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Guest Posts on Firefox Facts

You have read my thoughts and opinions on Firefox and everything related to Firefox – so why not join me in sharing the word about how awesome this little browser really is.  Starting today, I am going to start accepting guest posts here on Firefox Facts.  So, if you have your own Firefox tutorial, add-on review or anything else Mozilla related that you’d like to share with the over 75,000 visitors that come to FirefoxFacts.com monthly – here is your chance.

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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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Mozilla and Web 2.0

Mozilla and Web 2.0For a while now, we’ve been hearing about “Web 2.0″ AKA AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) heavy sites offering lots of eye candy but, nothing much in the way of substance which hasn’t already been a 1000 different times a 1000 different ways before.

While these “eye catching” sites may offer up a new level of interactivity and/or functionality, there’s always a price to pay no matter how good the engineering/technology is. For example, everyone these days a Gmail account. It extensively uses AJAX which, while making it appear very functional, also takes its toll on the browser in terms of memory usage, in this case Mozilla Firefox.

Recently, the Mozilla Foundation released Prism (renamed from WebRunner) from the Mozilla Project which is stripped down version of the XULRunner platform using the Firefox runtime environment (Gecko). It handles JavaScript/CSS etc…. well and is light on the memory usage from personal usage and handles several web applications well – Gmail, GReader, Facebook, Twitter etc… As well as the option of programming your own and has a list of user contributed web application scripts. Continue Reading →

There is Love and Hate for AdBlock Plus

Ad Blocking ExtentionI have to admit it: I love AdBlock Plus. If all of my extensions (15 in number) were taken and I was left with the choice of one to keep, it would be ABP. I love not seeing annoying ads, and I love how much faster my browsing is because of the lack of junk. I love the safety and security that it provides through its ability to block things that like to track me.

Yet there is a person – no let me rephrase that. There is a monster trying to take away our rights to this wonderful service. Continue Reading →

A Look Back and Forward With Mozilla

As a long time Netscape (now SeaMonkey, a community maintained project) user, having an E-mail client that was integrated into a suite came as a big help as an all in one solution.

Then a relatively new browser came along by the name of Mozilla Firebird, shortly afterwards because of a trademark dispute it changed to Fire Phoenix. Then, finally, it changed again in February 2004 to Firefox. Back in 2003 the (newly established) Mozilla Foundation announced they were to begin working exclusively on Firefox and Thunderbird as part of the Mozilla Project.

Late in 2004 (August/September), I switched over to Firefox. Then shortly afterwards, Thunderbird. They both – in my opinion fitted in with the Unix philosophy: Continue Reading →

Firefox and BitTorrent

BitTorrent Loves Firefox?

Since the beginning of AllPeers, there have been many different collections of plugins offering BitTorrent functionality to Firefox and its other Gecko-based variants of Flock, K-Meleon and Wyzo, a Mozilla Firefox-based browser that fully integrates BitTorrent functionality into its core along with Firefox 2.0 code.

There have also been numerous plugins as well:

AllPeers (http://www.allpeers.com)
FireTorrent (http://www.wyzo.com)
FoxTorrent (http://www.foxtorrent.com)
BitFox (currently in development)
Firestorm (http://firestorm.mozdev.org).

FireStorm and BitFox, are both currently in active development. Wyzo is in alpha stage of development and have an alpha release (not for deployment in a production environment). FoxTorrent has been reviewed a few times before and installs a background DAEMON process to handle the transfers.

Wyzo/FireTorrent are both in alpha release although the Firefox extension is still available to download for testing purposes. From the list, it is plain for all to see that there is no shortage of BitTorrent extensions for Firefox at all.

However, the nature of Mozilla’s open-source platform and of the BitTorrent protocol mean that this list is by no means exhaustive and other projects are sure to take advantage to Firefox’s modular nature.

Posted by Si Howard – Si Is currently studying for a Bachelors in Computer Science and turned to Firefox and Thunderbird after many years as a Netscape user. He maintains a personal blog at devastator.wordpress.com

Turning a Bookmark into a Search Tool

Editing Bookmarks to Add Search FeaturesBookmarks in Firefox have a very powerful feature that most people don’t know about. Let’s take a look at this:

  1. Click on Bookmarks.
  2. Right-click on any bookmark you have there.
  3. Choose properties.

Now, third from the top, there is a text box called “Keyword”. Most likely, this is blank because by default it’s not used at all. Welcome to the wonderful world to keyword bookmarking. Let me show you how to use it.

Say for instance that you wanted to create a keyword bookmark for the search on firefoxfacts.com. Ok, lets go to that page. After using the Firefox Facts search using the words “test”, I come to the page:

http://www.firefoxfacts.com/index.php?s=test

If I bookmark it, it will look like any other bookmark.

Then, if I look at the properties of my newly created bookmark, I can make a few changes to it to transform it into a keyword bookmark:

  1. Notice that the my search term “test” is in the address in the location field.
  2. Replace that with the string “%s” to get http://www.firefoxfacts.com/index.php?s=%s.
  3. Add a keyword to the keyword field. I chose “fxfacts” but anything will work. Use something short and you can remember.
  4. Press OK.

Yay, now we have a keyword bookmark. This is how to use it:

  1. Type the keyword of the bookmark in the address bar. (In my example “fxfacts”)
  2. Type any search terms after that. (My example: “fxfacts bookmarks”)
  3. Press the enter key.

Firefox will now take me to the Firefox Facts search for bookmarks just like that. Let’s see IE7 can do that!

Post by Samuel Brisby – Sam is currently a student majoring in computer science who loves and supports anything open-source especially the Firefox browser. Questions or comments can be sent to spamuel42 (at) gmail.com.