Archive | January, 2008

Why Does Firefox 3 Deserve the Hype?

For a while now since December 18th the world was graced with Firefox 3.0 beta 2 release – the possible final release before a Release Candidate (features locked down, stability updates issued) is launched according to the Mozilla Firefox 3.0 schedule.

Beta 2 addresses over 900 memory issues as well as various stability issues within the Gecko core itself with Mozilla migrating over to the 1.9 platform for Firefox 3.0 and the new Mozilla 2.0 platform for Firefox 4.0 and other issues like XSS (Cross Site Scripting) leaks through JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) which is used as a data interchange format.

Also making an appearance is the new highly touted download manager, and the awesome bar AKA the new location bar.

The browser also features a complete backend rewrite for using the SQL engine and garbage collection (software memory usage). Now that Firefox could also support offline applications like the ever popular Google Reader through its own built in functionality or through the usage of Google Gears which has also been in use for ZohoWriter – an online word processor and competitor of Google’s.

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Personas Updates, News and Customization Tips

Watching the Mozilla Labs discussion on Personas is really exciting. It looks like they have more than a handful of great designers and there are so many different ways this Mozilla project could go in development.

If your interested in getting involved, here are a few links to get you started:

You can also browse through some of the designs people have submitted too. In a future version it has been said that you’ll be able to flick a switch for an advanced setting to allow you to install your own designs but till then here is the work-around they published:

1) In the URL bar of your browser type “about:config” and hit enter.
2) Search for “extensions.personas.editor” by typing it into the Filter box that appears at the top of the page.
3) Double click on the line for “extensions.personas.editor”.
4) In the dialog box that appears prompting you to enter a string value, enter “manual” and click on OK.
5) You should now be in manual mode.
6) Click on the little Fox mask icon in the lower-left corner of your browser, and you should see a “Use Local Header…” option.
7) Click on the “Use Local Header…” option, and it should open up a file selector. Select the header file for your design.
8) You should now see your design in your browser.

As you can see it is not for the weak of heart, so if messing around in about:config gives you the willies, better wait for the update to the extension. All in all though, Personas seems to be moving along beautifully and I can’t wait to see how this project turns out in the long run.

Learn to Write a Batch File with Firefox

Batch Files with FirefoxPardon me if I get a little geeky, but batch files are a great way to get tons of task done via your computer with little or no effort at all. You might have seen them before too – they contain a list of commands or program routines that the computer will execute in sequence. Also another trait they have is they are saved with the .bat extension.

How do you write a batch file? Start notepad, and type in this:

@echo off
start firefox.exe

Then go to File then pick Save As… and save this as FirefoxTip.bat to your desktop. To test, double click the icon it created for you on the desktop. If successful, Firefox should open up. If you did something wrong, you’ll probably either get an error message or nothing will happen. Also as a side note brought up by Mirzas:

Location of firefox.exe must be inside the PATH environment variable for it to work from a batch file.

Now that is rather boring, isn’t it? You could start Firefox like this from a shortcut for Pete’s sake. Well remember the Launch Tabs from Run Box and More Command Line Firefox Tips? Try plugging some of those in after the firefox.exe statement in your own batch file to launch Firefox the way you want.

For another example, start notepad back up and type in this:

@echo off
start firefox.exe webhostingshow.com firefoxfacts.com mitchelaneous.com

Then go to File then pick Save As… and save this as MitchBlogs.bat to your desktop. Double click it on your desktop and a new Firefox browser should come up with those three web sites loaded into the tabs.

For more help with batch files, check out this post on WikiHow.com.

Check out the other posts in this series:

Firefox Facts Weekly Links-o-plenty

Time to dive through some of my saved Firefox links of the week – think of this as the best of the best posted somewhere else:

Have an interesting link to share or pass my way? Leave a comment or drop me an e-mail at mitch@mitchkeeler.com and I’ll be more than happy to share it with the masses.

Color Your Tabs Pink with pinkTabs

You macho Firefox men of the Web, are you secure enough to use PinkTabs?

Pink Tabs for Your Browsing

Ok sure, the look and feel of this reminds me of Hello Kitty or something else so sweet and nice that it makes me throw up in my mouth a little. I am man enough to admit though, I kind of have started to like the pinkness of it all over time.

My real question is when will somebody copy this idea and make man tabs?

More Command Line Firefox Tips

After yesterday’s post about launching tabs from the run box I thought I would share with you some other command line Firefox tips worth getting familiar with.

Open the Firefox profile manager: firefox -p

Start Firefox with a specific profile: firefox -p “user name”

Open a Specific URL: firefox -url http://www.firefoxfacts.com

Open a URL in a New Window: firefox -new-window http://www.firefoxfacts.com

Open a URL in a New Tab: firefox http://www.firefoxfacts.com

Search Your Default Search Box Search Engine: firefox -search yourtermhere

For more that you can try I would suggest checking out the command line article over at MozillaZine.org or at Mozilla.org. Some still work, and some might not – but these are the best of the ones I found. If you have any suggestions for alternatives you know feel free to drop in a comment here and let us all know about your favorite.

Check out the other posts in this series:

Launch Tabs from Run Box

In need of a quicker way to launch Firefox with a series of tabs? You can quickly do so in Windows by clicking on the start button, then go to run (or just hit Win+R) and type in:

Firefox from the Run Command

Been playing with this for a while, and have yet to break it. Seems to work flawlessly each and every time. If you jut type in “firefox keyword” then you will get the same effect as just typing a phrase into the address bar.

Bonus: In Window Vista, the same trick works for me from the Vista search box in the start menu too. Whoo hoo for one less step!

Check out the other posts in this series:

Turn Firefox into Internet Explorer

Firefox vs IE7Love it or hate it, you can not argue with the fact that some people like the basic look and feel of Internet Explorer 7. To give it a little ‘bit of credit, it is different than it’s previous versions and does get the job done. Now if you like the IE7 interface, but your using Firefox – most would say your out of luck. Not me though!

What if you could turn your Firefox browser into Microsoft’s browsing behemoth?

The IE Look-a-like Contenders

There are a number of Vista/IE7 inspired themes for Firefox out there, as we have touched on that topic before. Vista-aero claims to be the most IE7-like theme with the Vista aero style. Then you have myFireFox who’s claim to fame is perfectly simulating Internet Explorer 7+ by far. It can work perfectly in Widnows Vista Ultimate.

Is it Firefox or Internet Explorer 7?

Tweakable IE Themes?

Did you know though that using either of these two themes comes with an extra perk? If you are doing so I would also highly suggest picking up the myFireFox & Vista-aero Modifier extension. It will allow you to edit key parts of the theme not accessible to your usual drag and drop default personalization from Firefox itself. Here are some of the tweaks you can make:

  • Change the Theme Color
  • Change the Tab Bar Icons and Functions
  • Show or Hide Search and Zoom
  • Make the Default Tab Icon Different

Any Internet Explorer 6 Fans Out There? Now for those of you who might miss Internet Explorer 6 – there is one alternative for you too. Check out the Looks Familiar theme to reclaim that design for Firefox.