Tue, July 29, 2003

How to develop rail-trails and greenways

Earlier this year I mentioned various resources for rail-trail development. Some of the more important links were broken when the Trails and Greenways Clearinghouse website was redesigned, so I thought I’d include the updated links and mention some new ones.

The Trails and Greenways Clearinghouse, provided by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy provides information about rail-trail benefits as well as rail-trail development. One of the best resources is the Secrets of Successful Rail-Trails book. Also useful are the Online Manuals, Reports and Fact Sheets.

Sat, July 19, 2003

Fix for bug 23460

I scratched another itch and created a fix for bug 23460 so that Mozilla will show bookmark URLs in the statusbar when you hover over them in the personal toolbar or bookmark menu. This bug has frustrated me since Netscape 4 broke Netscape 3’s bookmark menu behavior. Even IE5 got this one right. It’s way beyond time that Mozilla did as well.

As mpt requested in the bug, it’s in the statusbar only (although I did leave the personal toolbar tooltips in place). No strange tooltips popping up in a menu to show a redundant URL.

There are a few related bugs that I’d also like to fix: show the URL in the statusbar for the back and forward buttons and menus (bug 88541) and show the URL in the statusbar for items on the Go menu (I don’t think there’s a bug logged for this).

Fri, July 18, 2003

Fix for bug 72374

I’ve created a fix for bug 72374 in Mozilla 1.4 that makes bookmarklets have different icons than bookmarks in the menus and on the personal toolbar. To apply the fix you need to add the updated files to the appropriate chrome jars.

Thu, July 17, 2003

Take me back

I created Google Cache and Internet Archive Wayback Machine bookmarklets in case you need to find a page that has disappeared or is unavailable. Find the bookmarklets in the search engines section of my bookmarklets page. Enjoy.

Oddly, this reminds me that I need to add the Back to the Future DVD set to my wish list.

Happy Birthday, Dad

Memory Eternal!

Wed, July 16, 2003

The Book of Mozilla

A new chapter in the Book of Mozilla has been revealed after yesterday’s events. In Netscape 3.x and 4.x, the about:mozilla URL would give you the following entry:

And the beast shall come forth surrounded by a roiling cloud of vengeance. The house of the unbelievers shall be razed and they shall be scorched to the earth. Their tags shall blink until the end of days.
from The Book of Mozilla, 12:10.

In Netscape 6.x/7.x and Mozilla the entry read:

And the beast shall be made legion. Its numbers shall be increased a thousand thousand fold. The din of a million keyboards like unto a great storm shall cover the earth, and the followers of Mammon shall tremble.
from The Book of Mozilla, 3:31 (Red Letter Edition)

Now Stephen Donner says there’s a new entry:

And they watched as the beast cast off its chains, and with a terrible roar burst forth and slew those who had bound it. And for days the rivers ran red with their lifeblood.
- from The Book of Mozilla, 7:15

And Neil Deakin suggests another:

And so at last the beast fell and the unbelievers rejoiced. But all was not lost, for from the ash rose a great bird. The bird gazed down upon the unbelievers and cast fire and thunder upon them. For the beast had been reborn with its strength renewed, and the followers of Mammon cowered in horror.
from The Book of Mozilla, 7:15 (Red Letter Edition)

Tue, July 15, 2003

Netscape dead, long live Mozilla

I’ve been working most of today on a couple of Mozilla bug fixes. Although I’ve been keeping an eye on the project, doing bug triage, and writing testcases for years, this was interestingly the first real code I’ve worked on for Mozilla. I even got permission from management at my employer to do coding work. I’ve been using LXR, bugzilla, and the mozilla.org website off and on all day. After a break for supper and to help get the kids in bed, I come back to resume work and am stunned to find that the world changed while I was away.

The revised mozilla.org website looks shiny, but it will take me some time to adjust. I thought I’d mistyped something for a second.

So what changed?

I’d been thinking that all the rumors floating around for weeks about Netscape 7.1 being the last Netscape browser ever were just confused by the new Mozilla roadmap where future development was switching to the Mozilla Firebird browser. Apparently they weren’t so inaccurate. I’ll miss Netscape, but I switched to Mozilla quite a while ago. Still, as I mentioned yesterday, Netscape 7.1 is a great browser and makes an excellent final release.

I think today’s developments will be a positive thing for Mozilla and the Web. Mozilla finally gets to determine its own fate. With deep appreciation, I wish the best to all the Netscape developers that have worked on this terrific browser. Thanks for your hard work!

Mon, July 14, 2003

2002 Kentucky Statewide Rail Plan

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has recently issued the 2002 Kentucky Statewide Rail Plan. The plan is the result of an 18 month study that “identifies system-wide strategies and policies and conforms to the goals established in the Cabinet’s 2001 strategic plan, provides a vehicle to identify future rail issues to meet Federal Railroad Administration requirements for federal funding as such funding becomes available, and it serves as a valuable source of statistical information regarding rail transportation in Kentucky.”

“The plan should serve as a means of heightening awareness of the significance of rail transportation throughout the Commonwealth,” said KYTC Secretary James C. Codell, III. “It is important to note that our rail system is a major element of our transportation system in Kentucky. Rail carries approximately the same amount of freight as does our interstates.”

The Kentucky Statewide Rail Plan addresses the following three main parts:

  • Rail System
  • Rail Safety
  • Rails To Trails Program

I’m excited that one of the major goals of the plan is to promote rail system preservation. Much of the rails-to-trails language in the plan will be familiar to rail-trail supporters. The plan includes a discussion of the pros and cons for rails to trails projects, including the viewpoint of the railroads. There’s also brief descriptions of current rail-trail projects and rail-trail supporting organizations.

Go to the website for the 2002 Kentucky Statewide Rail Plan or go directly to the rails to trails chapter (needs Adobe Acrobat reader).

CSS Cursors

I’ve been working on a testcase for Mozilla bug 163174 to help improve the various pointer styles available in Mozilla. For tests and examples of pretty much every known CSS2 and CSS3 cursor style, see my CSS cursor testcase. It’s nice that Mozilla 1.4 unexpectedly supports a number of “proprietary” cursor styles, but it would be less necesary if they’d just fix bug 38447. Indeed, the discussion in bug 189719 that added the zoom in and zoom out styles said as much.

Tweaking Mozilla 1.4

I’ve upgraded my Mozilla 1.3.1 install to the Mozilla 1.4 milestone and I’m pleased with it. Mozilla 1.4 is the best Mozilla yet. Here’s a few of the improvements I noticed: the chevron menu for the personal toolbar that shows up if you have too many items, improved bookmark drag and drop behavior, go to line in view source, and clicking on an error in JavaScript console takes you to error line in view source. There are also changes in the preferences including a terrible UI for configuring the launch options for startup, new windows and new tabs, but at least you can do it.

I find that I still need to do fair amount of tweaking and reconfiguring before I’m ready to use it. I put together a page that shows my typical Mozilla Tweaks.

I’ve also played with Netscape 7.1 which is basically identical to Mozilla 1.4. Compared to 7.02, it is a huge improvement. As a web developer, I’ve very thankful that a custom install of Netscape 7.1 includes a developer pack with the DOM viewer, JavaScript debugger, and Chatzilla. Of course those tools have been available in Mozilla for ages, but it’s good Netscape decided to include them in the branded release. If you need to use Netscape, 7.1 is terrific.