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Firefox Browser Usage and Support Forum

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Firefox - the most annoying browser in use?
ergophobe




msg:1588223
 9:47 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Heh heh, that should attract some readers.

Let's just agree that Firefox has it's plusses. Visiting my folks over the holidays I was forced to use IE and it was unpleasant. Firefox has been my default browser since back when it still had other names.

More and more, though, I find it the most cumbersome and annoying browser I've ever used for the end user. Granted, NS4 and IE* are far more annoying for the developer. Even as an end user, I find that Firefox has really two things that recommend it to me

1. tabbed browsing (but I can get that with Opera or with IE via something like Maxthon or Crazy Browser).

2. The numerous developer extensions - developer toolbar, Venkman debugger, things like that which most end users don't care about. Judging from the broken pages all over the place, neither do a healthy number of developers.

My biggest gripe is the terrible tendency to lock up when reading PDFs. I have long noticed this, but it has become a real sore point since losing my high-speed connnection. Now I wait forever for PDFs and Firefox trips all over itself trying to handle them.

So my gripes not in the least in brief....

- freezes up when loading a pdf (much much longer hesitation than IE - as in an order of magnitude or two). Then, after showing the first page, if you scroll way down to an unloaded section of the PDF, the whole thing freezes up until the PDF gets loaded to that point. If you've already hit the "stop" button once, it thinks it *is* stopped so you can't even use that to stop the loading. Very frustrating on a slow connection. My browser is stopped up like that as I write this (on Wordpad since, of course, Firefox is stuck) and I can't even look at the content in the other tabs because the whole thing is frozen until it downloads the PDF to the point that I scrolled to. I can't even close the browser. On some occasions I've resorted to shutting down the internet connection and reconnecting. I suspect that PDFs are not becoming more common, but since losing the high-speed connection, it seems like every third page is a PDF - or at least 1/3 of the time I spend waiting for things to load is spent waiting for a PDF.

- many problems with copy and paste. It often doesn't work with the CTRL-C/CTRL-V sequences and I have to right click and select from the menu. It's the only program I have that does this and FF does it so often I don't even try to use keyboard sequences for copy and paste. I often find the same thing is true of CTR-T to open another tab. I often have to click it multiple times before the tab opens.

- sometimes a folder of my bookmarks disappear even though it still shows up in the bookmark manager (and no, it's not a scrolling issue). They reappear upon closing and restarting Firefox.

- often, if it's still loading pages in other tabs, it fails when you try to bookmark the current tab.

-if you're in a window opened by a javascript script that doesn't have a tab bar, it will let you CTRL-click to open links in new tabs, but they will be in the background and you can't get to them or you can't get back to the tab you started with. When you close the window, it will tell you you have several tabs open, but there's no way to see those pages.

- password manager doesn't work if site demands password then username instead of username then password (I reported this to Bugzilla already and has been confirmed as a bug).

- password manager doesn't fill in fields until the page has fully loaded, which can be forever on a dial-up. There may be legitimate security reasons, but PM just doesn't seem as good as in IE.

- the search function. Aside from its annoying placement at the bottom of the screen (not obvious when it pops up; terrible ergonomics since it is as far as possible from top menus), there again I find it often won't open if I'm in one tab and content is still loading in other tabs.

- print preview gives you the same number of total pages, even as you change the sizing. So you have four pages and you're looking at page 1 of 4. Then you shrink the text tiny so you only have one page. Now you're still looking at page 1 of 4. But there are no other pages.

So there it is... the most annoying browser ever?

Tom

 

createErrorMsg




msg:1588253
 4:24 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

But FF compounds the error by allowing the bold instruction to cross into the next div, which is against the standards.

I think there's some confusion in this statement about which standards browsers are responsible for following. The error in this example is a design error, not an implementation error. Again, it is not FFs fault when a designer uses improper nesting. FF is taking the instructions and making them happen.

