Friday, March 25, 2011

firefox4 - where did firefox status bar go

Two things used to appear in the status bar which I used:
  1. Hyperlink destination - when you hovered over a link, the destination was shown in the status bar
  2. Security reassurance - trusty Padlock - to show you that your data was secure in transit.
Both of these things are handled differently.

The hyperlink destination is now an overlay at the bottom left / right* of webpage
( It is nearly the same appearance really, just have to expect it above the line now, rather than in a grey area between two dividers. *If you have 'Find' open in your browser then the hyperlink destination will move from left to the right. Close 'Find' if it bugs you much )

Now about that security (SSL) confirmation, you now look here:

 And the filled area to the left of the https is where you are now to look to check if SSL security is good.

Instead of the padlock in the status bar you now have that clickable area, left of https to check that your data is secure in transit.

And you now see the trusty padlock is shown with the reassuring phrase:
Your connection to this web site is encrypted to prevent eavesdropping

So all is good, but how about if the security is not right (certificate missing or invalid), well here we see that...

Now the triangle with the exclamation mark (bang), is your warning that entering data at this site, would not see you having protection for data in transit 

( Now before you pick up your presidential hotline and call in the issue, let me clarify that this thing is a non-issue. Firstly, you probably would only visit https:// by mistake. Secondly you have no data exchange relationship with and are not about to enter any passwords or date of birth, whatever )
( I just used that site as a convenient example, so time to move on now. )

Note: You will see a button labeled "Get me out of here!" to reinforce the idea that SSL security will not protect any data you send to and from the site you are being warned about.

Why has the status bar gone?

Nothing more than a style update really, some of the other browsers are also trying to leave behind anything that looks a touch 90s. Status bar and Netscape Navigator padlock at the bottom really have been around that long.

Ctrl + /

If you really want that old status bar back, then hit the Control key and forward slash (/) together.

But my addons use the status bar, so what now?

I do use some addons that make use of the status bar, however I suspect those addons will have to adapt.

Right now if you have an add on like Screengrab!, it will place an icon in the what used to be called the 'status bar'.

In time I suspect Mozilla might removing the footer bar feature altogether, and expect addon developers to use the overlay style that Mozilla now uses for hyperlink destination.

For now what used to be called 'Status Bar' is now renamed 'Addon bar', as it is now only used by Addons.

View -> Toolbars -> Addon Bar

Toggles the bar on / off and has the shortcut Ctrl + /

I turned off the Firefox menu whilst clicking about, how do I get the menu back?

Alt + V

Hitting Alt Key and V will get you the drop down menu "View" which you would not be able to access by clicking, when you switch it off by mistake.

Clicking about enabling toolbars or trying to hide tool bars to give you more screen space, it is all too easy to uncheck "Menu Bar".

But is "Menu Bar" really a toolbar? Well you can argue about that, however best just get used to how the menus are laid out.
( Each browser has it's own unique design features, if you dislike enough of them, then change to a different browser. )

Note: In the Mozilla knowledge base entry, a fuller key combination Alt + V + t is given, which gets you directly to the submenu for Toolbars.

For Firefox4 and newer: Hiding the menu will create a 'Firefox' menu drop down automatically at the very left of your tab list.
( This is a handy feature and great for netbooks as a way to have your menus accessible, but without eating into your available screen area. )

Reload button is missing from the Toolbar?

Going back a while, Firefox used to have a dedicated button for "Reload".

The new restyled Firefox has reload at the far right of the Navigation URL entry box.

( Shown in blue just above the word "Reload" in the picture above )

Ctrl + R   is an easy way to "Reload"
F5 will also "Reload" for you

So now you have two keyboard shortcuts and a handy little button at the end of the URL. Plenty of choices of how to reload in the new Firefox 4.

Tabs on Top versus the Traditional "Tabs Below" in Firefox4:

View -> Toolbars and then Uncheck the option "Tabs on top"

Personally I prefer the Traditional "Tabs Below", however it would be a mistake to assume that new users of Firefox will make the same preference choices as me.

When you come to a software product fresh, it can lead to different choices than if a person has been an active user of Firefox1, Firefox2, Firefox3

Maybe having a choice is the right thing to do, so that Firefox is not positioning itself, as being marketed solely to those who have used Firefox before.

F6 is "Highlight the address":

This is a real time saver for me. If I had a penny for every time I had used the mouse to highlight the current web address in the Navigation Bar, then I'd have about 49p from this week alone :)

Want the current web address in your clip? F6 then right click 'copy'

Want the current web address in your clip? F6 then Ctrl + C

This change will not be universally popular as F6 had a different assignment previously (To do with navigating frames within a web page I think).

So why all these changes in style, my Firefox worked just fine as it was?

I hinted before about dropping anything that looked too retro and 90s style.

What has changed in the last few years, is the availability of other form factors.

Now we have more laptops sold than traditional desktops!

Also the netbook and tablet form factors must be catered for.

For netbooks and tablets, screen real estate is at a premium as the screens are usually smaller. Adapting the User Interface accordingly, keeps Firefox relevant, and allows you a seamless browser experience if own several form factors.

So there has and will continue to be discussions along the lines of ...
What is clutter? Now let us get rid of the clutter? Rinse, Repeat

Notes and Further Reading:

According to, right now Firefox4 has been downloaded 28 million times in the first 48 hours of release. Wow!

By adapting to the new User Interface, you are keeping up to date with the new style that many, many other folks are using :)

To put things into context about that download count. If there are 280 million computer users in the world at the start of 2011 (pretty close maybe), then 10% of the worldwide computers just grabbed a new browser just like yours.

In terms of overall market share, Firefox has much more than 10% of course, and you are joining a great community in downloading it.

Addons or Extensions, which exactly are they?

The are Addons as indicated by about:addons, however the terminology needs bringing into consistent form.

The tab selector on the left should read "Get Add-ons" and then "Add-ons" as the first two tabs in the selector show different aspects of the same thing.

Debian and firefox4 shutdown messages in the console:

The main post has ended and what follows is really just a technical note.

The above was just a first time warning, and probably caused by a lag on my system in waiting for firefox4 to close.

I repeat the messages here incase they prove useful to anyone who sees them in a more serious issue.
WARNING: waitpid failed pid:... errno:..., line 237


WARNING: Failed to deliver SIGKILL to ..., line 162

( My Firefox4 version was obtained from )

No comments: