded of just how primitive the HTML5 support was in Firefox 3.5/3.6. While we have seen three major version releases since 3.5, it was actually still the latest version of Firefox less than 6 months ago (and was that way for almost 2 years). Therefore, Firefox 3.5.x still holds a decent amount of market share (probably as much as, if not more than IE6 did a year or two ago). Looking at a handful of websites for which I have analytics data, versions of Firefox prior to 4 still accounted for anywhere between 2% and 15% of the total visits to those sites last month. With all of that information, it’s probably still important to make sure your sites work in versions of Firefox as far back as 3.5.
There are two somewhat major gotchas in the way Firefox 3.x handled HTML5. The first is easily fixed with a few lines of CSS. The second can only really be fixed if you rewrite some of your HTML. Continue reading “Firefox and HTML5 Compatibility” »
Earlier today, Allen posted a story about Microsoft releasing a chart comparing IE8, Firefox 3 and Chrome (who knows which version). Following is my response to that chart. I would say that I’m disappointed not to see Safari included in this comparison, but since much of the comparison is spin and misinformation, there wouldn’t be much point. Continue reading “My Response to the IE8 Comparison Chart” »
We’ve reviewed a bunch of search plugins including SurfCanyon. A new search plugin for Firefox launched this week named Search Cloudlet. The Ukraine-based company is attempting to create a better way to search Google by adding a variety of functionality to the Google search results.
The main functionality of Search Cloudlet is to offer a variety of "clouds" that allow you to refine search results. The main cloud is a traditional tag cloud — the system takes the words on the Google results page and shows you a tag cloud. Clicking a word in the cloud reduces the results to those with the specified word. You can also select clouds based on site.
What’s interesting about Search Cloudlet is that their functionality works for the Google Blogsearch and the Google News search.
As with all plugins, and especially search plugins, the key is whether Search Cloudlet can gain enough traction and a userbase to gain momentum to grow.
Today is the big day – that’s right today is Firefox day! I have been waiting for weeks, have been practicing downloading, and even woke up early just to be ready. So I am all ready to download the Firefox 3 browser and be part of history – but the site is down. And when the Firefox site isn’t down, it’s pointing people to Firefox 2. To heck I say, let’s all go back to using Lynx – the world was a better place then – heck gas was 79c a gallon then.
If you are looking to download the Firefox 3 browser, here’s another location for immediate download we are told.
Don’t forget tonight’s party in NYC – I believe even if the Firefox/Mozilla sites are down, the party will still go on!
And check out:
- Corsin Camichel’s blog – he is liveblogging the entire event for the full 24 hours!
- Rafe Needleman at Webware is hosting a live chat
Update 2pm Eastern – the site is back and now there’s a groovy counter – there’s loads of numbers on the counter but nothing matches up so your guess is as good as mine!
It’s rare that we review plugins and extensions for Firefox but when I was perusing my feeds tonight (you know, the ones I’d pay a buck for), I noticed that Demo Girl (aka Molly) had created a video overview of a new extension called Morning Coffee.
The idea with Morning Coffee is simple: you want to open different tabs for different days. The issue with this extension is also simple: how many people don’t want to open everything every day? It’s not like an alarm clock that you have one setting for work days and one setting for lazy days. They do have a weekday/weekend setting that could have some potential as I may not care to open my stock tabs on the weekend or my TMZ during the week.
How would you use a tool like Morning Coffee? Are there sites you open only on specific days?
Here’s Molly’s overview of the tool:
In a recent post I wrote on MentallyRetired, I discuss Adobe’s recent decision to move all of their applications to the Web. I gave my opinion as to why this is a bad idea. In summary, the web can’t handle it. Code that is interpreted in multiple ways by multiple browsers will never be good enough because it’s too expensive to support. That’s the cliff notes version of my post.
In addition, I left the door open to a solution, as I always have in this discussion. Whatever the future of the web is, it will have to come in the form of a desktop install.
As if on queue, Mozilla released the windows version of Prism this week. Prism is intended to be a simple desktop viewer for your favorite web applications, but I believe it has the ability to become much, much more. Although browser based, Prism solves the issues I mentioned with web browsers. It does interpret code, but if your application was made to run in Firefox, then Prism will display it exactly as you intended.
Some might call me hypocritical because of how I bashed browsers in my previous post, but I hope they understand my point. Although Prism is pretty much a navigation-free browser, it is an application and it is based on one browser. If your application was made for Prism, it will run in Prism. All the power of the net funneled through a viewfinder that you intended it to be seen through. Additionally, because it’s a desktop installation, it has the power to do so much more. Offline storage, file system access, the canvas tag, and even more impressive… it can run XUL applications. I’m not sure yet if it’s possible to embed XUL inside of XHTML, but damn that would be powerful. Imagine a XUL based file upload form. (If you’re a developer, you’re salivating at this thought.)
Isn’t Mozilla already working on a standalone XUL platform, though? Well, yes, but XULRunner stands on it’s own because it already has things like DLL support, file system access and offline storage. Prism is more of a window through which to view web applications.
What I want to know is, will we start to see Prism-only applications? Will we be able to bundle their application as a download with Prism? All the things that Firefox supports are supported in Prism, so it makes sense that developers finally take advantage of the great standards support that Firefox provides.
Some will now criticize me and say "If people haven’t made Firefox-only websites already, why would they start just for Prism?" My answer to them would be to look at the delivery. Look at it from your grandma’s point of view. If she downloads this program and installs it, it works on her machine, plain and simple. If she were forced to download Firefox and start it up just to pull up a website, she probably wouldn’t. This is a very intelligent way for the team at Mozilla to get people to use Firefox, and a very intelligent way for developers to forget about cross browser headaches and get on with their development. This is very smart on Mozilla’s part.
"But the developers should be doing a better job!" you say. I agree… but the reality of it is that they are not. One application to read code that was intended for that application is going to be a lot smoother of a process, from front to back.
Overall, I think this is a great move by Mozilla. The only way I can see this backfiring is if Microsoft releases their own application in the same class as Prism, based on Internet Explorer. At that point we’d have to support multiple interpretations again… but that’s kind of the beauty of this. We can choose not to support the MS version, and people won’t expect it to work. By jumping straight to your application through Prism, it takes the browser-based ideology away from the user and makes them feel as if they’re using a real, solid application… and they will be.
Hats off to Mozilla for coming up with a possible solution to this ever-lingering issue.
James Thomas is a web developer and recent transplant to Orange County, California. By day, he develops websites for Oakley. By night, he programs websites and plots to take over the world, which is the same thing he does every night, Pinky.
News out of the Firefox camp tonight is that the browser has been downloaded over 400 million times. Very impressive. I guess next up is to pass 500 million or the half-a-billion mark. (yep, I did the math!).
One has to wonder if Microsoft had actually innovated IE over the years if Firefox would ever have been created in the first place. Who rememebers building a Web site for IE3 or IE4. Let's not even talk about Frontpage because it's a Friday night and I want you to enjoy the evening. Even today, IE has not really innovated, instead they just take features from other companies, jam it into IE and put that company out of business. While IE is now more "compliant" as a browser, I find that it crashes anytime I close it with more then 3 tabs.
FYI, in the last 7 days, 57% of visits to CN have used Firefox, 31% IE, 7.5% Safari and 1.6% Opera.
Congrats to the Firefox team and keep innovating so Microsoft has something to add into IE8. :-P