The bold tag doesn't close at the end of the div; why should FF second guess the designer and make it end? That's not a browsers job. A browsers job is to take your instructions and render them properly according to the code. NOT to say to itself, "Hmm, I think this web designer actually meant for the bold to end here." If that's what the designer meant, surely they would have inserted a </b> tag?

But FF can resize this txt so that it wraps, but FF doesn't resize the div, but lets the text spill out into the following div

Again, this isn't the browsers fault. If you don't code the div to resize, how does FF know you want it resized? Code the text and the div sizes in EMs and you've got a div that will resize with the text. Just to reiterate, these sorts of things are the designer's responsibility because they are design standards.

cEM

HarryM




msg:1588254
 5:15 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Anyone still defending and using IE is on a sinking ship

Extrapolating from my stats thats over 90% of the global population. Some splash!

creatErrorMsg,

The point I am making is not that the browser should correct or second-guess the designer, because as you say it's the designer's responsibility to get things right. However in the real world there will always be errors, and it's the browser's responsibility not to compound the error.

In the examples I gave, if FF doesn't find a closing </b> tag within a div, then it still shouldn't show bold text in the following div because that's against the standards. In fact it's introduced a new error.

Similarly with the non-expandable div - if the expanded text doesn't fit it should be truncated (or the div expanded). What it shouldn't be allowed to do is to spill over and be displayed outside the div because that's against the standards. And FF certainly shouldn't break as it does and superimpose the extra text over the legitimate text in the next div.

Every piece of software needs error-handling routines. I just find FF poor in that respect.

Anyway, I think I'll butt out here. I suspect that if Microsoft had brought out Firefox, the people who now support it would be sneering at it as just more M$ crap.

bedlam




msg:1588255
 5:42 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Similarly with the non-expandable div - if the expanded text doesn't fit it should be truncated (or the div expanded). What it shouldn't be allowed to do is to spill over and be displayed outside the div because that's against the standards. And FF certainly shouldn't break as it does and superimpose the extra text over the legitimate text in the next div.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the default of the css property overflow is 'visible', isn't it? That means the text *should* overflow the container when it exceeds the container's height.

Besides which, by the description of the symptoms, I'm pretty sure that changing the css from something like:

div.header {
height:30px;
...
...
...
}

...to something like:

div.header {
line-height:30px;
...
...
...
padding-top:0;
padding-bottom:0;
}

...will solve the problem in one way. Changing the 'overflow' property to 'auto' or 'hidden' would fix it another way.

I suspect the problem is that you are used to IE's incorrect implementation of the 'height' property which behaves like 'min-height'. Firefox gets both of these right.

-B

HarryM




msg:1588256
 6:33 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks Bedlam, but I don't want to solve the problem. It was just an example of why I think it best there should be a font-size category that is non-expandable.

My point was probably not clear, but I believe the expandability issue is responsible for the proliferation of gifs in page headers. If I wanted to fix the problem that is probably what I would do.

bedlam




msg:1588257
 6:46 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yes, but my point was that there is a fix for it - a fix that works in IE, by the way ('overflow:hidden').

And if you ask me (you didn't ;-), the reason for the proliferation of gif is that there is such a miniscule/ugly selection of fonts reliably available on client machines. Images in headers can still be accessible as was mentioned earlier - especially if you employ a method such as one of the FIR [google.ca] variants. I've even managed to set this up dynmically on a CMS...

-B

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 3:04 pm (utc) on Dec. 28, 2004]
[edit reason] fixed link [/edit]

TheDoctor




msg:1588258
 7:54 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

(I agree Opera's Zoom is the best solution, but just resizing the text is the next best thing, regardless of whether it ruins a 'perfect' layout or not. Text simply must be readable for all people, else the web has failed.)

I have never understood why browsers couldn't offer both "increase/decrease size of image" and "zoom". The user could then use whichever was appropriate.

