Regular users of the Mozilla web browser Firefox (FF) will doubtless be aware of its flurry of software upgrades in recent months. After standing still at version three for what seemed liked years, we are suddenly up to version six, with number seven probably due any minute now.
While I’m all for regular upgrades, which are necessary in an ever changing web environment, there is a feeling that Mozilla is rushing through upgrades simply to bump up its version numbers. For instance is there really any significant variation between version five and six of FF, aside from the version number?
FF, for those not familiar with it, ships as a relatively simple web browser. Users then have the option of installing add-ons, or plugins, which would be a little like smartphone apps, that extend the browser’s functionality. Rather than ship with a pile of components no one will use, FF allows a user to pick and choose the features they want.
There is certainly some merit in the idea. The problem of late though is that many of these add-ons, which again like smartphone apps, are usually made by third party developers rather than in-house, are often left incompatible with the newest version of FF, rendering the browser only partially functional.
Firefox updates on the other hand, are of the most obnoxious variety intrusive, inconvenient, and obstructive. It forces the user to make a choice to upgrade, forces the user to stop browsing then insists on taking a very long time to upgrade. Most intrusive. Once upgraded it disables most the plugins as they are not yet compatible, thats the real catch, with the auto disable of all plugins till they are compatible I’m left with a version of firefox that basically doesn’t work for me.
With FF pushing out so many apparently major upgrades, add-on developers are struggling to keep up. No sooner have they modified a plugin to suit one version of FF, when along comes another upgrade. Allowing add-ons to run in some sort of “quirks”, or backwards compatibility mode, would surely make things easier for all concerned.
If Chrome, the Google produced browser, which is also going through a rapid series of upgrades at the moment, can do so with virtually no disruption to the user, why can’t Firefox?
HTML 5 will allow web designers to create rich internet applications without needing to utilise third party applications such as Flash and Silverlight, as has been the case up until now.
One of HTML 5’s goals is to move the Web away from proprietary technologies such as Flash, Silverlight, and JavaFX, says Ian Hickson, co-editor of the HTML 5 specification. “They’re single-vendor solutions [and] they don’t really fit well into the Web platform,” Hickson says. “It’s always a problem when you’re stuck with a single software provider – what if they decide to abandon the product you’re using? What if they decide to start charging? With an open platform, there’s no such risk, since we have true competition, many vendors, and an open standard that anyone can implement.” Hickson adds, “It would be a terrible step backward if humanity’s major development platform [the Web] was controlled by a single vendor the way that previous platforms such as Windows have been.”
A swag of ways to block the DiggBar have been posted up at Daring Fireball over the last couple of days, and there are “fixes” for most of the widely used blog CMSs. There’s also some PHP you can add directly to your files should you feel so inclined.
But unlike normal URL shortening services, when you load these Digg URLs, rather than redirect you to the original URL, Digg loads a page which frames the content of the original site. As a user, what you see is that the URL in your browser’s location field remains digg.com/1234, and the content of the destination site loads underneath a Digg-branded toolbar. This, of course, is total bullshit.
Suggestions For Plugin Standards.
A suggested standard, or set of guidelines, for the writers of WordPress plugins to consider.
Your blog should be as creative as you want it to be when it’s blogging but it needs some standardizing when it’s about technical content, like plugins. A lot of plugin authors are already good about how they prepare their downloads. Establishing a standard, however, is mostly for the user.
According to the WP plugin page there are some 1,457 plugins (as of time of writing) out there. That could mean 1,457 different ways of writing them. Some discussion on standardising the plugin creation process might be a good idea.
Uninstall – Is There Such A Thing?
Some plugins do linger it seems.
When you think of uninstall, do you think of completely removing something? The official definition for the word is as follows, (uninstall) To remove completely from a system. I ask this question because I have discovered a problem that needs to be addressed by WordPress plugin authors.
Over the lifespan of a WordPress installation, there may be a number of plugins that are installed and subsequently uninstalled. Typically, the installation of a WordPress plugin consist of uploading files, folders and then activating the plugin within the admin panel. However, some plugins include a bonus. These are the plugins that create database entries either in the form of tables or data.
As a WordPress user I am often upgrading plugins which means uninstalling the existing version. I am sometimes a little miffed by the lack of documentation when it comes to upgrading a plugin.
Like do I need to do something with the database when uninstalling and/or upgrading? A full set of instructions wouldn’t go amiss. Too much information is better than not enough in instances like this.
Combining the creative with the technical. You’ll see a lot of that around here!
- WordPress guy: since disassociated.com is all newly wordpressed I thought I’d point out this resource of all things wordpress. If there’s some functionality you want on your WP blog then there’s bound to be a WP plugin that can do the job. And WordPress guy a.k.a. Steve is pretty adept at tracking down those plugins!
- Antbag.com is the blog of Anthony Baggett who is also a wordpress buff, and has developed a few of his own WP themes. If you’re looking for WP templates with a clean and straightforward appearance this is the place to go.
- Designers who Blog: years ago I wrote about the apparent “polarisation” between web designers and the then emerging camp of bloggers, that seemed to exist in around 1999-2000 (not 2003, when I wrote that post by the way). I’m not quite sure what prompted me to write that piece though. Er, if you don’t remember web design in 1999 it means you were there, perhaps?!? ;) Polarisation? You’d never guess it by looking at Designers who Blog though. And, yes, there are some stunning examples of designers who, yes, blog!
- Lost At E Minor is an Australian publication, with a global focus, that features just about anything, it seems, that is creative. Originally starting life as an email newsletter with a private readership in 2005, Lost At E Minor is now everywhere! If you have time read my OnVoiceOver profile/interview with Zac and Zavos, the Lost At E Minor founders, from last year.
- Tim Rudder.com is the blog, photoblog, and portfolio of expatriate Australian, Tokyo based, web designer Tim Rudder. If you guessed the photos were my favourite section of his website, then you were right!