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Firefox Deer Park Alpha Available 330

Posted by Zonk
from the break-out-the-salt-licks dept.
The Mozilla folks have made available the newest release of the Firefox web browser. This release is for testers and developers only, and should not be used if you have no interest in trying out the latest build. The release notes cover the recent changes. From the what's new document: "Fast back (and forward) - This very experimental feature allows much faster session history navigation. The feature is off by default but can be enabled for testing purposes by setting the browser.sessionhistory.max_viewers preference to a nonzero number."
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Firefox Deer Park Alpha Available

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  • burning edge says: (Score:5, Informative)

    by professorhojo (686761) * on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @08:15AM (#12692748)
    According to Burning Edge, there are numerous usability regressions since 1.0 on the trunk builds.

    I think they need a lot of time to iron things out and this is one of those things they've decided to prolong the process!

    Since Fx is a hugely successful project that is still unusual in its open-source nature, the fact that more alphas and betas and in-betweens are being released may be a good thing.
  • Changes (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hank Chinaski (257573) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @08:16AM (#12692751) Homepage
    Notable bug fixes

    * Web page rendering and interaction
    o 217527 - Left column on Slashdot is sometimes too narrow or too wide for its contents.
    o 238493 - Ads on Gamespot flicker into other parts of the page during page load.
    o 95227 - Make it possible to set different default font type (serif vs sans serif) for different languages.
    o 47350 - Current scroll position not retained, reloading or going back to multipart/x-mixed-replace (e.g. Bugzilla bug lists).
    o 56314 - Reverse selection colors when page background is similar to default selection background.
    o 274553 - Blocking iframes either via an extension or userchrome.css breaks find toolbar search.
    o 103638 - Targets with same name in different windows open in wrong window with javascript.
    o 62384 - Text Zoom doesn't change dropdown height (without reload).
    o 97283 - Mouse wheel scrolling does not work for elements such as div using overflow - auto or scroll.
    o 251986 - Keyboard scrolling does not work for elements such as div using overflow - auto or scroll.
    o 209020 - Meta HTTP-EQUIV="refresh" broken if midas was ever used in that browser window.
    o 198155 - Midas html editing mode persists after leaving the page that enabled it.
    o 21616 - Space after ::first-letter pseudo-element line is larger than between other lines (improvement in first-letter drop-caps appearance?).
    o 273785 - Plugins not scanned/detected on startup (empty plug-ins dialog in downloads, open-with dialog for PDFs).
    o 76197 - Scrollbars should look disabled when there's nowhere to scroll (not yet fixed on Mac).
    o 151375 - Focus outline should be drawn outside of element.
    o 133165 - Focus outline should include larger descendants of inline elements.
    o 65917 - :active neither hierarchical nor picky about what can be activated.
    o 20022 - :hover state not set until mouse move.
    o 278531 - Generic request prioritization (loadgroup prioritization) (e.g. for each HTTP host, load images with lower priority than pages).
    * Improved error pages. To enable error pages, go to about:config and set browser.xul.error_pages.enabled to true.
    o 157004 - Error pages should be stored in history and show the original URL in the address bar.
    o 237244 - "Try Again" on XUL error pages does not repost form data.
    * Downloads
    o 239006 - Download manager doesn't account for filesize when presenting combined percentages.
    o 245829 - Download manager progress and title do not update correctly, wrong number of files and percentage after finishing or cancelling a download.
    o 249677 - Cancel does not delete temporary file in helper app dialog, if default action is save.
    * Accessibility
    o 175893 - Make XUL 's focusable.
    o 162081 - Wrong letter is underlined as accesskey / mnemonic when widget direction is RTL.
    o Many keyboard accessibility fixes.
    o Many screen-reader accessibility fixes.
    * Speed and memory-use improvements
    o 227361 - Don't reflow documents in background tabs until window resizing is complete.
    o 131456 - Memory use does not go down after closing tabs.
    o Many other speed and memory-use improvements.
    * Windows-specific bugs
    o 16940 - [Windows] IME is now disabled for password fields.
    o 255123 - [Windows] Opening URL from another app focuses an existing window before opening a new window.
    o 171349 - [Win98] Firefox icon is Win98's standard icon (taskbar & upper lefthand corner of app).
    o 284716 - [Win2k/WinXP] Create DDBs in nsImageWin::Optimize. (Fixes several performance bugs with large images, such as slow scrolli
  • For the record, Deer Park is not the next minor point release (1.05 is guess), but the line that will be officially released as Firefox 1.1
    • Deer Park is not the next minor point release (1.05 is guess), but the line that will be officially released as Firefox 1.1

      Does this then mean that Deer Park should also have the binary diff update feature? (Though presumably not supported with actual updates.)

