Everyone’s lost their mind

The more I think about it, the more I’m thinking Firefox 1.0 is very ambitious. It’s a worthwhile goal, but I think it’s being rushed slightly. Leading to people being very loose with the knives and willing to cut things out. So far victims include the ever so popular offline mode, and now everyone’s favorite (and as Daniel Glazman points out required) CSS switcher. Those spared from the knife have been the JS console and the Mozilla Lizards Gonads (the gonads is rumored from good sources, but so far the bug is set as a protected bug so we can’t view it).

Mozilla needs offline mode. It’s crucial to laptop users. It’s an extremely popular thing, especially in the workplace. If we are going to expect businesses to adopt Mozilla for more security (than IE), and deploy it to all their users. We need to parity the popular features. Offline Mode being one of them. This is used all the time by office workers with laptops. This will block corporate adoption of 1.0 by most potential converts.

Then we have the CSS switcher. An extremely popular tool. Something many bloggers (who are a big contributor to promoting Firefox) have been raving about, since it lets them theme their site. Now we are pulling that out from under them, right before we really need everyone to kick up the effort to promote Firefox. Then of course it’s mandatory in CSS2.

I’m not questioning the Mozilla Foundation as much as the timeline itself. If such popular and necessary features are removed from 1.0, is it really worth calling it a production worthy release? Or should we have another development cycle, then do a beta, public beta, and release. I’m personally of the opinion the extra time would do better than the premature release. I’ve mentioned this before when I first saw this problem manifest. I’m fearing a Netscape 6 style release.

Firefox is a great product, and very worthy of trying if you haven’t yet.

But I’d question calling it 1.0, and telling people it’s a production worthy product prematurely.

It’s tough to make a good first impression the second time around.

Features of the future

Well, I thought I’d sit down and be a visionary for a moment, and think about what it would take for Mozilla Thunderbird/Firefox to become the ultimate product for me. A few are bugs, a few are in the process, and a few are wishful thinking. Here’s what I came up with:

Firefox

  • Take Livemark’s to a new degree. I’m thinking personal portal. As users install livemarks, and visit sites, Mozilla’s internal start page puts things in priority (machine learning). Making my start page totally feel perfect for me. It learns what I visit, harvests those sites, and makes things work just like I would work.
  • WebDAV is awesome, but Mozilla doesn’t have it. We could really leverage it’s power by supporting it. Corporations love it because it uses port 80 (don’t need to ask the networking group to open some obscure port). So no open holes, just regular HTTP. Some Asset management software already supports it, other products are starting too. One thing some have done is ‘extend’ WebDAV to support their own unique filesystems (versioning etc.). So in our case, a company could write a firefox extension to add their own stuff to it, making Firefox ideal for the workplace. WebDAV is increasing in popularity, it’s a sweet solution to an old problem.
  • Patch updates – that’s right. No more ‘download the whole release’. But the ability to download what’s changed, and install through the updater UI. We need it, badly. It would save some serious bandwidth for Mozilla.org to update a .1 release without users downloading the whole client. Especially when not every file changed. Such as 0.9 to 0.9.1 would have been an ideal time for such a situation. Download in the background, and ask to install when the user quits. Simple and they didn’t even feel it.
  • ‘Add Engines’ needs to use update.mozilla.org
  • Pressing the spacebar with ‘find as you type’ enabled, shouldn’t cause the new search bar to open. It should just scroll down the page.

Thunderbird

  • Calendar Integration – This will be big. Really big
  • PalmSync in the installer
  • MAPI bugfixes (this is a long process I bet)
  • With Calendar integration needs to be some sort of ‘landing’. Similar to what Outlook does (but without the sucking). I see something a little like for Firefox (mentioned up above). But with Mail&News taking priority, as well as Calendar integration into the system. Tell me whose contacting me, what I need to do, and make it easy.
  • Bring back ‘open in new tab’ if Firefox is the default browser.

Both

  • Firefox and Thunderbird are both moving to take advantage of things like RSS, and Atom feeds. But they are separate Apps. When users use both Apps, they should be smart and keep in sync, so I can have it all available in both Apps. If I add it in Firefox, it goes to Thunderbird, and vice versa.
  • GRE

If something here isn’t a bug, feel free to file a bug, feel free to provide bug numbers, feel free to implement one of these. cc me on any bug that’s relevant to the above list. Have more things? Let it out. It’s the only way the best thigns make it into Mozilla, is when people say what they need. Support an idea? Say it, don’t like one? Say it!