Firefox point and counterpoint

I like Firefox a lot. I use it almost exclusively at home. At work it’s not so easy, as something in its password caching plays havoc with the corporate proxy, hitting it with an old password continually, and constantly locking my account. So IE6 rules the roost there.

But I do have one big problem with Firefox, and the way its development goes. My series of annotated photos on my blog uses little popups to describe things in the pictures. I wanted something easy* to implement, completely standards-based, don’t rely on any hyper-funky overkill technology like Java or Flash, nor on an external service provider like Flickr (which looks really good, but these things have a habit of going west after a few years, and I intend my blog to be online virtually forever, or at least until they prise my credit cards from my cold dead hands).

So I used the <title> tag in the hotspots of the pictures. But Firefox abbreviates long tooltips, rather than wrapping.

This is a known bug in Firefox. It’s been a known bug in Firefox for four damn years. Jeez. Is that a failing of the open source community, that sometimes it can take them so long to agree something needs to be fixed, write a fix, and then get it released? I call that pretty piss-poor. At least with monolithic corporations like Microsoft, some jackbooted Program Manager would have clicked their fingers and had it done by now.

By the way, if you’re playing about in Firefox, but some obscure option you’re looking for isn’t on the dialogs (like when I turned off the closing all tabs warning and couldn’t turn it on again)… then check try about:config in the address field. Very groovy.

*Easy as long as doing HTML hotspots is your idea of fun, or you have a tool that can do them for you.

Update 10/11/2004: This bug is still not fixed in Firefox 1.0. It can be cured using the PopupAlt extension, but that’s not the point. Firefox should work. It shouldn’t be up to individual users to go out hunting for a solution they have to download to get around a known Firefox problem.

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9 thoughts on “Firefox point and counterpoint

  1. tony

    R.e Flickr, which really has a lot of buzz about it at the moment, they are planning on releasing a product you can install on your own server that offers most of the functionality of their hosted version. Even though I use Flickr here and there I have to agree, simplicity on your own server is the way to go.

  2. Phil

    My browser (IE6 ) only displays your little tags for a few seconds so I have to read them very quickly. Is there any way to stop that happening?

  3. Daniel

    Tony, the other issue is long response times or breakdowns affecting people looking at your pages, because the third party service have overloaded servers. Not so good. It’s generally easier to have someone else run a particular feature on my site, but if I’m doing it, I have ultimate control over it.

    Phil, I’ve had a quick look around, can’t find any way of doing it. Other than moving your mouse off the item, then back onto it!

    As for the bug in Firefox, apparently this extension:
    http://white.sakura.ne.jp/~piro/xul/_popupalt.html.en
    will fix it.

  4. Randall Swain

    While we are at it – any way to get a new tab to open with your home page? I always get a blank page and then have to hit home.

  5. Randall Swain

    Daniel et al – check out in extensions the following:

    Tabbrowser Extensions
    by Shimoda Hiroshi
    Version: 1.11.2004092801
    File Size: 236 KB
    Updated: 2004-09-28

    Add-on package for extending operations of tabbed browsing, for example tabs become reorderable by drag and drop.

    Compatible with versions from 0.6 up to 0.10

    I have just instaled it and it seems good so far!

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