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"86" Firefox to give us options about address bar or ability to replace it with add-on

  • 5 ردود
  • 1 has this problem
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  • آخر ردّ كتبه mick-p

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I'm really beginning to wonder why I use Firefox. For years I've felt violently abused (it's not an exaggeration in my head) by the UI team who lord over it in a totalitarian way instead of just giving us options to not be constantly humiliated every day we use it.

The address bar has become my worst enemy lately. I keep staving off "86ing" Firefox from my life by editing the CSS this and that, when it worked just fine for years, but it changes and every time for the worse. How can we effectively get Firefox to give us options? Why are options so bad? Why do we not deserve options? I want to know how we can apply pressure on the institution to make FF usable again.

Here are a few examples, the last is the worst of them:

1) I want to have an X button on tabs, I just want to be able to delete a tab? Why can't I have an option for this? (I have to use crazy CSS script. Normal people don't go to that length. I would not adopt FF out of the box today.)

2) Many complain about the address bar that freaks out whenever you touch it. I want an option to disable that. (Again I have a CSS script that makes it act like normal productivity software. That's insane. Why can't we have an option to make the address bar behave like a normal HTML form element? I just want an option.)

3) As of FF 86 I can no longer use the address bar to perform searches. I've added the Search bar to my UI so I can do searches, but the browser still defaults to the address bar, so I have to click over to the Search bar. And if I use the address bar by accident, it laughs at me and refuses to process my search. I just want to be able to search with an address bar. I remember years ago having to remove the search bar because it would no longer search, but the address bar would search. My radical solution was to amputate the search bar. Now I'm in the complete opposite situation where the search bar searches but the address bar doesn't search. Again, I just want an option to be able to apply searches with my browser.

I just want an option for FF to not be aggressively hostile to me. It's not so simple as to ignore it. Every time you interact with the UI it's its own humiliation. It's a constant reminder of impotence. And questioning why do I subject myself to the whims of these people who're pulling my tail like I'm some monkey.

What the hell is wrong with Mozilla? Is is it still Mozilla? Why can't add-on people effectively address these problems if Mozilla won't? Why dictate how everything is, and then make everything unusable? Why?

How can we make our voices heard? Why can't Mozilla just kill FF if its goal seems to be to do that by making it unusable? Why not just close shop? Because some one will carry it on because it's open source? It really seems like someone wants FF to be unpopular. How else can we understand that it doesn't just give options? No even options in its crazy about:config system? Why am I in this masochistic relationship with FF? What's in it for FF?

All Replies (5)

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mick-p said

How can we effectively get Firefox to give us options? Why are options so bad?

What we've heard over the years is that maintaining multiple UI configurations creates extra burdens during development. There is an unbelievable number of test scripts that need to complete successfully every time a change is checked in, and the number of scripts multiplies for each configuration option. Not to mention the bugs the tests miss that need to be reported and fixed either during beta or after wide release. How serious a problem is that for any given preference? No idea. We're the support volunteers, not the developers.

1) I want to have an X button on tabs, I just want to be able to delete a tab? Why can't I have an option for this?

The button is hidden on the background tabs (not active tab) when the tab width is below about 140 pixels or the tab bar is overflowing (scroll buttons appear at the left and right). There has not been a preference for this since mid-2014. It seems unlikely that it will come back now unless it is needed for parity with other browsers. That's not to say it's convenient to use userChrome.css rules for this, but that's my view of where we are.

2) Many complain about the address bar that freaks out whenever you touch it. I want an option to disable that.

When you say "freaks out" do you mean it expands by about 7 pixels in every direction? This is what we have now based on advocacy by the disability community: https://www.userchrome.org/megabar-styling-firefox-address-bar.html#enlargement

You know the other options.

3) As of FF 86 I can no longer use the address bar to perform searches. I've added the Search bar to my UI so I can do searches, but the browser still defaults to the address bar, so I have to click over to the Search bar. And if I use the address bar by accident, it laughs at me and refuses to process my search.

What happens when you press Enter now? Nothing? Error finding the site?

Or is this is related to the change where clicking an icon on the bottom row of the autocomplete drop-down selects the target site (indicating that at the left end of the address bar) instead of submitting the search to the site immediately? The design in Firefox 83+ is:

  • click the button to select the site, type your query, press Enter or click the Go button
  • Shift+click the button to submit the current contents of the address bar to the site

If that's not the issue, please describe it in more detail.

How can we make our voices heard?

You can try:

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I just read through your last thread from December 2017 (https://support.mozilla.org/questions/1192491) and that leads me to modify something I wrote earlier:

jscher2000 said

1) I want to have an X button on tabs, I just want to be able to delete a tab? Why can't I have an option for this?