HarryM




msg:1588259
 8:10 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just to clarify why your solution is not a solution (in my case) is the page header I had in mind consists of a banner-sized background image in a fixed-size div with a logo floated left (which acts as a link to the home page) and overlying text between H1 tags which is the page header and describes the site. This is served on every page by a template. It works fine - except for FF which can resize the text, and no matter what I do the 'banner' effect will be ruined.

Personally I don't think FF is trying to be 'standards compliant' when it resizes px-sized text - I just think the designers found it simpler to resize everything.

The answer is I will probably at some time turn the whole thing into a single jpeg. Why not? There could be some other crappy browser about to be launched that will screw it up in some other way.

The loser is usability. Currently the page has a structured sequence of H tags (H1, H2, and H3). But with an image the most important term on the page will be buried in an alt tag.

bedlam




msg:1588260
 8:32 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

The answer is I will probably at some time turn the whole thing into a single jpeg. Why not? There could be some other crappy browser about to be launched that will screw it up in some other way.

The loser is usability. Currently the page has a structured sequence of H tags (H1, H2, and H3). But with an image the most important term on the page will be buried in an alt tag.

This is getting a bit OT, but have a look at the FIR link in my other post. You want a csszengarden-type FIR approach. One such method would be like this (adapt to your circumstances):


HTML:
===============
...
...
<body id="pageName">
<h1 title="Headline: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet"><span>Lorem ipsum dolor site amet</span></h2>
...
...
...
<div id="homeLink"><a href="/" title="Return to the main page"><img src="clear.gif" title="Return to the main page" alt="link image" width="..." height="..."></a></div>

CSS:
===============
body#pageName h1 { /* Assumes only 1 h1 per page... */
background:transparent url(path/to/image.jpg) no-repeat top left;
...
...
}

body#pageName h1 span {
position:relative;
left:-5000px;
}

body#pageName div#homeLink {
position:absolute;
top:0;
left:0;
}

There are several variants on this, but this one is probably easiest to type quickly :)

Again - no offense meant! - I think that this is less a browser issue than it is an issue of not knowing about some of the useful alternative methods out there...

-B

createErrorMsg




msg:1588261
 9:03 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Personally I don't think FF is trying to be 'standards compliant' when it resizes px-sized text - I just think the designers found it simpler to resize everything.

Or perhaps they'd heard of and read about the accessibility movement.

HarryM




msg:1588262
 1:55 pm on Dec 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Bedlam,

I compared your suggestion with what I do and also what W3C does. Surprisingly I found mine is virtually the same as W3C's solution. Both use fixed height header divs with background images and attempt to get around the text resizing problem by making the text in the H1 tags sufficiently small that a couple of increases doesn't break the display. The only difference is that I float the home page link image within the header div (probably unneccesarily) whereas W3C just has it inline.

Your solution is more or less the same except the background url is applied to the H1 tags instead of a div. But the big difference is the way the text in between the <h1><span> ... </span></h1> tags is repositioned so as to be off the viewing area, in effect presenting spiders with something that is invisible to the viewer. Hmm... cloaking? I don't think I want to go down that route. :)

bedlam




msg:1588263
 5:06 pm on Dec 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

... But the big difference is the way the text in between the <h1><span> ... </span></h1> tags is repositioned so as to be off the viewing area, in effect presenting spiders with something that is invisible to the viewer. Hmm... cloaking? I don't think I want to go down that route. :)

That's just one variant of the technique - there are others. But I just don't believe that SE spiders can possibly be as indiscriminate about non-visible content as people assume; there are too many good reasons for having content be present, but not currently visible.

Besides, if SEs did behave this way, dhmtl flyout menus (most of whose content is hidden at any given time) would have killed so many websites' rankings that it would be indisputable by now...

-B

Hester




msg:1588264
 10:12 am on Dec 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Another technique is to use Flash for text. It means the text cannot be resized in the usual way - only by right-clicking and zooming. If you use Opera's zoom, it has no effect.