      • Re:Firefox 1.1 (Score:3, Informative)

        by linuxci (3530)
        Not sure that is fully implemented yet (as there's no easy way to test) but this feature will be in for 1.1 so making updates a lot smaller and easier (not that the full download updates were that big anyway)
      • Re:Firefox 1.1 (Score:2, Interesting)

        by mdew (651926)
        I was thinking how they would implement such a feature, considering theres numerious "optimised" compiled binaries, so each firefox binary will be different (apart from the official mozilla.org release).. how would you make a binary diff against the unofficial packages? is it possible?
    • Was 1.1 going to fix the Mac version so it actually looks and behaves like a Mac application, or is that going to have to wait until 2.0?
  • Extensions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by johansalk (818687) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @08:21AM (#12692780)
    I'm often late on adopting firefox new releases and the reason is simply that extensions often need time to be updated by their authors. I wish the Mozilla foundation would somehow remedy this problem in the future, so updating the browser need not break extensions.
    • Re:Extensions (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hank Chinaski (257573)
      this is a alpha released. it is targeted at extension and theme developers so that end users have all their favorites available ones the final product is published.

    • Many work (Score:4, Informative)

      by glrotate (300695) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @08:30AM (#12692842) Homepage
      Working:

      Adblock
      Launchy
      Bugmenot
      Spellbound
      Stumbleu pon

      Broke:

      Forecastfox
      Dictionarysearch
      • MozGest required just version bump in .rdf file (then pack the directory, rename to mozgest.xpi and it will reinstall on new startup.)
      • Spellbound

        I can't even get this to work with the latest release of Firefox 1.04 and Thunderbird 1.02 - I wonder if this is why it is not listed among the extensions on the main Mozilla update page?
      • Adblock does work, after updating it. Launchy doesn't seem to work though, period.

        Also broken:
        Download Statusbar
        Favicon Picker
        Greasemonkey

        Also working:
        Flashblock
        Gcache

        Claims it's working, but doesn't:
        SessionSaver
    • by MynockGuano (164259) <{hyperactiveChip ... {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @08:35AM (#12692879)
      Perhaps they should put out a sort of "alpha release". This release would be basically a semi-official in-development build for "testing purposes only" on which extension authors and developers can "test" their code to see if there are any problems. This way, they will have time to prepare their extensions before the next release. Furthermore, to avoid confusion and prevent everyone from jumping on an unstable product and generating negative publicity, it would probably be best not to brand it with the Firefox name; maybe they could just use whatever the current code-name happens to be (like, for example, "Deer Park", a random name that I just happened to come up with).
      • Mock away but a lot of people find it more that a little stupid that just about every new Firefox release, however minor breaks existing extensions. Its really not a very clever way to treat an extension interface.
        • a lot of people find it more that a little stupid that just about every new Firefox release, however minor breaks existing extensions

          I've not really noticed this since the change to (I think) 1.0. Same with themes (thank $DEITY). Which extensions have you had problems with?

          • All of them, a new version seems to disable all extensions whether they work with that version or not. Most of the time I end up having to reinstall the extension, time comsuming if you have a lot of them.
            • If I get a chance I'll confirm this tonight, but I'd say that's a problem (well, obviously it's a problem, I mean it's a problem for you individually ;-)

              I've not had *all* extensions crap out at upgrade for a while - though Firefox usually goes through the checking for updates process after an upgrade. I can't remember any extension failing since around 1.0.

              Just a thought, but what OS? My experience mainly relates to Firefox on Windows; my home (Gentoo) box doesn't get hammered with extensions nearly so

        • I was just teasing; no offense intended to the original poster. I was just pointing out that this is exactly the situation that this release is meant to address in a way that I hoped would make an impression. I apologize for any offense taken.
        • The issue is that the interfaces aren't completely solidified. For instance, plugging some of the Javascript security issues in 1.0.2 required breaking several extensions that relied on those interfaces. The devs have said that the extension versioning will become less of an issue once the existing interfaces have been locked. Unfortuneately there's still quite a bit of active development in that area.