The button is hidden on the background tabs (not active tab) when the tab width is below about 140 pixels or the tab bar is overflowing (scroll buttons appear at the left and right). There has not been a preference for this since mid-2014. It seems unlikely that it will come back now unless it is needed for parity with other browsers. That's not to say it's convenient to use userChrome.css rules for this, but that's my view of where we are.

The 140 pixel part can be addressed by modifying this preference:

(1) In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button accepting the risk.

(2) In the search box in the page, type or paste tab*width and pause while the list is filtered

(3) Double-click the browser.tabs.tabClipWidth preference to display an editing field, and change the value to 75 -- that's one pixel below the default value of browser.tabs.tabMinWidth -- then press Enter or click the blue check mark button to save the change.

You may not notice any difference in the current window, but in new windows as you add more tabs, before the bar goes into overflow mode, the X buttons should continue to appear on the background tabs as they shrink down toward their minimum width. After the bar overflows, you may need to close several tabs before the X buttons reappear on the background tabs. I only played with this briefly, so if your experience is different, you could let us know.

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Thank you jscher2000, I always see you around when FF goes cockeyed. I really want to know why it's so dysfunctional, for options that aren't exotic requests, and it's so inhuman to interface with Mozilla, they simply don't care that they're monkeying with the main software people use everyday to interact with the WWW. Part of me can't come to grips with why Mozilla thinks these decisions make any sense, I can't even imagine them being anyone's preference. And interacting with the issue tracker (as is the case with any software these days, the open-source culture is so toxic) is as hopeless as any other avenue of interaction.

Search was working via about:config in FF 85. Now the screw is on our nails. What hell awaits the developers who make this decision to disrupt our lives? I maintain software. It's just a mouse button mapping option. It's really not too much to ask, this is a matter of abuse of power and it's unethical and immoral.

The only viable solution to search offered (instead of a preference) is to press a middle mouse button. 1) Why the heck should we have to relearn this muscle memory? 2) Not all mice have a middle button... mine doesn't. It has a slippery wheel, so I don't intend t o use it for basic functionality as inputting a query into my browser.

3) Mouse buttons are an accessibility issue. Use a Shift key? Okay, well that's insane. But not everyone has two hands. So that's an accessibility concern too. I certainly don't have two hands for a web browser app.

This isn't just frustration, it's I guess hopeless. I guess I just have see FF for what it is, but it's a shame because it's really software and and not the bad people behind it. It's a waste, but yes I will at least try to make contact with its developers, but it seems really hopeless. And that's a problem in itself. It's a problem that's been festering for probably a decade behind Firefox.

Edited: For the record, Twitter and Reddit definitely aren't viable options. This forum seems more viable. I know those aren't, or Twitter isn't unless I guess you're a celebrity... which I'm not.

Edited: https://discourse.mozilla.org/t/3-basic-needed-ui-preferences-time-to-86-firefox/76271

Modified by mick-p

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mick-p said

The only viable solution to search offered (instead of a preference) is to press a middle mouse button. 1) Why the heck should we have to relearn this muscle memory? 2) Not all mice have a middle button... mine doesn't. It has a slippery wheel, so I don't intend t o use it for basic functionality as inputting a query into my browser. 3) Mouse buttons are an accessibility issue. Use a Shift key? Okay, well that's insane. But not everyone has two hands. So that's an accessibility concern too. I certainly don't have two hands for a web browser app.

The new behavior facilitates retrieving dynamic search suggestions from the correct site. That may not be of interest to you or many other users, but it is illogical to show suggestions from Google if you are planning to search another site. It definitely would be nice to give users a choice as to which is the plain click behavior and which is the shift+click behavior. I don't know what is involved in implementing that.

My Unofficial Perspective

On the larger question of what drives feature changes: What Google is doing in Chromium-based browsers is having more influence in recent years, perhaps too much. People have speculated that decisions based on prevalence of use of various features favors newer users rather than experienced ones because long-time users are more likely to disable telemetry and therefore are not sharing data with Mozilla. No idea whether that is true or is a factor. Probably long-time users and power users are underrepresented (from our perspective) in UI focus groups, especially if they are drawn from the general public. Whatever the reasons, the upshot of all that is UI designers and program coders sometimes need to be reminded about muscle memory, and sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't.

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For the record there IS a preference to disable Suggestions, and I think probably many turn this on just because it's extravagant and noisy to get suggestions or not how people intend to use the features. Probably this feature to disable suggestions will be removed because there's an asymmetry now and Firefox's UI team never takes the prudent option. (Of course since the feature is disabled there's no benefit at all from forcing us to click the middle mouse button and the address simply appears to be broken. Instead of telemetry it would be nice if anyone working on Firefox UI used Firefox as their browser, since I think developers who use their own software just don't make these kinds of mistakes... or light decisions that make no sense.)

Modified by mick-p

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