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Using Firefox Yet?

This post does not relate to any other topics

If you are not using Firefox yet, why not? The Version 1 Preview Release has arrived and the Spread Firefox campaign is well underway with over half a million downloads in the first 2 days.

Live feeds and a new interface for fast find on the status bar make this release better than ever. So why on earth would anyone want to use an archaic and highly insecure legacy browser by the name of Exploder anymore?

Posted on Sep 17, 2004 at 14:35:03. [Comments for Using Firefox Yet?- 0]

Harmonising Link Prefetching And Logging

Also relates to PHP and Apache

As part of my ongoing redevelopment of this website and in particular my weblog itself I have been building a set of classes to provide visitor statistics. The objective is a simple lightweight solution to summarise referrers, page counts, countries and other similar information per request and without the overhead of trawling the Combined Log Format. With PEAR_DB providing the database abstraction, storing the data is a simple case of compacting all the informative variables and running an auto-execution statement. Of course on the first test drive in Firefox, doubling up of log entries reared its head. This is due to the use of the <link rel="next" href="" title=""/> element providing accessible navigation to the next entry. All the Mozilla browsers (since the days of Netscape 7.x and Mozilla 1.2) will send an HTTP request for the URI in the href attribute to improve performance, thus appending an additional, yet misleading, log entry.

Fortunately there is a simple solution to this which can be resolved in the PHP routine. The browser sends a custom header to tell the server that this is a prefetch request:

X-Moz: prefetch

So in the PHP routine, prefetched pages can be excluded with the following conditional:

if (isset($_SERVER["HTTP_X_MOZ"]) &&
    $_SERVER["HTTP_X_MOZ"] == "prefetch") {
  // do not log the request
  return false;      
else {
  // log the request

This discovery, all thanks to Live HTTP Headers has been a great salvation to me, since the double logging had caused me many headaches in the past. Accurate logs are essential for good SEO and providing valuable and relevant future content to visitors. But with the current growth in Mozilla based browsers (Firefox in particular) I have found logs becoming more and more distorted. Neither removing relative links nor resorting to Internet Exploder are desirable solutions.

Information on Link Prefetching seems to be sparse but here are the main pages from Mozilla:

Unfortunately this solution does not resolve the general quibble I had with overstated logs and Webalizer. The last release of Webalizer actually preceded the introduction of the prefetch HTTP header. This is a hugely popular log analyzer that seems to be present across a wide range of web servers and hosting packages - makes me wonder how many people are optimistically interpreting over-stated logs? I suppose, with accessibility still on a gradual advance to the mainstream, and the use of the link element only appearing on progressive and forward thinking sites, probably not actually that many.

I have currently been test driving an excellent and very detailed alternative log file analyzer called AW Stats. Well worth a test drive.

Posted on Jul 12, 2004 at 02:33:14. [Comments for Harmonising Link Prefetching And Logging- 1]

Live HTTP Headers Updated

This post does not relate to any other topics

Excellent! Live HTTP Headers is the penultimate extension update I have waited for to remove Firefox 0.8 from my desktop. A fantastic developer extension I simply can't do without when creating server side applications. The latest version has some great improvements including the ability to apply exclusion filters with regular expressions and to attach the panel to the sidebar to track headers with maximised windows.

Now I hold on for an update to the Link Toolbar, another essential tool I utilise to validate the dynamic generation of next and previous links without having to view the source.

The new extension manager, which has worked seamlessly on my Windows 98 platform, has swayed me into downloading and sampling considerably more extensions than when I was managing multiple user profiles to protect against compatibility issues. Tabbrowser Extensions was recently updated so I have can reclaim tab session memory management. I also find the Cookie Culler and Flat Bookmark Editing to be useful additions to the feature set. And lastly, for now, Jed Brown's BB Code extension is convenient for heavy forum posting - especially the clipboard features.

Posted on Jul 10, 2004 at 17:38:55. [Comments for Live HTTP Headers Updated- 0]

My Future Is Charamel

This post does not relate to any other topics

And I always thought Breeze was my style. Charamel is certainly my future - and the sister theme for Thunderbird is just a total treat! At least with the new Theme Manager I can always switch back to my grayscale world with relative ease.

Posted on Jul 01, 2004 at 01:58:38. [Comments for My Future Is Charamel- 0]


Also relates to Open Source

Yes, the Royal Oak is out, and the One Tree Hill has arrived! Everyone has been talking about it. The truth is out…

…as a matter of fact, as Firefox gears up for landmark version 1.0, I fear we will see miracles before us in the form of an Internet browser. Firefox is that good. It really is. Look out Internet Explorer… your days have been numbered for some time now, but Firefox 1.0 will surely leave you shaking on your already shaky foundations and standing in a small warm puddle. First Look at Mozilla Firefox 0.9 by Adam Doxtater

What is so significant about the version 9 release of Firefox (code named One Tree Hill) is that this is the final technological preview before the browser is released into the wild. Bar bug fixing this is very much how Firefox will appear.

The one feature that was lacking has finally arrived in this release - the extension/theme manager. While I was quite happy playing with my chrome, this improvement should finally make the home user market sit up and notice there is a life beyond the exploder. The online extensions repository has also been updated and is far more usable with the clever addition of RSS syndicated feeds of the latest and most popular extensions. This is the way to get Firefox noticed - get syndicated content distributed around the web. I will certainly be syndicating the latest extensions, since I am still waiting for the update of several essential extensions, including Link Tool Bar, HTTP Headers, Tabbrowser Extensions and the Advanced Search Side Bar. The good news is that due to the re-location of the user profile directory, Firefox 0.8 can remain installed for the time being without any conflicts arising (of course can only run one or the other version at a time). Also, with the added benefit of a usable extension manager, I decided to dip my toes into a few other extensions, and Radial Context has become an immediate must have. I have been bred on mouse gestures ever since I first booted up Opera 6, so continue to use these while assigning radial context to the middle button for added pleasure.

Everything about the browser is smoother and more efficient on my grinding old Windows 98 PC and this has been further backed up by the release of Thunderbird 0.7. This email and news reader client seems to be catching up very quickly - I hadn't event got round to installing the previous version yet! This has already become my principle email client, in part due to the regular instability and crashing of MS Outlook (blame it on the OS and not the vendor no doubt!!) Plus a much smoother interface for archiving and retrieving the multitude of material that finds its way into my Inbox.

The last word must return to Firefox and where it all began. Have you noticed what that codename is for the version 1 milestone?

1. Mythological Bird. In ancient mythology, a bird resembling an eagle that lived for 500 years and then burned itself to death on a pyre from whose ashes another pheonix arose. It commonly appears in literature as a symbol of death and resurrection.
2. SB Or STH Beautiful Or Unique. A supremely beautiful, rare, or unique person or thing.

The Encarta Dictionary

The personification of a web browser!? I can handle that - after all I talk to my Firefox daily and praise her on her efforts!

Posted on Jun 20, 2004 at 04:41:33. [Comments for Firefox…Firebird…Pheonix- 0]

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