          It's either this approach, or the backwards compatability at all costs mantra that made Microsoft a tar
        • A lot of the people that have that annoyance have been using the browser before it was 1.0. Before that time, expect things to change. What's so hard about that concept?
    • To find out which extensions work with Deer Park, see this thread http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?t=2618 38&sid=4891a0206fd86585b9309b74d381035e [mozillazine.org].
    • by toadnine (525325)
      Not bad. 3 out of 6 new features are copied from Opera. "Sanitize" vs. "Delete private data" "Fast back (and Forward)" vs. "Rewind" and "Fast Forward" "Report a broken website wizard" vs. "Help -> Report a site problem"
      • by linuxci (3530)
        Not bad. 3 out of 6 new features are copied from Opera

        So what? Some people prefer the Opera UI and will use that as their default browser, others prefer the way Firefox is designed. What's wrong with copying the best features off other browsers? There's not one browser fits all.

        I think Firefox is better designed for users that want a relatively simple interface whereas Opera comes packed with just about everything but the kitchen sink (it'll be in version 9.0).

        So to me Firefox and Opera appeal to diffe
      • Unregrettably, Opera's ad-spam feature wasn't quite able to make it for this release.
      • by Lussarn (105276) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @09:28AM (#12693321)
        It's a god damn mystery why opera has close to zero marketshare and Firefox has 5% when according to some opera fanbois all features of every browser is copied from opera. So where is opera lacking? Why isn't marketshare larger? Maybe you should ask yourself that question instead of picking on successfull browsers such as Firefox.
        • Because most people are cheapskates.

          Firefox is an IE-replacer, that's what it's really good at. It fits in the same slot, so to speak. Opera is more of a full suite for using the internet.

          On a tangent, can someone tell me why display:inline-block isn't supported by Firefox? It seems it used to be in Mozilla... Hell, even IE gets it right! I'm forced to make a compatibility-css file as it is now. :(

        • Marketing, probably. Commodore fell in the same hole. Back when I started with Opera 6, it was such an incredible thing compared to those netscapes 4.7 (brrr!). Right now the difference is much smaller, with Firefox catching up big time.

          Just because an app is better made (still), doesn't mean it translates to marketshare. What I've been wondering is, what would happen if Opera 8.1 incorporated support for Firefox extensions? Mayhem!

          • Actually pretty much all firefox extensions that don't copy some opera feature (including the ones without GUI, see this site [nontroppo.org]) are useless.
            • Well, almost. Easier adblocking would be one thing, the filter.ini is a bit clunky to update. And editing the CSS and viewing the results in realtime would be great. I know it's possible with the html, though.

              Ablocking is an interesting issue however. Imagine if Firefox gets more than 50% market share, and all of them block ads.

        • In my experience as a registered Opera user, Opera has lots of features and is very compact, but crashes more often than Firefox does. Granted, Opera can recover from crashes by saving its state -- something I wish Firefox can do -- but I'd rather it not crash quite so much.

          Firefox is fairly stable, more so than most of the alternative browsers I've tried. It still leaks memory, but you can afford to restart your web browser every day or so.
        • by Baki (72515)
          I bought opera for 3 operating systems, yet I hardly use it due to lack of adblock.

          Also: its client certificate handling is clumsy to say the least.

          And it is less stable.
        • Why do I use Firefox over Opera? Extensions.

          Firefox has a really, really cool extension mechanism. The simple JavaScript and XUL API (compared to, say, writing C plugins) makes writing extensions really easy. Once you figure out how to use XPCOM, you have a lot of power available.

          I've gone looking (briefly) for ways to extend Opera and have found nothing. This is my personal reason for not using Opera. I like my extensions, even if some of them are of extremely limited use [xenoveritas.org].

        • i tried Opera (my university gave out free Opera 7 & 8 Reg Keys some time ago) and just cant stand their GUI. It just looks and feels wrong.
    • "Image thumbnails as tab icons
      When viewing images, tab icons now display thumbnails of the displayed image."


      I hope this can be disabled else a lot of /.'ers, who use a new tab to hide *indecent* images, are going to get in trouble.
  • Graphical History (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @08:24AM (#12692804)
    When will Firefox implement a graphical representation of the history for the user?