Note: the text can also be selected, and is replaced by normal text when Flash is turned off, so it remains accessible. Best of all, it allows you to use any font!

[mikeindustries.com...]

MatthewHSE




msg:1588265
 3:37 pm on Dec 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well, everyone here knows how I feel about FireFox, so I won't start singing its praises again! ;) However, after briefly skimming this thread, I think most of the problems mentioned here, if not all, could be fixed by upgrading with a new profile instead of simply over-installing. Yes, a pain, and it probably won't be necessary with future versions, but I know of many people who have over-installed every version since 0.7, including the RC's. With all the optimizing and changes that have been made, this is sure to cause problems.

Therefore, my advice is to grab the InfoLister extension, run it and FTP the extension list to a server somewhere (or just save it locally) and start from scratch. Migrating bookmarks, user.js and userChrome.css is simple. Once you've done those things, look up the information you saved previously with InfoLister and use the links it provides to download your extensions again. If you download them all first, you can install them all at once by dragging them onto your Extensions window. Plus, you'll then have local copies of the extensions to install easily at a later date, should it be necessary.

Oh, the PDF issue is (supposedly) related to Acrobat Reader, not FireFox. That's the only one of these problems I've ever experienced with FireFox. The others sound just plain buggy, which is what makes me suspect a long (or short) sequence of over-installs may have resulted in instability for you.

I couldn't do my job half as effectively - or efficiently - without FireFox. So I'd have to disagree with the title here! ;) And yes I know you don't mean it either! :)

grelmar




msg:1588266
 6:52 pm on Dec 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

The two main sources of annoyance for FF with me are:

The locking up on looking for an address. I've tried flushing the DNS cache, repair network connection, etc., but once it starts doing this, sometimes the only way to fix it is a re-boot.

It should be noted, that when this ahppens, I lose all my Gecko based apps. Moz and Thunderbird also go.

It should ALSO be noted that this seems to be Win specific. It never happens to me on my *nix box. I think the error lies outside Gecko, but instead lies in the way Win handles requests from non-MS software.

My other annoyance is with font size: IE and Gecko browser in general render font size differently. The gecko browsers seem to like to make things bigger. It just makes for an extra, albeit minor, annoying thing to deal with when designing a page.

Mind, a long time ago I got my head around the fact that different users look at my pages with different monitor resolutions, and different fonts, and maybe have their default text size increase/decreased - relative to how I have all these things at my end.

So, I started working hard a long time ago building pages in "relative space" so that they could take a wide tolerance of resizing.

As a designer, I would say: Deal with it or get out of the business. You just can't expect the rest of the planet to have the same computer with the same settings as you. THAT, is unrealistic.

And in spite of my few annoyances with FF, I'll take them over the MANY annoyances that I have with IE. Whenever I have to sit down and work on an IE only machine, I feel hamstrung.

Hester




msg:1588267
 9:19 am on Dec 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

It should be noted, that when this ahppens, I lose all my Gecko based apps. Moz and Thunderbird also go.

That's odd. I thought Thunderbird was a separate program. Perhaps they share a common network wrapper?
My other annoyance is with font size: IE and Gecko browser in general render font size differently. The gecko browsers seem to like to make things bigger. It just makes for an extra, albeit minor, annoying thing to deal with when designing a page.

Yes, I've found this, at least with font set in ems or percentages. I have to use silly values like 86% just to get Firefox and Opera to look the same. But then IE is a different size as well! (So it becomes impossible to get all 3 looking the same.)
As a designer, I would say: Deal with it or get out of the business. You just can't expect the rest of the planet to have the same computer with the same settings as you. THAT, is unrealistic.

The best thing I have read on a forum for a while. Spot on!

grelmar




msg:1588268
 3:51 pm on Dec 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

That's odd. I thought Thunderbird was a separate program. Perhaps they share a common network wrapper?

