Oops! Right after I posted that last entry, I discovered that my
little kitfox extension wasn't working as well as I'd thought.
And the more I hacked it, the less well it worked, and the more
I discovered was missing, like a chrome.manifest file (which
firefox 2 hadn't seemed to need).
Eventually some very helpful folks on #extdev pointed me to
Ted Mielczarek's excellent Extension
Wizard. Give it some details about your extension (its name and
version, your name, and a couple things you might want like a
toolbar button, a prefs panel and a context menu) and it generates
a zipped directory containing a bare bones extension, even including
niceties like internationalized strings.
Even better, your new extension skeleton includes a readme that
tells you how to leave the extension expanded while you work on
it. That's quite a bit easier than building the XPI file and installing
it each time.
So kitfox has a
0.3 version (in the unlikely event that anybody besides me wants it).
There's a project called
to develop and extend useful Mozilla dev tools like the Extension Wizard ...
watch that space for more details.
[ 21:12 Jul 04, 2008
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I finally broke down and spent the time to get Firefox 3 working
properly for me ... meaning, mostly, finding replacement extensions
for the bare minimum of what I need in a browser: control over cookies
(specifically, enabling/disabling them for specific sites),
flashblock, and blocking of animated images. I'd downloaded extensions
for all those a few weeks ago, but I found that although Firefox 3.0
said the FF3 extensions were active, and Firefox 2 said the old ones
were, neither set actually worked.
I decided to start from scratch: remove all extensions --
rm -rf .mozilla/firefox/extensions/* .mozilla/firefox/extensions.*
apt-get remove firefox-2-dom-inspector --
then install a new set of Firefox 3 add-ons.
After much hunting
(I sure wish addons.mozilla.org
would offer a way to limit the view to only extensions that work with
Firefox 3! Combing through 15 pages of extensions looking for the
handful that will actually install gets old fast) I found the
replacements I needed:
CS Lite for the cookie controls,
a newer Flashblock,
and Custom Toolbar Buttons as a stopgap for image animation
(though I suspect updating anidisable will be a better solution
in the long run). This time, with the old firefox 2 extensions purged,
the new ones took hold and worked.
I also added a nice extension called OpenBook that fixes the horrible
Firefox "Add bookmark" dialog. You know: the one that has two nearly
identical dropdown category menus side by side, with the bigger one
giving you only a tiny subset of your bookmark categories, and the
smaller one being the real one. The one that doesn't offer a space for
keyword, so to set up a bookmarklet you have to Add Bookmark, OK,
Organize Bookmarks, find the bookmark you just added, Ctrl-I to
get the Bookmark info dialog, and finally you can add your
keyword. OpenBook gives you a dialog where you can set the keyword
to begin with, and it only gives you one menu to list categories
so you aren't constantly tempted to click on the wrong one.
Now for the urlbar -- that new firefox 3 "smarter" urlbar that slows
down typing in the middle of a word so it can pop up a big fancy
window full of guesses (all wrong) about where I might be trying to
go. Actually, even if the guesses were right, it wouldn't help,
because I'd have to stop typing, search the list visually, then if
one of the suggestions was right, move my hand to the mouse or the
arrow keys to choose that suggestion. That takes way longer than just
typing the url.
But I guess I don't mind unhelpful suggestions popping up as long as
it doesn't mess up focus (preventing me from clicking or tabbing to
other apps on my screen) or slow down typing. Firefox 3 seems to be
handling the focus issue better than firefox 2 did, but the slowdown
was quite noticeable on the poor old laptop. So I wanted a way to
disable the behavior. A little googling revealed that the Firefox crew
immodestly calls their new urlbar the "awesomebar", which aside from
giggle factor also proves quite useful in googling: a search on
disable awesomebar reveals that I'm not the only one who doesn't
like it, and got me several preferences
I could tweak in about:config plus a couple of extensions to
turn it off entirely. I won't try to summarize, since the best
settings depend on your machine's spec, plus personal preference.
Making progress! Now the only issue was getting my urlbar tweaks working,
so that typing <Ctrl-Return> after typing a URL opened the URL in a new
tab instead of tacking on various silly extensions (oh, yes, of course
I wanted to go to http://www.firefox disable awesomebar.com
rather than googling for those terms in a new tab).
has changed very little since firefox 2, and I hardly needed to change
anything to get my
kitfox extension (v. 0.2)
working in Firefox 3.
Only one more issue: this blog. The CSS that handles the right sidebar
wasn't displaying right. Seems that Firefox 2 has changed something
about its interpretation of CSS, so it was floating the right sidebar
way down to the bottom of the page below the last content line.
Eventually (after adding firefox-3.0-dom-inspector,
another extension that had stopped working in the transition)
I discovered the problem: the #content was set to width: 77%
while the #rightsidebar's left-margin was at 76%. Apparently Firefox 2
rounded up as needed, whereas Firefox 3 just ignores the left-margin
if it would overlap the content, and then floats the sidebar anywhere
it thinks it can fit it. Fixing those percentages helped quite a bit,
and I added an overflow-x: hidden (on a tip from a helpful person in
#firefox) so that wide calendar doesn't hurt layout for narrow windows.
I think it's working now ... any readers having problems with the
layout in any browser, by all means let me know.
[ 12:04 Jul 04, 2008
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