    Thumbnails of where the user has been, linked in an easy to follow graphical manner. It would make finding sites of interest (where one has forgotten where they found them) so much easier.
  • by linuxci (3530) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @08:24AM (#12692807)
    1. Talkback [mozilla.org] (aka Quality Feedback Agent) in Windows builds is only enabled by default for a random selection of users on the Windows platform. This feature was built into the installer so that the talkback server on Firefox release builds wouldn't get bogged down.

    As this is an alpha release and is a good idea to send in as much crash data as possible you may want to do a custom install on Windows and make sure it's selected.

    2. This release comes with a tool you can use to report broken websites. This can be found in the help menu.

    This data is stored in a serpate database to bugzilla so that you can report any broken sites without having to worry about clogging up bugzilla with duplicates.
  • It's not like all these changes just spring up overnight. Use nightly (or hourly) trunk builds and you'll be up to date long before these releases or preview releases. I fully understand there's a reason for these sorts of dev previews, but the real testers and developers have been using these features and fixes for quite a long time now.

    Trunk builds are quite nice for even the regular user, so long as you're willing to put up with a few issues from time to time. The tradeoff for bug fixes and new fea
    • Speaking of fastback, that is a feature that makes back/forward a lot faster, similar to the performance of Opera.

      This feature is switched off by default at the moment until the known regressions are ironed out, but I've enabled it and it works well for me. So if you want to give it a go the instructions are here [mozillazine.org]

      In brief:
      Type about:config in the URL bar
      Right click and select "New > Integer"
      Enter pref name (w/o quotes) "browser.sessionhistory.max_viewers" and click ok
      Enter a value (number of pages to c
  • Finally an imitation of Safari's SnapBack!

    I love that thing, I've been missing it when using Firefox.
    It lets you go back to the last adress you specified to the browser (by typing it in or using a bookmark), quite usefull when you let yourself wander semi-randomly through clicking links.
    • Re:Fast back (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Overzeetop (214511)
      Darned, I was hoping they were implementing the Opera back/forward action, where the page is simply redrawn, for lack of the proper term, as the page you saw, rather than re-executed or re-downloaded. In Opera, the page redraws were so fast as to be unnoticable, and there were no data-post limitations. It was a snapshot rather than a reload. Of course, if you wanted to, you could just reload the page manually to re-invoke the post (or whatever actually happened on the page)
      • Re:Fast back (Score:4, Informative)

        by linuxci (3530) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @08:42AM (#12692925)
        They are, it's the parent post that got it wrong.

        Feature off by default as it's got some bugs at the moment, see my earlier comments [slashdot.org] on how to enable it.

        Not sure if they plan to implement the feature the parent mentioned in safari
        • They are, it's the parent post that got it wrong.
          [...]
          Not sure if they plan to implement the feature the parent mentioned in safari


          Awww... ah well, wishfull thinking. This sounds good too though : )
          Thanks for the correction.
        • Thanks for the info. I use FF in a "production" environment, so I won't be trying it just yet, but its good to know that this "feature" is on the horizon. There have been times the going back and printing an invoice page with a discount which was mystriously not included in the final payment invoice has asved me some cash. Not to mention the doing page searches from a slow server...I hate having to wait for the re-post and server-side app to execute again.

          (We've come a long way from the early 90s, when y
        • Is there anything in Firefox coming like Opera's thrash can which is somewhat related to the snapshot/fastback, opening previously closed windows?
  • 1.1 Extensions (Score:3, Informative)

    by mdew (651926) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @08:35AM (#12692882) Homepage
    http://www.projects1.com/firefox/exthacks/FFnightl yextensions.html [projects1.com]

    something to help with the coversion to 1.0->1.1, also best to try a new profile too.
    • Thanks for the info. Got my adblock and ForecastFox working again. :) Now the only thing missing is Linkification and gcache, and I can easily live without those. (And if I REALLY wanted them, I could just modify the extensions myself)
  • But I thought they outlawed internet hunting?
  • Does anybody know the status of keychain integration on Mac OS X?

    I know that Camino exists, but I really like the nifty Firefox extensions. Unfortunately, keychain integration is really a killer feature for me.