Yah, I find it odd too. That's why I suspect the problem lies in Doze rather than FF or TBird. That, and the fact it only affects my Doze machines, and not *nix machines.

If I could figure out a command line sequence that could jog things back into alignment, I'd be a happy camper.

So far, I've hit a wall after Flushing the DNS cache:

C:>ipconfig/flushdns

If I do this, then go to FF and quickly hit three or four favorites in sequence, I can usually get it working again, but not uber reliably. There must be one step I'm missing. If anyone knows what it might be, pass it on and we can all make a quickie little batch file to sort out the problem.

Or maybe I should just go to the moz forums and post something there...

Debbie_King




msg:1588269
 1:23 pm on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

"...Imagine anyone with poor sight, trying to read small fonts set in pixels on a site. In IE, they are stuck - they cannot up the text size. In all other main browsers, they can, and quite easily..."

On 10th December Hester posted the above in his reply about Firefox resizing fonts whose size was specified in pixels.

Indeed you CAN up the text size from within IE - go to View > Text Size, then choose either Larger or Largest (you can also go down a size or two as well.) Also, if using Win 2K or XP you can choose the Magnifier from the Accessibility options.

Hester




msg:1588270
 1:50 pm on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

This does not work for fonts set in pixels. That's the whole point. If it works on a page, the fonts weren't set in pixels, but ems or percentages etc.

Nice tip about the Magnifier though!

Debbie_King




msg:1588271
 3:25 pm on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Font size shows as normal (i.e. readable) in IE, but displays as a tiny, tiny font in FF. Also it shows as a nice dark grey in IE, but in a pale, washed-out grey in FF.

I'm fairly new to CSS and below is the style I have used in the body of my pages... anyone any ideas why it looks so bad in FF?

body{
background:url(../Images/Background.gif);
background-repeat:repeat-x;
background-color: #efeded;
font-size: 80%;
color: grey;
font-family:verdana,tahoma,sans-serif;
text-align: justify;
margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom:0px; margin-
left: 0px; margin-right: 0px;
scrollbar-base-color:#6a468a;
scrollbar-arrow-color: white;
}

createErrorMsg




msg:1588272
 3:30 pm on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

a nice dark grey in IE, but in a pale, washed-out grey in FF.

Most likely, this is because you've used the color keyword "grey." Different browsers have different specific color settings for the various keywords. If you want precise control over the grey color in your layout, specify it in hexdec, as in ... color: #aaa;. The rendering of this ought to be the same between browsers.

cEM

Hester




msg:1588273
 3:39 pm on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

You need to use "gray" instead. HTML and CSS on the web use American wording, eg: "color".

No idea why the font should be so small in FF though?

MatthewHSE




msg:1588274
 3:52 pm on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Do you have other CSS rules that are specifying fonts in relative units? If so, they'll be that size in relation to the body font size (due to the cascade). For instance, you have your body font size set at 80%. If you set your paragraph font size to 80% as well, then the font size of paragraphs will be 80% of the body 80% font size. This can make a surprising amount of difference.

In this case, FireFox is (as usual) getting it right while IE is (as usual) getting it wrong.

If the body is the only place you've specified the font size, you've probably managed to accidentally change your FireFox font settings.

Debbie_King




msg:1588275
 4:51 pm on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks - I'll give those a try.

I've only been doing XHTML and CSS for a few months so I'm still learning as I go along. I'll try some test pages specifying my font sizes in percentages and in pixels to see the difference.

Like most computer-related things, just at the time I get really proficient with something (like CSS) the W3C will go and change everything and I'll have to start all over again.

The same thing happened with VB - just as I started to get good at VB6, along comes VB.net :-)

moishe




msg:1588276
 6:23 am on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hmm,

Sorry to see so many down on FF here, I switched after reading some pro FF threads on WW and have been nothing but happy.

ergophobe




msg:1588277
 6:45 pm on Dec 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Matthew,

I think you also know that I'm generally a big FF booster and that FF is also my favorite browser. It's my favorite because of it's great capabilities and I like the interface better than Opera.

