Firefox 4.0 flashes lusty leg at Windows lovers
Hunted with only her cunning to protect her
Just a few days on from teasing us about how Firefox 3.7 might eventually look, Mozilla has spun out another set of mockups – this time capturing Firefox 4.0 in the headlights.
The open source browser maker has splashed colour over 4.0's location bar. It will turn green when a user starts typing, will blend with the bar when at rest, flashes blue on hover and transforms into red when a page is loading.
“The proposed iconography is mostly colourless. Adding colour to these temporary action driven buttons will make it more obvious something is going on,” wrote Mozilla in a draft wiki.
Mozilla is also once again nodding happily in the direction of Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system with possible changes to the interface of its much-loved browser.
"I guess the idea of having a combined go/refresh button is good. It will help the users who are just switching from IE. Also, there must be more flexibility in changing the button settings," noted a confident Mozilla.
"Foxy is the most customisable browser out there, so I say, take one of the ideas here for the default, then let the user choose how many buttons are there, their position etc. Also, it would be great even if the progress bar design was changeable too. Why not?"
Additionally the outfit is mulling ways of tweaking what it described as the “contentious Tabs-on-Top concept”.
Mozilla pointed out that the tabs “have to be connected to something”, so it plans to add an extra visual element for them to link to.
However, it acknowledged that some users might complain that such a move “breaks consistency/familiarity”.
The change would bring in a shorter mouse distance to page controls, but would mean a longer mouse distance to a tab.
But whether Firefox 4.0 will see the tabs come out on top clearly remains a fairly heated debate over at Mozilla towers. Get stuck in by offering your two-penneth here. ®
Re: Early Learning Centre (aka dumbed-down crap)
"Can everyone stop adopting all these Fisher Price interfaces. Just coz Apple did it doesn't mean we all want patronising Teletubbies bouncy icons and graphics!"
I agree completely.
Let's just hope that Apple has patented those goddamned pinstripes, lest they hopelessly infest other OSes or apps.
If Firefox or Windows or Linux ever turn up with mandatory pinstripes everywhere (shhh, don't give them any more dumb ideas than they already have), that's where they and I will part company.
<rant>The UI designers of these companies are shooting themselves in the foot with those idiotic dumbed-down designs. They're driving away serious users and pandering to the worst of the lowest common denominator. I would have got a new Mac years ago but I can't stand the apparent lack of user-configurability in OSX, so I keep the old "classic Mac" (therefore Apple is losing money from lost sales of new equipment) because the *old* OS has a calm, subdued appearance that doesn't distract from whatever work you're trying to get accomplished. The focus should be on the work you're doing, not on worthless eye candy that serves no purpose except to make you want to throw the damn thing out the window.</rant>
- user of nice old "classic Mac", modern Linux, and XP Pro, not necessarily in that order, and sometimes all at once :)
Fancy stuff maybe as an option, but not mandatory.
"...why is it so hard to realise that the elegant solution is merging all tab functionality into the system task bar?"
Maybe for some people, as an option that could be turned on if desired, but not if it was mandatory.
It wouldn't work at all for me (which is why I'd want it turned off), because I auto-hide the taskbar in both XP and Linux - the taskbar only becomes visible (temporarily for a few seconds when I pass the mouse over it) only when I actually need it, mostly just as a quick occasional reminder of what other apps/windows/HDD/whatever I've got open at any given moment - easier to see it visually in one glance there instead of Alt-Tabbing through everything - although I usually do use Alt-Tab to actually switch apps.
If Firefox tabs were all on the taskbar, it would horribly compete for space with the other apps' windows/folders/HDD(several)/etc on the taskbar - no way 60 tabs + other apps' windows are going to fit there, nor should they have to. Also I would not want Firefox tabs autohiding, yet I have no intention to turn off the taskbar-autohide feature (I like it).
More space-saving: At the top of the Firefox window, I deleted the entire button bar - I never click those buttons anyway - use keyboard shortcuts instead, I mean seriously, come on, does anyone over the age of 5 actually *click* "Back" or "Home" or "Refresh" etc when keyboard shortcuts are so much easier? I also hid the bookmarks toolbar (I wrote out a quick HTML page of links for that, instead; it's easier), and the address/URL bar is on the SAME LINE as the File/Menu/etc menu things. Deleted search thingie (never use it). So there is far less space wasted at the top of the monitor. But don't EVEN think about taking away my menus! True I use keyboard shortcuts to operate the menus (I'm lazy), instead of clicking them, but I like to have them there anyway. As I said they're on the same line as the URL field, so there would be no space advantage to getting rid of them.
Of course, everyone's aware, right, that you can set Firefox's minimum tab width to less than the standard, to fit lots more tabs on screen (normal top placement), using Firefox's about:config.
I can see having the various options that other people have suggested here AS LONG AS those new options were turn-off-able ;) so that people who wanted the normal UI could use that instead, and people who wanted the fancy new cutting-edge UI could use that.
The Linux version of 3.5 (well, 3.5.2) still has a few stability issues - it doesn't like loading a YouTube video while the One & Other feed is running, and last night it decided to crash when loading a Wikipedia article...
The clearer connection between tab and page on the 'tabs below address bar' version is to be welcomed (the current four pixel stripe, of which only the central two are the same colour as the tab - so 2px effective - isn't very clear, especially if you have similarly coloured tabs), although I'm not too convinced on the same shade of translucent grey for everything - especially as it looks as though it's optimised for Windoze rather than platforms in general. How about having no 'background' colour, and allow themes to use gifs/pngs with an alpha channel, so the theme can decide how much transparency you get and where?