Friday, April 29, 2005

50 million downloads of Firefox

Finally, Firefox has broken the 50 million milestone. How long until 100 million? Blazing a Trail to 50,000,000. That is more than the population of England in 2001. Open Source software can be popular and usable.

This was all done thanks to the community, like Spread Firefox and web logs. The only real expense was the New York Times advert, but that was community funded. Word of mouth can be the best marketing money can't buy.

The percentage of users in Europe is impressive. Highest in Finland (30%), lowest in Lithuania (3.5%). The UK (12%) is just below the average (which is 13%). This time last year it was no where near that (Firefox 1.0 didn't exist at all). I remember 1 million being a major milestone. Stats source: XiTi - Extude Xiti Monitor (in French - English translation (using Google Translate)). Source found via Blake Ross: Firefox popularity explodes in Europe.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Firefox Feed Readers

If you read blogs a lot, use Firefox, and know what RSS and Atom are then there are plenty of extensions available that makes reading them easier. Firefox news readers runs the gamut (NewsForge) reviews several of them. Live Bookmarks, InfoRSS, FeedView, Habari Xenu, Sage, Wizz RSS News Reader, Alpha Ticker, StockQuote and StockTicker.

I know of no add ons to Internet Explorer that integrates feeds with it. Firefox has all these, yet only has a small market share (< 15%). Imagine if it had the kind of dominance IE has?

Firefox is a much better browser when it comes to web development and blogs. What features will IE7 have? It will have to be as easily extensible as Firefox (not ActiveX, but extensible via XML/CSS/JavaScript in a similar way to Firefox (extensions installed under limited account or for all users)).

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Don't make browsers, make extensions

Don't make browsers, make extensions. An interesting post by Robert Accettura. Rather than build a new browser based on another (like the Netscape 8 Beta), extend an existing one. With Firefox, this can be done with extensions. You essentially get a new browser anyway (by adding more than what already exists) - so why tell people to download your browser, just get Firefox then install your extension. Far easier to update (no need to build whole new browser, just update your extension if it breaks in a newer release), better use of resource, and allows you to add more and improve existing features.

I can see Google and Yahoo doing an extension that makes it far more usable with their services. Yahoo has already started with the Yahoo Toolbar for Firefox. When will Google release something? What would happen if people asked MSN to do a toolbar for Firefox? Consumers may want it, but would they provide it as Internet Explorer competes with Firefox, and it would show more that Firefox is a viable alternative?

Leave the browser to the browser companies. Let them handle the security issues and updates (contribute back if you find a bug, or can provide a patch), just work on the features you want adding. As Firefox works on multiple platforms, you have a much greater audience as well. It is far more beneficial to the consumers (they have more choice, and don't feel 'tied in').

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Monday, April 25, 2005

AJAX library for ASP.Net

AJAX library for ASP.Net, by Damien McGivern. Another library for ASP.NET. Michael Schwarz does one as well - Ajax.NET Blog.

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Aardvark Firefox Extension

Aardvark Firefox Extension. Very useful for web developers. When turned on, outlines block level elements (DIV's, table cells, lists etc) when you hover over them. Features:

Select a wider area. For instance, if you have selected a table cell, pressing W will select the table row
Undo the last "Wider" command
Quit Aardvark (that is, stop selecting elements), until you restart it from the menu
Undo the last "remove" or "isolate" command.
Delete the selected element
Delete everything surrounding the selected element
Clear the element of all content, while fixing its dimensions
Black on white
Set the element (and all contained elements) to be black text on white background
Sets the element's background to a random color
View Source
Shows the source code of the element (with indenting and colour highlighting)
Removes any fixed width values from the element (and any contained elements)

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Sunday, April 24, 2005

Asa Dotzler: spreadfirefox's for the record project

Asa Dotzler: spreadfirefox's for the record project. Asa announces a new project on Spread Firefox - For The Record. Correct the media's mistakes when it comes to Firefox. i.e. saying Opera 8 was downloaded more than Firefox when it was released. In that case, Opera 8 was compared with Firefox 1.0PR (the preview release, not the final release). Firefox 1.0 (the final release) was downloaded 2.5 million times, Opera 8 was downloaded 600,000. I expect similar things will occur when test releases of Firefox 1.1 come out (which will have at least one Developer Preview Release (for developers to test extensions and additional developer improvements) and one Preview Release (to test new browser features) before finally coming out).

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IE7 beta 1 (PNG, CSS fixes)

Looks like they have fixed a few CSS bugs and improved PNG support in IE7. No download, so guess is it is an internal only beta. IE7 beta 1 - A few details... I wonder what other feature will be announced? More CSS bugs fixes probably. Hopefully better CSS support (i.e. new CSS properties, not bug fixes) and perhaps tabbed browsing.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

XmlHttpRequest Libraries (JavaScript)

JavaScript libraries for working with XmlHttpRequest (i.e. getting information from a server after a page has loaded without loading a new page in your browser). Only three that I know of and they are cross browser compliant.

  • Sarissa. Powerful with many features.
  • XHConn. Very lightweight library and simple to use. Basically supply the page to request and then use a function to deal with that request (i.e. replace contents of a textarea), can be done in just four lines of code.
  • DataRequester. Another lightweight library (added Apr 29th, 2005)

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Google Local / Maps in the UK

Google Local and Google Maps. Find businesses in the UK with Google and plan a route to them with Google Maps. Some map data may be a bit old, but should hopefully get better. No satellite feature on Google Maps yet.

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Multiple Column Sorting and Paging in Datagrid (ASP.NET) : ASP and ASP.NET Tutorials : Multiple Column Sorting and Paging in Datagrid: "This article demonstrates a comprehensive solution for implementing multiple column sorting in ASP.NET DataGrid as well as paging."

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Friday, April 15, 2005

Live Firefox download counter

Infocraft has a Firefox counter than dynamically gets (using XMLHttpRequest) the latest download count via the Spread Firefox RSS Feed. Seems that there is approximately one download every second. It may even go faster at certain times of the day/week.

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Ajax.NET Blog

Ajax.NET Blog. A blog about a .NET implementation of AJAX (i.e. retrieve data from server using XmlHttpRequest using JavaScript, without requiring a new page to be loaded) for use in your ASP.NET applications. Download user guide and dll from site. This allows you to dynamically change the content of your current page without a round trip to the server. Much like what Google does with Gmail, Google Suggest and Google Maps.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Packer Goes .NET

Packer, Dean Edwards' JavaScript compressor/obfuscator is now available for .NET (written in C#).

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The Future: HTML or XHTML

Post by Lachlan Hunt. The Future: HTML or XHTML. XHTML seems to be the way forward. HTML is an old standard and has limited capability to be improved. Wereas with XHTML, there is a lot more potential, due to being based on XML (rather than SGML, which HTML is based on).

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Round Two - Provider of Firefox Services

Round Two is a new Start-up that will work on products and services built around Firefox. It will also sponsor development of Firefox extensions.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Rounded Corners (CSS/JavaScript)

A good trick for getting rounded corners to work with very little code - More Nifty Corners. Requires JavaScript to work. Works in many modern browsers (Safari, Firefox, Opera) and also not so modern browsers - IE 5.5/6.

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