Archived entries for Browsers

CNET: Firefox for Intel Macs planned for March

From their leadin:

“We are targeting the official release of Firefox for Intel Mac OS X in late March with the Firefox 1.5.0.2 update,” said Mozilla software engineer Josh Aas told.

According to the reporting, there are only two real areas where adjustments are needed. This is good news, and means that, as expected, we won’t be seeing any rendering engine changes:

“The first issue is some compatibility issues between the (Macromedia) Flash plugin shipped with Mac OS X 10.4.4 and Firefox. We have been working closely with Macromedia to resolve the issues.”

The other issue relates to the need to update to an Intel version of the ‘Java Embedding Plugin’ (JEP), which handles all Java applets in Mozilla’s Mac OS X products.

Mozilla Thunderbird Maintenance

I’ve been using Mozilla Thunderbird as my exclusive desktop mail client at home and work for the last six or eight months. It’s been a perfectly capable and full-feature mail client, it’s not part of the Microsoft monopoly, and I like supporting Mozilla.

Several weeks ago though, my home instance started having problem. The indicator was that the Inbox count (the number of messages) was incorrect, and would often rapidly increase to a huge and incorrect number (200,000+ sometimes). Additionally, checking mail found sometimes fail, and the status bar would display incorrect or irrelevant information.

I did a little research and learned that I should be (have been) compacting my folders regularily to prevent mailbox corruption. To do so, highlight a folder or account, and go File > Compact Folders. Check out How to compact folders in Mozilla Thunderbird for all the details.

I tried several times to compact the folders, but either the process would fail or, if compeleted, wouldn’t fix the program. I concluded after research that this indicated the my mailbox data files had become corrupt. The mail data was OK, but the index, or table of contents of that data was corrupt.

Lukily, Thunderbird can easily create a new index file (foo.msf, for Mail Summary File), and will do so automatically if it finds the file missing. After locating my Profile Folder, I deleted all the .msf files that were causing problems. (Actually ALL of ‘em, just to be safe.) There’s a .msf for each of your mail folders, so your number of .msf files will vary — I had a few dozen.

(To be safe, cut-and-paste a copy of your Profile Folder to a safe location before mucking around in your profile.)

With the bad files out of the system, I booted Thunderbird back up and watched as it rebuilt each index file. Problem solved. It’s been working perfectly since.

Firefox Extension: X-Ray

Stuart Robertson makes good on one of his New Year’s Resolutions by creating and publishing his X-Ray extension for Firefox.

It’s a nifty little extension that uses CSS’s :before and :after pseudo-classes to expose the markup on a page without needing to view source. By seeing the markup in use on a page, in context, it’s easier to see what’s doing what, especially I imagine for non-webdevs.

As I suggested in the comments on his blog post, I’d use this even more if it allows me to X-Ray just a section of the page, in much the way “View Selected Source” lets me examine just a subset of the page’s source.

AllPeers Filesharing Extension for Firefox, a TechCrunch Review

Michael Arrington points to a forthcoming Firefox bittorrent extension called AllPeers for sharing files with your friends and family. Sounds pretty good, I could use a tool like this.

I signed up for the beta, and you can too via the link towards the end of his TechCrunch review.

wg:List – Best Web Development Articles of 2005

Alessandro Fulciniti reported his Top 20 Bookmarks of 2005 on the Web-Graphics blog. Some great stuff, in particular On having layout (a must-read for anybody trying to get CSS to work in browsers). If you’re doing web development or design, I recommend being familiar with all 20 of his list.

Tips for Faster Web Pages

I just stumbled across a nice list of tips for speeding up your web site. At Yahoo! this is job #1, and most of the tricks we use are included in this list: Marcelo Calbucci posted it on his blog in November, but tips like these don’t really get outdated.

Here are the tip titles and some notes from me (in italics), but head over to his site to get all the details:

  • Tip #1: Strip spaces, tabs, CR/LF from the HTML – I think attribute quotes are worth the weight, as they reduce development bugs over time. If possible, use a build process to keep both commented development versions and efficient minimized production versions.
  • Tip #2: Don’t use XHMTL – I tend to agree. From a performance perspective clearly, but controversial in general
  • Tip #3: Keep Cookies Small – yep
  • Tip #4: Keep JavaScript Small – and efficient, and modular
  • Tip #5: Use Public Caching – do it if you can, especially if you’re talkin’ real traffic
  • Tip #6: Enable HTTP Compression – this is often “gzip”, but by any means necessary
  • Tip #7: Keep all as much as possible in lower case – yep, and it’s more forward compatible too
  • Tip #8: Avoid Tables – the rendering problems with tables are the most important reason, and the Web Standards folks agree for semantic reasons
  • Tip #9: Set image size – yep. Does anybody know if this is equally efficiently accomplished in CSS declarations and HTML attributes.
  • Tip #10: Compact your GIF/JPG – always important
  • Tip #11: Reduce the number of external elements – yep, though the details — when to combine small page-specific files into one cross-site file — require a bit of case-by-case examination
  • Tip #12: Use a single DNS Lookup – yep
  • Tip #13: Delay Script Starts – this concept is right, but there are more efficient solutions (that i’ll be writing about in a few weeks)
  • Tip #14: Watch for Memory Leak – extra important in these days of heavy javascript development


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