Archive for the ‘firefox’ Category
I often build nice tools for myself, often customize them to myself with no regard for what a general users wants or needs. This is because it’s for me, and not for another, before I decide whether I release this under GPL or try to sell it I always ask myself the following questions before I make it ready to ship:
- Is there really a problem?
- Does my audience have this problem?
- Is there a solution which is better for my audience?
Let me take you through my thought process so you might better understand what I mean.
Is there really a problem?
In the case of some solutions I create, like the Roxen CMS or the YouTube Unsubscribe scripts I wrote, there really is a problem for others and myself. This doesn’t mean that everybody has this problem, just that I have it and that others probably have it too. It a problem with an easy solution, and something which can be quickly put together and released.
With other things I create, such as my script to take the items I download with Juice and order them in bundles sorted by audio, video, document or other, there is a clear problem for me, and this might not be a problem for others or this might not be the solution for others.
Does my audience have this problem?
In the case of the YouTube scripts there was clearly a problem for others, this functionality was not available. For Roxen CMS it was a case of this making life easier. Looking even further back I wrote a script which added a mark (un)read button for GMail rather than going into a pulldown menu to mark (un)read, this was downloaded quite a number of times and offered something that Google was not offering at that time.
Is there a solution which is better for my audience?
This is always a question, the solution I create is often the best for me or the best which was available at the time. It doesn’t have to be a good solution for others at all, it might not even work for others because it is too customized to my user experience that it neglects the user experience of others.
Taking the case of the Juice script all the directories are hardcoded for my system, they might work for somebody else and they aren’t designed to. The current version doesn’t clean up after itself, which means there is quite some mess left after the scripts are run. It deletes everything it doesn’t know, so it doesn’t take into account things that my audience might want such as images.
Image source: arjin j
Four years ago I was working on a project using Roxen CMS for a company, I wrote a userscript which could be used with GreaseMonkey to enhance the CMS we were using. The script was obviously written in customer time, and was paid for by the customer. As I often do I agreed with the customer that we release this to the community at large under GPL license. We gained bug reports, feedback and enhancement suggestions, which I used to enhance the script for everybody’s benefit.
4 years later there are not very many people who I know use the script, although I know one of the largest payrolling service in the Netherlands does. I recently was searching through my mail and the mails exchanged came up in the search results, so I mailed and inquired whether they were still using the script. I got a mail back and was told that they had been using it for the last 4 years, but that it would be broken when they migrated to the new version of a system. So naturally I offered to fix it for them and said I would come back with a time frame and costs. I had thought that it would probably take about 2 hours, but hadn’t said this. They were shocked at my response, their follow-up response was:
“Well, the first script I also downloaded from userscripts.org […] That was and is all free.”
Naturally I wrote back and explained that my original customer had paid for it and made it available, and that there were costs involved in the production of the script. They answered saying that they didn’t want the changes if they needed to pay for them. They obviously expect free beer too.
You can find the old script here: Roxen CMS, not it might not work with the new Roxen CMS.
Image source: John Rutter
My good friend Sean CISSP, who I met on the train from Mumbai to Panaji, send me the following comment:
I use Scribefire, a FF add-on – a bit flakey at times but does ok usually. supports tags, including Technorati ones (but I can’t get that to work reliably) and whatnot.1
So I’m using ScribeFire to write this blog, immediately it looks like it has it’s spell checker linked to FireFox. Sadly <CTRL>-<SHIFT>-arrow doesn’t seem to work in the edit field although it does in the HTML edit and preview screen. It has categories and seems to have tags. It contains shortcuts to insert images from Flickr and YouTube.
It’s not possible to schedule it for a later date. It should also add the Technorati tags automatically, I’m not sure it will work. Pushing publish now.
It doesn’t seem like it added the tags, although I selected Draft it published it directly to my blog. It also used <br/> rather than <p/> or <p></p>.
technorati tags: firefox, scribefox, blogging, tagging
I’ve been looking for a tools which I could add into Firefox, one which would automatically add quotes. Clipmarks looked quite good, with the exception that it wasn’t working when I tried to post to WordPress. So I can’t really comment on the results. It does have a reasonable interface, although no possibilities for tagging or categories. It also doesn’t allow me to edit the HTML source.
Deepest Sender is what I am using to post this message, it has categories although it’s spellchecker is not linked to FireFox which means that each word I had approved in FF doesn’t should up in DS. It also doesn’t provide tagging. It allows the editing of HTML, but treats paragraphs with the <br/> tag rather than <p/> or <p></p> as it should. Like Clipmarks it also doesn’t allow posting at a specific time, although it allows posting as a draft.
I’ll try Clipmarks again, but at the moment I think I’ll go for Deepest Sender.
I was reading Extend Firefox Contest Highlights the Catch-22 of Browser Add-ons, which discussed the Catch-22 situation that browser developers find themselves in when publishing a new browser: Do you add functionality because it’s useful to everybody? Or leave it out because it is isn’t.
My opinion is that the browser should at least have the same functionality as the browsers which which it competes. Other than that a method should be build in to query the users. I also tend to agree with the poster Baltic Zephyr who says:
Why not just offer a few versions of the firefox download which contain sector-specific bundles of the most attractive addons for each sector. This might include Firefox for designer, for programmers, for academics, etc. Another approach would be to simply offer bundled addons in addition to the standard firefox download.
That does leave the developers with the problem on how to discover which extensions should be standard for which sector and should the extended add-on be used or the limited implementation?
Personally I use the following, regardless of the setting I am in:
- Del.icio.us Bookmarks
- Tab Mix Plus
- Yahoo! Toolbar
- VeriSign’s OpenID SeatBelt
You have to copy this code, all on one line and paste it into a new bookmark location field.