April 27, 2010

Fennec 1.1 - Save as PDF

People print or save webpages for a couple of good reasons.

Sometimes it's because you need to have a permanent record of something you've done: a receipt after making a purchase, or a confirmation that you've filed your taxes or booked a rental car.

Other times, you want to be certain that a copy of a page that will be accessible when you're offline. This might be a boarding pass, a set of directions, or the simplest case: an article to read.

On current mobile devices it's rarely straightforward to print, and dealing with a saved folder of saved HTML, CSS, and images isn't really what's called for in the scenarios I've described. It also doesn't make much sense on devices that, for good reason, try to de-emphasize file systems.

Fennec 1.1 tries to fill this void with a Save As PDF option in the new site menu:


On the N900, selecting "Save As PDF" will bring up a save dialog:


The saved PDF will show up in the Fennec download manager, so that you don't have to go hunting for it in the file system:


Tapping "Open" will bring it up in the device's PDF reader:


Update: Belorussian translation from Martha Ruszkowski

Posted by madhava at 05:12 PM

April 20, 2010

Fennec 1.1 - Start Page

When you launch mobile Firefox (Fennec) 1.1, you'll see that it has a new start page. In portrait, it looks like this:


Through the start page, the browser's providing a couple of things that are of interest particularly when you start up:

  • It shows the tabs that you had open the last time you were using the browser, letting you open any or all of them again. This makes quitting (and restarting) the browser a much less consequence-filled undertaking. It's like a lightweight version of session restore on the desktop.
  • The start page also provides quick access to the tabs you have or just had open on your other computers, like the one on your desk. This is useful when you first open your browser in the case where you leave your desk and now, on the road, need to pick up where you left off.

We're also taking advantage of having your attention for a second to show you a maximum of two recommended add-ons that you don't yet have installed. Tapping on one will open the add-ons manager and let you install the one you're interested in right there. While looking for add-ons is not necessarily a start-up task, add-ons are a huge part of what makes Firefox such a great fit for its users, so interjecting quickly to show people what's new and worthwhile seems like a reasonable thing to do.

Here's the page again, in landscape:


This page is a change from 1.0, in which the browser used to display the awesome screen immediately (Fennec's display of frequently visited pages and bookmarks, as well as from where you search the web). We were finding, though, that people were finding it disorienting - people were launching the browser, and expecting to see something that looked like a browser. Going to the start page instead helps with that problem and also helps with some frequent just-opened use-cases. Oh, and if you already have a start page that works for you, you can switch to using that over in preferences:


We're not done, of course. Heading towards version 2.0, I'd like to explore more of how we can use the start page to help people see what's new on the parts of the web they care about since the last time they connected with their online lives. I've written about some of this here before, but it's a topic I'll be writing about more over the next few weeks.

Posted by madhava at 11:10 PM

April 14, 2010

Fennec 1.1 - the Site Menu

The beta release of Firefox for Maemo (Fennec) 1.1 is nearly ready for testing, and with it come some new capabilities and changes to the user-interface (though maybe you're already seen them in the nightlies). One of them that I'm really excited about is the new extended Site Menu.

On desktop Firefox, and in Fennec 1.0, tapping the site button (the one with the site's icon on it, next to the URL or page title) brings up some site identity information — you can use it to get a sense of how much Firefox knows about who you're talking to, site-wise. In the smaller mobile interface, we wanted this button to be of broader use: to be the place you go to get information about and manage your relationship with the site you're on. So, when you tap on this button in mobile Firefox 1.1, you'll see actions as well as the briefing on what's known about the site.

Certain items, like the new 1.1 feature "Save as PDF," are relevant to every page (you can use it to permanently store receipts, boarding passes, or any page you might print if you were at a desktop computer). We're always trying to save space in Fennec, though, so other items will appear depending on the site and what decisions you've made about it.

For example, addons.mozilla.com provides a search engine that I can add to the Firefox search bar, and I have a saved password for the site, so menu-items to Add Search Engine and Forget Password are each present:


Another item that will sometimes appear is Clear Site Preferences:


On popuptest.com, I've told Firefox that I always want to block popups, but I can clear that site preference here. This works for a number of other site-specific preferences as well, including automatic location sharing, storing local data, and opting to never save a password.

Finally, add-ons are starting to hook into it as well (oh, and the menu reformats itself in portrait). Readability, by Fabrice Desre, is shown here.


Posted by madhava at 07:01 PM