16 February 2006

Firefox MOVED the RSS button

OK, Firefox did something tricky when it rolled out version 1.5 that had me winding up with a bit of egg on my face.

One of my favourite features of Firefox is its ability to automatically find RSS feeds. When Firefox does find an RSS feed, it displays an icon typically used to represent an RSS feed () in the statusbar, at the bottom of the screen. This has been a feature of Firefox ever since about version 1.0, but instead of calling it by its rightful name, Firefox decided to call this "Live Bookmarks," and has decided, at least for the time being, to keep itself limited to using RSS as Live Bookmarks.

Now, when version 1.5 came out, Firefox did something sneaky, and this is what left me with egg on my face: they moved the RSS feed indicator icon from the statusbar to the URL bar (that's where you type in the URLs to access web pages). Now, noticing that my RSS feed icon was no longer being displayed on the statusbar, like a good little soldier, I went and filed a bug report with bugzilla, Mozilla's bug reporting software.

So why is there egg on my face? Well, like always, I tried to search for the bug before filing the report. I couldn't find anything. So I filed it. Now you have to understand, Mozilla never told anybody that they had moved the RSS indicator icon from the statusbar to the URL bar -- the Release Notes contain no mention of the move, nor could I find anything else indicating that Mozilla had told anyone about the move.

So, when I went to file another bug report -- this time requesting a new feature -- and when I was searching for terms so I wouldn't file a duplicate, I found a number of similar bug reports to the one I first filed, indicating that the missing icon wasn't a bug because it was moved. I immediately filed a comment to my original bug post, and closed it with the same notation as the ones I'd found indicating that there was no bug: INVALID.

I then went on to file my second bug report, the new feature request. About six hours later, one of the official bugzilla people closed my bug report as being a duplicate of another one, that already had been filed (but yet, which, again, I didn't uncover during my search before filing the bug report).

So, what's the point of my rambling for the past ten minutes or so? Two things, directed at the Mozilla folk:

1. When you guys change something, no matter how minor (like moving an icon from the statusbar to the URLbar), let people know about it!

2. Something appears to be b0rken in the search feature of bugzilla. In fact, I just tried searching on some bug reports that I knew I had filed, but the search couldn't find them (I went into some old, saved e-mails and pulled up the bug numbers, and sure enough, there they were). So see if you can look into that. Especially with respect to the two most recent bug reports I've filed, I know that I searched under terms that appeared in the bug report summary when I later discovered the other bugs.

But now the good news: A future version of Firefox will have the enhanced feature that I was going to request.

Ah, one more thing for the Mozilla folk: I think it's great that you're using Wiki to keep track of the development process of Mozilla applications. However, it would also be nice if you had a space within your own domain where you discussed such development, because not everyone is going to think of looking for a tracking bug or under Wiki for such programs/announcements.

Other than that, keep up the good work Mozilla folk. You've got some great products!