Archive for January 2011

No Status Bar in Firefox 4

Published on January 27, 2011

One of the strangest decisions (among many) made in Firefox 4 is the removal of the browser’s status bar. No longer can users glance down at the bottom of the screen to see where a particular link will take them. Instead, this information is displayed on the right side of the URL bar in a surprisingly low-contrast font (how are low-vision users supposed to cope with this?). I cannot think of a single application, in Windows or otherwise, that exhibits this behavior.

Removing the status bar from Firefox completely changes the standard windowing paradigm. I’m all for maximizing vertical real estate, but I really think they should have copied Chrome and made the status bar invisible, showing it only when necessary. Besides, gaining 20 pixels or so isn’t that much of a real estate win.

I’ll be interested to see if this decision, along with a few other similar changes (removing the menu bar by default) impacts Firefox’s usage rate, if at all. I can’t imagine too many corporations will adopt Firefox 4 out of the gate due to changes like this, but perhaps my perception is too closed minded. What do you think about these changes? Are you willing to put up with them, or will you use a different browser?

HTML Losing Its Version Number

Published on January 22, 2011

According to the WHATWG blog, future versions of the HTML specification will no longer use a version number. I can’t imagine why this is a good idea. How are web designers supposed to know how to target their sites to visitors? A “living and breathing spec” will require frequent updates from every browser vendor, so as to stay current with what’s allowed. As new features are implemented, how will developers know who’s compliant and who’s not? It seems to me that removing the version is a big step backwards. Perhaps they have ways of handling these situations?

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