The roads I take...

KaiRo's weBlog

December 2008

Displaying entries published on 2008-12-07,in English and tagged with "places". Back to all recent entries

Popular tags: Mozilla, SeaMonkey, L10n, Status, Firefox

Used languages: English, German


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December 7th, 2008

Places History Landed on SeaMonkey Trunk!

As I mentioned before, I've been working on places history UI for some time now to finish up the switch of SeaMonkey trunk to places on the history side of things. (No, we're not changing anything related to bookmarks at this stage!)

After a few iterations of the patch, we've now arrived at a stage where we decided to land it in trunk - the point of time after alpha 2 and early in the alpha 3 cycle is carefully decided, as we know it's a large change and the current state is not perfect yet. It also needs a good amount of testing and feedback before before releasing it on a wider audience, esp. since it touches a core feature of the browser.

So, what does that mean for a user of SeaMonkey nightlies or self-compiled trunk builds? Here are the main differences between the old and new history implementations:

New features:
  • More intelligent algorithm to search and list items in the location bar dropdown, including search in titles and in the middle of URL/title strings
  • Not keeping all history loaded in memory (less memory needed)
  • Information stored in a SQLite relational database on disk instead of the clumsy mork database format used previously
  • Storing more history (180 days instead of 9 days by default) without performance decrease or memory increase
  • Can sort the history manager on columns not displayed
  • Can search sidebar and manager inline with a search bar
  • Can change the grouping in the sidebar
  • Hovering the history sidebar updates the status bar
Unchanged features (among others):
  • No bookmarks included in location bar searches
  • No combined history and bookmarks window
  • Bookmarks storage and management is completely unchanged
  • Location bar dropdown stays in the same layout as before, with one item per line
Missing features:
  • Can't group the history manager
  • History sidebar only shows the title (you can't pick or sort columns)
  • Open Link in New Window/Bookmark only appears when one link is selected
  • Can't delete all history from a site or domain
  • No First Visited, Hostname (minor) or Referrer columns
  • No Select All context menuitem (minor)
  • History manager hover doesn't update the status bar

Some of those missing features will be implemented with patches following up on the big landing done right now - we hope to get things like grouping in the history window even before alpha 3. We also will be adding a few UI preferences based on this work, esp. for tweaking how the location bar search algorithm works - the new code gives us some possibilities there but we didn't stuff this into the current patch to not make it even larger than it is now.

If you're not too fond of what you heard about the location bar search algorithm (which is basically the same as used by Firefox 3), please give it a try for at least a week of daily browsing, it learns from what entries in the search results you actually choose to load, and you won't see its full extent unless you give it this possibility to learn how important which sites are to you.

I hope that in the end, the increased amount of history stored and the improved search capabilities will enhance our users' browsing experience as much as it will delight anyone who has had the misfortune to read the source of the mork history. ;-)

By KaiRo, at 14:21 | Tags: Mozilla, places, SeaMonkey, SeaMonkey 2 | 6 comments | TrackBack: 1

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