The Skype Toolbar for Firefox is an extension that detects phone numbers in web pages, and re-renders them as a clickable button that can be used to dial the number using the Skype desktop application. This extension is bundled with the Skype application, and is installed into Firefox by default when Skype is installed or, in some circumstances, updated. As a result, a large number of Firefox users who have installed Skype have also installed the Skype Toolbar, knowingly or unknowingly.
Skype’s user-hostile “I’m just going to enable this for you” behavior reminds me a lot of RealPlayer in the late 90s. Also this isn’t first time Skype Toolbar has been soft-blocked.
The current shipping version of the Skype Toolbar is one of the top crashers of Mozilla Firefox 3.6.13, and was involved in almost 40,000 crashes of Firefox last week.
Additionally, depending on the version of the Skype Toolbar you’re using, the methods it uses to detect and re-render phone numbers can make DOM manipulation up to 300 times slower, which drastically affects the page rendering times of a large percentage of web content served today (plain English: to the user, it appears that Firefox is slow loading web pages).
Don’t post an event to trigger it on every mutation.
Don’t use mutation event handlers, ever.
If they really think they want to scrape for phone numbers after onload, say, one way to do that is to do the scraping when the user hovers over their toolbar or whatever. Because, again, there is no point doing it on every mutation.
Seems like sane advice for almost any user extension. People wonder why Safari and Opera waited so long to implement user extensions and it is because this area is very very messy.
After over a year of hard work following the release of Camino 2, the Camino Project is proud to announce the first preview release of Camino 2.1.
Enhanced Location Bar Autocomplete: The location bar’s autocomplete feature now searches both bookmarks and history and matches against page titles as well as page URLs.
Improved Plug-in Control: Camino now disables Java by default, and a new hidden preference allows disabling arbitrary plug-ins.
Status Bar: The status bar can now be hidden by choosing “Hide Status Bar” in “View” menu.
Offline Mode: New “Work Offline” and “Go Online” items in the “Camino” menu allow Camino to enter offline mode and provide a more useful experience when no network connection is available.
Certificate Errors: The certificate error page in Camino 2.1 Alpha 1 is both friendlier and more informative than the one in Camino 2.
I continue to hold the position that Camino is an underrated Mac OS X browser and those location bar autocomplete improvements are a most welcome user experience improvement. (Actually the Certificate Error UX enhancement will probably make more regular users happy…)
I’d love to see a more experimental Camino build that was based on Gecko 2 though.
There’s not a lot of information here, such as how to submit a test to a W3C project. It does says the hosting was a donation from Microsoft who has previously placed an emphasis on strong test suites.
It is possible this is just meant as a stable home for raw test case hosting and the educational pieces will live elsewhere, but that seems like a missed opportunity.
There’s now an IETF “informational” draft for the VP8 Data Format, the codec of choice used in the WebM container. It is far easier to read and less implementor hostile than the original VP8 spec.
As a release of Firefox 4 Beta 9 approaches, Christopher Blizzard gives us an overview of what to expect. It is a nice laundry list of everything Firefox 4 will deliver when it is finally shipped to the general public.
Christopher’s list doesn’t quite separate what is new in Beta 9 though, but my understanding is that this release includes a number of updates to their HTML5 parsing & rendering by implementing more of what was once-known as Web Forms 2, <video> preloading and buffering support fixes, and some fixes to pushState and replaceState.
In addition WebGL is now enabled by default, joining Chromium in an exclusive club of awesome. Opera and Internet Explorer have yet to ship a WebGL implementation but I suspect Opera isn’t far behind. Opera had previously shipped an implementation of WebGL’s little brother known then as 3D<canvas> in a Labs build a few years ago.
Editor Doug Schepers continues to update the W3CDOM Level 3 specification. Over the last 3 weeks most of the weeks most of the work has been focused on the locale attribute:
The locale attribute contains a BCP-47 tag [BCP-47] indicating the locale for which the origin of the event (whether keyboard, IME, handwriting recognition software, or other input mode) is configured, e.g. “en-US”. May be the empty string when inapplicable or unknown, e.g. for pasted text, or when this information is not exposed by the underlying platform
This is useful for detecting the client system’s keyboard locale setting though not necessarily the language of the end-user interaction with the keyboard.
I’d imagine WebGL would get a lot more press if there was an implementation of Google Earth built with it. Currently web users are stuck with the resource hogging Google Earth plug-in.
Mozilla has finally released a developer friendly to embed Gecko inside your applications much like you can already do with WebKit now. I hope this takes off as I’d like to see some more competition in the indie-browser development space. Also, I suspect for a lot Linux developers needing to embed a web view inside their GTK or QT application, this could provide an attractive alternative to existing options like GtkMozEmbed.
Mozilla engineer Rob Sayre’s noodlings on why, at least for now, Apple’s iOS is a good thing for those of us who want to see a plugin-less Web:
The iPhone, and later the iPad, are the best things that have ever happened to keep these horizontal plugin plays from taking over the Web. It’s helped me appreciate what competition among business models can do. Someone doing a platform play like Android or Windows will appropriate whatever they can–so if you want to do Flash, they will try and make it happen. But Apple has a totally different set of motivations, and that is great for the Web. I’m pretty sure the official Mozilla line on an OS that prevents installation of Firefox is not overwhelmingly positive. However, I think it’s the Apple business model that has freed us from unbookmarkable crap restaurant websites, not Firefox.
(Off-topic, but I also couldn’t resist linking to someone who was familiar with the original Wayne Gretzky quote… though it should be attributed to Gretzky’s father Walter.)
Today we have two different revenue models: One for the Internet embedded markets (such as Opera pre-installed on a mobile phone or a set-top box) and one for the desktop market:
For the Internet embedded market, we receive revenue as a mix of engineering fees, maintenance fees and shares of sales income. The balance varies from contract to contract. This model accounts for the majority of Opera’s income.
For the desktop market, we derive revenue from our free products through revenue sharing with partners. For example, several search engines make usage payments to us for searches made by you (Opera users). This is the major source of income for Opera’s desktop browser, with revenue shares also in place on a variety of mobile products.
… or the same way most browser vendors outside of Apple, Google and Microsoft make monkey: licensing and revenue sharing. For example The State of Mozilla 2009 report noted that roughly 85% of Mozilla’s revenue comes from their revenue sharing search referral deal with Google.