EditCSS Extension for Mozilla Firebird

I’ve been using Mozilla Firebird as my default web brower for months now, but hadn’t really had time to delve into the various extensions available for it.

But then Seth Dillingham pointed to the EditCSS extension and I’m hooked.

EditCSS appears as a sidebar that contains an editable version of the CSS of the page you’re viewing. Change the CSS and the change is reflected immediately in the browser. Awesome stuff.

Mozilla Firebird

I’d been rolling along using Mozilla 1.4 for the past few months until Seth Dillingham posted about how a new Conversant feature was supported in IE, Mozilla 1.4 and Mozilla Firebird. I’d never heard of Firebird (formerly Phoenix) until Seth posted it, but figured I’d download it and give it a whirl.

As Neo might say, “Whoa!” Firebird hasn’t yet reached a 1.0 release and not only does it have all the goodness that is baked into Mozilla, but this is by far the most stable browser I have ever used. My mean time between crashing with Mozilla and IE was probably about 4 hours. I ran Firebird for two weeks before experiencing my first browser crash.

The only defect I can find is that, like Mozilla, it has a nasty habit of crashing when printing certain pages. Mozilla used to crash on me several times a week while printing. With Firebird that’s been reduced to about once every other week, but it’s still an incredibly annoying bug.

Still, it’s got tabs, its got the incredible keyword system for bookmarks and sets of tabs . . . why people would still run IE is beyond me.

ArsTechnica’s Mozilla Review

ArsTechnica has a lengthy review of Mozilla 1.0 which gives the browser a rather lukewarm assessment.

The reviewer does have a point about some of Mozilla’s shortcomings. I’ve had a lot of the same problems ArsTechnica reports when it comes to installing plugins.

But those drawbacks are more than overcome by the tabbed interface, which ArsTechnica mentions, and the keyword support which it doesn’t. The tabbed interface is the best implementation of that in any browser I’ve used. Yes, it would be nice if Mozilla could be configured to automatically open new tabs when clicking on a link, but it can be configured to open new tabs when clicking on the middle button of a three-button mouse which works great for me.

Even more powerful are the keywords option. Once you’ve bookmarked a web site, you can go into the bookmark manager and assign each site a keyword. For example, to reach brian.carnell.com I just go to my web browser and type in “BC.”

But wait, there’s more. Mozilla also allows users to assign keywords to groups of sites. For example, I have a list of 12 web sites that are all related that I need to view every day. In Mozilla I just open those sites up once, bookmark that configuration and assign it a keyword. Talk about a time saver.

When Mozilla was being developed I was extremely skeptical that it would ever even come close to being as functional as IE. Now I would imagine web browsing without Mozilla’s excellent tools.

Harsh Words for Netscape

In case you haven’t been following its latest fiasco, Netscape is apparently rushing Netscape 6 out the door with a host of problems, including poor support for standards. One of the folks at Slashdot just rips into Netscape on the Slashdot’s frontpage saying,

It seems clear to me that Netscape cares a lot more about shopping tabs and similar deadwood – things that bring immediate profit to the Netscape Corporation but absolutely no value to the user – than they do about putting out a decent browser. Personally, I’d recommend beta-testing IE 6, since IE not only has won the browser wars, it’s clearly a better browser – and will remain so.

Ouch. But is IE 6 really going to be any better? As ZDNet notes, IE 6 is going to be loaded with the same sort of extraneous options,

Version 6.0, according to ActiveWin.com and WinInformant.com, will get a more digital-media facelift. Microsoft will add Explorer toolbars that will allow users to work more easily with digital images, music, and video clips, the sites said.

Yeah the other day I was thinking to myself, “Gees, I wish I had another button on IE that woudl let me play video clips easily.” Not.

Plus it’s still an open question as to whether or not Microsoft is finally going to get around to supporting standards consistently in its browser. ZDNet claims that, “And Microsoft will almost certainly add the new dynamic HTML and cascading-style-sheet technologies to IE6 that it unveiled last week as part of its service pack 1 update to Version 5.5,” but I won’t believe it until I see it.