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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Programmability, Dell, Mozilla Add-ons

Every menu bar item, context menu item, toolbar (including the tear-off kind), sidebar button, status bar button, hotkey, etc. should be programmable by the user and each one (except where not possible such as with some contextual menu items) should be allowed to be changed into any other type or assignment (e.g., into a different hotkey, from a hotkey to a menu bar item, a context menu item to a hotkey, etc.).

I'd love to try to have such a tool developed for Firefox, as Firefox can really house almost any kind of application potentially... I'd especially love to see it take off for desktop browsing and file editing...

There are so many extensions out there that, while they add a useful feature, should ideally already have been doable if the interface allowed itself to be programmed. While it is true a person can write their own extensions with a little programming knowledge, the more power that is brought to the GUI and away from programmers, the better. Of course, people could share their specifics--if I have a contextual menu item that allows you to jump directly to the edit page of a wiki page (the wiki page not having been visited yet but its link being ctrl-clicked on), this would be nice to share and publicize through the interface (as I love that Firefox now allows you to get more Bookmark extensions via the bookmarks menu bar), but it would be ideal if a contextual menu extension let you append any specifiable amount of text to such actions.

Great news about Dell responding to put Linux on their computers. About time for some real hardware company to do it. Please, powers-that-be, fix the hardware compatibility issues. Hopefully, by such advances, the demand and thus will be hardware manufacturers will be there to make it possible and easy to use any device at least with Linux.

One small thing bothering me about Mozilla's add-ons site is that, besides the inherent trouble of not having enough categorization options, too many companies' products have made it into their listings. I really dislike having to sift through all of these. It's fine if companies want to offer their add-ons, but I really hope Mozilla will add a category to any extensions which make you depend on registering with some site or using the extension with a particular site, etc. (and then be able to exclude items with this category from view). And rather than just one hodge-podge of categories, it'd be nice not to be limited to such broad conceptual categories like "navigation", and have things show up by identifiable part of the browser--context menu, menu bar, window, sidebar, etc. Granted, many fall across these lines, but it'd be nice to narrow down your choices when you want to find, say, a particular context menu item.

That's all for now,
Brett

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