Web Design

Firebug not running in Firefox on Linux (solution)

Firebug LogoSince switching to Linux I’ve had one issue that has really caused me grief over the past few weeks, and it’s been with Firebug, which to a web-developer is a pretty indispensable tool!

I compiled Firefox using the ebuild from Gentoo Portage, and then installed the Firebug extension, but once Firefox had restarted to complete the installation, Firebug wouldn’t open at all. Whenever I tried to open it I received various error messages in Firefox’s error console including ‘permission denied to call method location.tostring’. Upgrading to Firefox, and Firebug 1.1.0b10 didn’t help.

After some digging I found a bug report that described exactly what’s happening to me. So I added ‘mozdevelop’ to my Portage USE flags, and then recompiled Firefox and now Firebug works a treat!

Safari – Must try harder

Well Apple have released the public beta of Safari 3 for Windows, claiming it has “blazing performance” and an “elegant user interface”, judge the last point for yourself!

Safari Screenshot 1

This is a screen shot of the default home page for Safari. There’s no text on the menus, or in the page, and the majority of the buttons haven’t loaded correctly either. I would include a link to this page so you could check it in other browsers, but the address bar doesn’t work, at all!

Apple say “Safari loads pages up to 2 times faster than Internet Explorer 7 and up to 1.6 times faster than Firefox 2.” which might be true, but I’d rather wait a few more seconds to have a page render correctly, especially if it means the Amazon home page doesn’t look like this

Safari Screenshot 2

Here’s a summary of the issues I’ve experienced

  1. Text not being displayed – This includes in menu items, pages, web-page buttons, address bar, search box
  2. Buttons not being displayed – The back, forward and refresh are the only buttons that have any icons
  3. No tool tips – Anywhere. This is especially annoying when buttons and menu items aren’t displayed
  4. Broken address bar – This doesn’t work at all, you can’t see what page you’re currently viewing, or type anything into it, making the browser unusable
  5. Random crashes – The browser keeps crashing for no reason at all

This is a shame, I’d love to have a fully functional version of Safari available on Windows, it would make development and testing a hell of a lot easier, but judging by the experiences of others I’d say it’s a little too early for this beta

Microsoft vs Adobe (the new ‘Expression’ suite)

Microsoft Expression Web LogoIt looks like Microsoft have officially settled on the name for their new suite of creative web applications, called ‘Expression‘, and they seem to have Adobe in their sights.

One of the products (Expression Web) went on sale on Amazon.com on 4th December, but at the moment it’s only available to pre-order for $269.10, or if you’re lucky enough to have Frontpage, then you can upgrade for $89.96 (the best $89.96 you’ll ever spend if you ask me!).

The suite contains four products:

Expression Web is already shipping, and according to the website “is a professional design tool to create modern, standards-based sites which deliver superior quality on the Webis a professional design tool to create modern, standards-based sites which deliver superior quality on the Web“. I’m not entirely sure if this is a direct replacement of Frontpage but it claims to have “A sophisticated CSS rendering engine” which would be a welcome step towards a standards based design application, it will be interesting to see how IE6 handles the standards based code.

Microsoft Expression Web Interface

Expression Blend, according to the website, “is the professional design tool to create engaging web-connected experiences“. Sound familiar? Although the site talks a lot about designing user interfaces, so it could be a prototyping application for designing web-interfaces before they’re implemented, rather than developing rich media applications, similar to how designers use Adobe Fireworks to layout a website.

Microsoft Expression Blend Interface

Expression Design is Microsoft’s new vector illustration tool. It’s a brave move considering the dominance of products like Adobe Illustrator (in the web market at least).

Microsoft Expression Design Interface

Expression Media is a digital asset management tool and an enhancement to their existing iView MediaPro package (which they acquired earlier this year). It promises to offer ‘effortless organization’, workflow integration, image and video editing, and presentation capabilities, from within a single application. It seems like a direct competitor to Adobe Bridge. According to the website (and the screenshots) this is/will be Mac compatible.

Microsoft Expression Media Interface

My initial thoughts on the Expression Suite are obvious, why compete against the likes of Adobe? After some thought I realised there are a lot of people developing ASP.NET applications using Visual Studio, and the Expression Suite will fill the obvious design void for those users.

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