Surest way to lose a customer

I am beta testing Firefox 2 on one of my machines, and will be writing about the new JavaScript 1.7 in a post over at ScriptTeaser. One of the advantages to Firefox 2 is the spellchecker, which works with all text windows. It really is the way to go, rather than have to enable the functionality on every server.

Most of my Firefox extensions don’t work with 2.0b, but one that does is the NoScript, which allows you to ‘whitelist’ a site for JavaScript use. The purpose is to protect yourself if you end up at a site that has a JS exploit, but still allow JavaScript usage for trusted sites. Unfortunately, if a whitelisted site also has an opening for a cross-site scripting hack, exploitive JavaScript can be ‘injected’ into the page.

One can always turn JS off, but that just cuts you off from the useful to frivolous use of scripting that is pretty ubiquitous now. Still, it’s an option.

I like to use NoScript, as I like to see how sites look when their JavaScript is turned off. After all, sites need to make sure they work in a non-script environment. Home pages such, shown below, are unacceptable–the mark of sloppy developers far too hung up on technology. Note to the company: Expedia’s worked fine without JavaScript.


The next generation IE

I recently upgraded my Dell laptop to Windows XP — the last upgrade for this particular computer until it needs to be turned into a pure Linux machine. As such, I could download the IE 7 beta.

The very positive aspect of IE is the fact that PNG images actually work with this browser now, including transparent bits being transparent. When I tested it against some older JavaScript/DHTML libraries, the applications wouldn’t work until I used the DOM libraries. So, this means that IE is forward compatible with DOM, but not backward compatible with the Albatross, otherwise known as IE 6.x.

Well, except for opacity, which is a half way implementation between that of Firefox/Mozilla and it’s old filters self. As such, the new fade extension to my library kindof sortof works with it, but should be completely workable with minor tweaking.

Some of the old ‘box’ problems seem to be fixed — at least the one that impacts me, so I’m a contented puppy.

That was the good, now for the bad…

This browser sucks. Is this what we can expect from Vista? “I’m sorry but whatever it is you’re about to do, you’ll most likely do it wrong and screw up this pristine, pure Windows operating system and then you’ll say vile things about Bill Gates, so we just can’t allow this.” Or words to that effect.

I had notifications from Windows XP about firewalls and security software and everything else, but I found where to turn these off. IE 7.x, though–no matter what I do with the preferences, it nags me constantly about how much of a risk my machine is in.

Listen up browser, I like to walk on the edge. Back the hell up.

Don’t even get me started in that bassackwards design of the interface. Those who say it’s cool, have been permanently damaged by solar radiation. Half the time I never know where to type a URL, or where to click a button to reload. Doesn’t matter anyway, because every time I do anything, the little shield icon pops up with

“Would you like to learn how to be safe and secure and never, ever be exposed to anything that might cause you problems? We can take care of you if you’ll…just…push…this…button”.

Thanks, but if I wanted to live like that, I’d vote Republican.


More on Firefox

Another new, or I should say heavily modified, feature I accidentally discovered with the RC 1.0 version of Firefox (I don’t think it was in the .9x releases) is the “Find in this Page” text search capability. Previously, the search function was a window that would open, you’d type in the phrase, and it would scroll to item.

Now when you click the link for “Find in this Page”, a bar opens at the bottom of the browser. As you type in the word you want to find, Firefox immediately scrolls to the first word that matches the letters as they are being typed. And it works very, very fast, too.

You can also highlight the words if you want to see all occurrances in the page. And leave the Find bar up for use in all your pages, if you’re doing some heavy researching on a term.

Firefox beats out any other browser I’ve used, on either my Mac or my Windows laptops. Unfortunately, I still have to use IE for printing on my Windows 2000 laptop because Firefox does not work well with my printer. In fact, I have to re-boot the machine to kill the runaway process triggered by Firefox if I forget and do a print. But the HP drivers I have for this printer are badly behaved anyway (I must see if there are updates that fix the problem) so I’m not blaming the browser.


Good-bye Netscape

In the golden age of the Internet, Netscape was the darling, the poster child for the Dot Com Boom. My first server-side development effort was based in Netscape’s LiveWire technology, which eventually went on to become the Netscape Application Server. My second book I wrote was on Netscape’s JavaScript.

My interest in RDF started because of the use of RDF within the early implementations of Mozilla. I defended Mozilla when others criticized it. I pushed back at the drive for standards when people used this to question Mozilla’s direction.

A member of the Mozilla team, a Netscape employee, made a trip to a hotel I was staying at for a conference to leave me a T-Shirt as a thank you for my support.

Mozilla will stay but Netscape is gone. This is the true end of the Dot Com era. This is when we know that not only is the roller coaster ride finished, but the roller coaster itself has been closed down for being a little too fast, and a bit too scary.