    Anyone else wish there were keychain integration? Maybe somebody has already started working on this?

    -Peter
  • I'm still looking forward to the day when you can ctrl-click a link and have the tab open immediately to the right of the currently active one and not at the far end of a line of tabs.

    So far, the only way I've found of solving this is to download the miniT extension and then modify a text file. This is 2005, not 1995.

  • So did Deer Park water pay them for the naming rights to this release or what? Or is it just a coincidence? That could actually be pretty funny, if there was product placement in open source release names.
  • Something I haven't seen mentioned that has quietly slipped in is the new extension-installation support. You can place .xpi files directly in the 'extensions' directory of either the program or your profile, and the next time you start it, Deer Park will automatically recognize and install the new one. This would seem especially noteworthy at this point in time, since many "broken" extensions can be hand-updated by bumping the version numbers in the extension's install.rdf and re-zipping the .xpi. You c
  • Is there anything else in end-user land worth checking out?
  • ...providing a toolbar button for the new Sanitize feature? Several features surprisingly lack toolbar icons (like Print Preview, Sanitize, etc.)

    Also, be aware that many extensions do NOT recognize the latest Deer Park build.

    As an Alpha, it looks pretty good. My only fear is that the likes of Microsoft use these Alpha builds as templates for their new releases...
  • I've gotta say that I'm a little skeptical about the need for some of the 'fixes' in this build.
    The attraction of FF is that it's sleek and lightweight. I don't want it to start making all kinds of allowances for bad formatting and adding 'features' like the Sanitize option. This is what optional extensions are for.
    Let's focus on keeping FF slender. I don't like to think of a senario in, say, a couple of year's time when FF3.0 has become bloated.
    Am I alone?
    • My opinion as well. What I like most about Firefox is that it has the option of remaining slimline. Although I use Opera all day long, I also use FF, especially when designing web pages (obviously). My biggest gripe is that it hogs a bucketload of memory before even loading a single page, and thus takes a while to load. More streamlining, leave the fancy stuff to extensions, please!
  • by NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) <john@oyler.comcast@net> on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @09:17AM (#12693225) Journal
    Pro:

    * An old xml text webpage of mine, first I clicked on, showed an xlink image. Inline images were the one thing I knew of preventing 100% XML webpages.

    * SVG. When I finally converted from seamonkey for all the gorgeous features I didn't realize firefox had, the lack of SVG hurt, hurt badly.

    Con:

    * Alot of extensions seem to be broken. Waiting for updates will be hard.

    * Greasemonkey. Yes, I know it's just another extension, but at work, this one is a lifesaver. Going without it means using IE for our stupid webapps.

    * The GrayModern theme is broken. The realization that this theme existed convinced me to switch from seamonkey. God I hate the default theme. (Are there any compatible themes at this point? I'd take anything other than the default!)

    Strange:

    * Even though it disabled the FavIcon Picker extension, alot of my links still have the icons I set for them. Wondering if a single click on them will undo the handywork.
  • The <canvas> [mozilla.org] is cool. Safari compatibility or not, this could be the LOGO of the noughties. JavaScript is a fun language when you're not trying to be cross-compatible with every browser under the sun.

    However, the last paragraph reads:

    If fallback content is desired, some CSS tricks must be employed to mask the fallback content from Safari (which should render just the canvas), and also to mask the CSS tricks themselves from IE (which should render the fallback content). Todo: get hixie to put t

  • CSS 3 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Epeeist (2682) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @09:52AM (#12693560) Homepage
    Interesting that they have already started to implement some of the proposed CSS 3 features and are fixing some CSS2 breakages.

    That other browser can't even get CSS 1 right, and won't be implementing CSS 2 features in the edition that is supposed to be out this summer.

    Speaking as somebody who has come close to throwing his PC out of the window this morning because IE doesn't do z-indexes properly, which means that I have to look for a yet another workaround to cope with its breakages.
  • Make sure to backup your firefox data in your home directory. The last beta I used messed up my settings to where it reset everything to default lost all my themes, extensions, cached field entries etc. When I switched back to the stable version, firefox would just lock up.
  • If I set it to -1, does it eat up IE?
  • See bug #9458 [mozilla.org] from July 1999. (You might have to copy the link and open it by hand since the Mozilla-Bugzilla does a referer-check to filter out requests from slashdot links...)

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