However, I find that the FF is a bit like a Mac - even if somethign is done poorly and stupidly, its proponents will gloss that over and just not admit that there are some annoyances that are inexcusable (e.g. drag my diskette/CD icon to the trash in order to eject it).

And no, I don't think my problems are related to overinstalls.

BTW I forgot my number one gripe about FF - when it fails to load a page, it does not give you the address in the address bar so that you can "reload". I think every browser in history from early NS to IE6 has gotten this right, except FF. I'm pretty sure even Mozilla has this right, though I don't really use Moz anymore.

Grelmar - don't get me started on Thunderbird. That's an entire thread altogether.

Many of the annoyances of FF and TB did not become obvious until I lost the ability to get medium speed service (had 256Kb ISDN, but it's no longer available) and had to switch to 24Kb dial-up. Only then did it become clear that many of the annoyances on FF and TB were because they don't work as well as... yes, I'm going to say it... Microsoft products on slow speed lines.

Why? Just an example. When you try to read a mail message in TB, if it is large, everything locks up until it gets itself sorted out. If a page is heavy and you're loading it in FF, it locks up your pipeline while it loads. Don't want to wait? Just hit "stop" Oh wait, for one of the many reasons mentioned above, stop is greyed out. Okay, close the tab. Closed. Look at your network monitor. It's still downloading the page and will continue to do so for a while.... while I wait and wait.

MatthewHSE




msg:1588278
 7:04 pm on Dec 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well, if you didn't over-install more recent versions, I wouldn't know what might be causing the problems you're experiencing. And I also think you make a good point about some of FireFox's shortcomings being glossed over sometimes. It's just that, in this case, I hadn't experienced any of these difficulties and therefore attributed them to the most common source.

BTW I forgot my number one gripe about FF - when it fails to load a page, it does not give you the address in the address bar so that you can "reload".

Try the "Show Failed URL" extension - it does exactly what you want to happen. And yes, this is one area where FireFox goofs up. This kind of basic functionality should be part of the core, not an extension.

ergophobe




msg:1588279
 10:21 pm on Dec 27, 2004 (gmt 0)


Try the "Show Failed URL" extension

Thanks. Initially, even the terrible behavior where you got a page with a "try again" link was an extension, which I had installed. When I upgraded, at a certain version that behavior was built in. I went looking through all the extensions not so long ago looking for something like that and didn't find it.

That's because the extension is not on the list at

https://addons.update.mozilla.org/extensions

But I did find it at

[extensionroom.mozdev.org...]

That should make a small improvement to my life!

grelmar




msg:1588280
 6:11 am on Dec 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Grelmar - don't get me started on Thunderbird. That's an entire thread altogether.

I'm cutting TBird some slack for now - it has yet to reach the 1.0 release, so, theoretically, we're still dealing with a Beta product.

Otherwise, I might waste a thread on TBird annoyances.

The older I get, though, the more my software decisions are based not on "what I like more" but "what ticks me off less."

outrun




msg:1588281
 6:22 am on Dec 28, 2004 (gmt 0)


I'm cutting TBird some slack for now - it has yet to reach the 1.0 release, so, theoretically, we're still dealing with a Beta product.

Otherwise, I might waste a thread on TBird annoyances.

Maybe you should its been out of Beta for awhile now.

regards,
Mark

bill




msg:1588282
 6:31 am on Dec 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

...hoping to get this thread back on topic...

I spent some time this morning and setup a new profile on a clean install on FF, and am feeling a bit better about this browser as a result. The updates to the Tabbrowser Preferences extension have really made a nice difference for me (as opposed to my comments in this thread earlier this month).

grelmar




msg:1588283
 3:39 pm on Dec 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Maybe you should its been out of Beta for awhile now.

Dag nabbit, didn't even notice. I'll update this afternoon and my "slack cutting" will be greatly reduced.

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