Things You’ll Love About Firefox 4.0

It’s that time again. Here’s my list of awesome things you’ll love about Firefox 4:

For Users

New Look For Tabs

New Tabs For Firefox 4
One of the first things that you’ll notice is tabs on top. This paradigm really makes more sense since the tab defines not just the content but the environment it’s viewed (prev/next button, URL bar). It’s also just much sleeker looking. After a few minutes you’ll likely agree this is a better approach than tabs under.

Another nice touch is if you enter a URL that’s already open in another tab, you’ll be given the option to switch to that tab. Perfect for those of us who end up with 50 tabs by lunch time.

It also just feels tighter and less intrusive on the web browsing experience.

Mozilla Web Development

Microsoft Joins W3C SVG Working Group

Microsoft is joining the W3C SVG Working Group. Presumably that means there’s some interest in SVG for IE or Silverlight or both. I wonder what led to the change of heart.

I pretty much wrote off any chance of SVG being mainstream in 2005 when Adobe bought Macromedia. Adobe was previously somewhat of a SVG pusher, but Macromedia obviously is the home of Flash. As expected the SVG love dried up. The gap that Adobe filled was adding support for SVG to IE. If IE supports it natively that’s a game changer.

Gecko already has decent support for SVG. WebKit has support for a while. Opera has support as well. Without analyzing in too much detail there should be a subset that’s usable across current browsers and hopefully IE by the time IE 9.0 ships.

I must admit given the choice I’m still more interested in Microsoft supporting <canvas/>, but no word on that as of yet. I’m still hopeful.

Hooray for web standards!

Mozilla Web Development

Pinch Hitting For CSS… SVG

I was thinking the other day about CSS shortcomings. CSS is good intentioned, and usable, but it’s also very unintuitive. It’s far from friendly to designers, and makes some simple tasks rather complicated (such as multi-column layouts, and vertical positioning). Of course CSS3 is coming, but is there some other way?

General Personal

A Festivus For The Rest Of Us!

Festivus PoleHappy Festivus!

Just in case anyone was wondering, I made the Festivus Pole in this post using Inkscape, which did a pretty good job at making it easy enough for even me to do silly little work, and I’m far from an artist. It even lets me output SVG, though I uploaded a PNG since not all browsers support SVG at this point. Thankfully I didn’t have to draw any tinsel, but as we all know, that’s not allowed, since it’s distracting.

For those who are interested in the real thing, there is a video about a company who makes Festivus Poles.

As usual the web has quite a few things out there about this amazing holiday. Just search Google News this time of year, or check Wikipedia’s Festivus article.

There is even a new book on the holiday: Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us.

Frank Costanza: Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.
Cosmo Kramer: What happened to the doll?
Frank Costanza: It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born: a Festivus for the rest of us!
Cosmo Kramer: That must’ve been some kind of doll.
Frank Costanza: She was.


Opera 9.0 Tech Preview 2

For those interested (if you’re into browsers, you should be): Opera 9.0 Tech Preview 2 is out. The widgets look rather good. Very Apple like in quality, I’ve only looked a the ones by Opera. I assume we’ll see more soon. I really hope XULRunner will be used for such a purpose soon. With the new Cairo backend, <canvas/> and SVG it would be very cool to see what people could come up with.

There’s lots of interesting fixes/features to obsess over, not sure what my favorite would be. (though CSS 3 opacity is eye catching).

Curious how hard it would be to port Apple Widgets, or Yahoo Widgets. Hopefully that will all be somewhat standard one day, and you can use a widget with any platform you want (I hope Apple, Yahoo, and Opera all realize that would be to their advantage as well, granted rendering engines would cause some platform specific things).

Could it be a better time for the web? So many choices, great products all around.

In The News Internet Mozilla Software Web Development

Adobe Buys Macromedia

I didn’t expect to see that in the news this morning (hat tip glazou), but I did expect it to happen years ago. The two companies just seem complementary. As proof of that I’ve often heard people confuse the companies and their products. This is big news for the industry as a whole. I can see many things changing:

  • Daniel Glazman mentions that there’s likely only room for 1 HTML editor. Go Live or DreamWeaver. I’m personally going to suggests DreamWeaver survives. Simply because it’s more robust. It’s advanced features such as editing code, PHP, etc. are much better than Go Live. It reaches a larger market. As for the impact on NVU? Well I guess that remains to be seen. I guess people will now be looking to see if DreamWeaver will be the only real commercial game in town.
  • SVG. This I think is the largest impact this deal is going to have. The fate of SVG. Adobe has been pushing SVG since very early on. But now with Flash in their hands. How do they feel about an open standard? Will they perhaps decide to open Flash to relax critics and just push their software as the ‘ultimate Flash IDE’? Will they stifle the growth of SVG? Or will they perhaps make the Flash plugin render SVG just like QuickTime or other media plugins support multiple formats?
  • Adobe has made a business of being cross platform (similar to Netscape). Their Acrobat Reader is available for virtually anything (even the Palm OS). Does this mean better Flash support for non-windows computers (which has historically sucked)?
  • PDF + Flash + Shockwave = ?
  • New products? Will Illustrator and Flash converge?
  • How does Photoshop fit in? Will it integrate with Macromedia Products?

Overall this is a groundbreaking event. It’s not unexpected as their products were complementary for ages and it was inevitable for them to come together. It’s finally happened.