Older blog entries for lucasr (starting at number 262)

Smoother Firefox for Android

Click to see full image

Now that Reader Mode has been released in Firefox 16, my main focus for the 18/19 releases will be about making the experience of using Firefox for Android as smooth as possible. I’ll initially focus on three areas: tabs UX, Awesome Screen performance, and page load progress feedback.

This will probably be a continuous effort and it’s unlikely that I’ll be “done” in just one cycle. The goal here is incrementally land changes that have clear user-visible impact. I’ve already landed the first batch of improvements to the tabs UX:

  • The slide animation to show/hide the tabs tray is now much smoother, especially on Android devices with hardware acceleration support (ICS or later).
  • The swipe-to-close gesture on the tabs tray is now much more polished and reliable (see image above).
  • Tabs now slide to fill the gap of removed tabs instead of just snapping to the new positions.
  • We now give more space to the tabs tray so you can see more tabs at once.
  • Tapping anywhere in the main UI (not only the web content area) should close the tabs tray.

These changes together add up to a much better UX already but there’s more coming, stay tuned! This week I’ll be working on ways to make the Awesome Screen feel more responsive. For now, you can see the improvements in the tabs tray in action on our Nightly builds. Feedback is very welcome!

Syndicated 2012-10-16 16:50:43 from lucasr.org

Reader Mode in Firefox Beta for Android

Click to see full image

Yes, Reader Mode is now available on Firefox Beta for Android! Go read my previous blog post about it for an overview of the feature. Brian and I have been working hard to get it in shape for the release and things are now much more solid.

So, what’s new since I announced Reader Mode? Besides tons of bug fixes, there are two things I’d like to highlight. First, we went through a new design iteration that adds a magazine style to the Reader, looks great! Secondly, we’ve made some major performance improvements. Entering Reader Mode is now instantaneous—the way it should be. There some extra major performance improvements and bug fixes to land in Beta soon by the way.

You can help us make Reader Mode even better! It’s simple: install Firefox Beta on your Android phone or tablet and use Reader Mode on your favourite news sites, blogs, etc. Let us know if Reader Mode if offered as expected on readable content (and not offered on pages that are not really articles) and if content is rendered as expected in Reader Mode. Report any issues you find.

I hope you love Reader Mode as much as we do. I can’t wait to get it in the hands of our users in Firefox 16!

Syndicated 2012-09-03 10:55:56 from lucasr.org

Nexus 7

I don’t usually blog about my new gadgets. But sometimes the gadget is so good that is worth doing so. It happened before when I got my Kindle 3 and now the same happened with the Nexus 7. There are plenty of Nexus 7 reviews out there. I just want to share some personal highlights.

Size and ergonomics. I never felt inclined to buy a 10″ tablet. It might work well as a couch device at home but it’s just too big to carry with me to use on the go. So, iPad, Touchpad, Galaxy 10.1, and others were never really an option for me. Furthermore, the current smaller tablet offerings (7″ or 8″) based on Android are just too crappy to even consider.

The Nexus 7 is small enough to carry with me all the time and has the right ergonomics (dimensions, shape, bezel, weight) to use with one and two hands wherever I am (lying on a couch, standing in the train, holding my new born son at 2am, etc). The size is also perfect for casual gaming—something that I had stopped doing for a while. I strongly recommend watching this interview with Matias Duarte in which he explains the rationale behind Nexus 7′s industrial design.

Performance.  The Nexus 7 has chunky specs for the price. Gosh, this is a quad-core Tegra 3 tablet for £199! The combination of performant hardware with the smoothness on Jelly Bean really improves the UX on the device. There’s virtually zero lag on anything you interact with or do in it. Ah, and battery life is great too.

Android. ICS was the first release that I felt like the whole Android thing could actually become something cool. Jelly Bean is yet another big step in the right direction. It brings tweaks to the task switching and launching flow that make a subtle but big difference. As a result, Jelly Bean is the very first Android release that I’m actually enjoying—even with all the little things I still don’t like about it.

The Nexus 7 is a great product due to a combination of factors. It’s a nice piece of hardware for an amazing price that ships the first Android release that you can feel good about. No, Android is not perfect, Google still has work to do to make it amazing. But, for now, Nexus 7 is here and is awesome—Firefox (Beta) and Pattrn run beautifully on it, by the way :-)

Syndicated 2012-08-01 15:05:53 from lucasr.org

Pattrn on Tablets

Yes, that’s right! I’ve just pushed an update featuring a brand new tablet-optimized UI for Pattrn. The tablet UI is designed to give you quick access to all your stuff—favourites, wallpaper history, and saved searches—from a simple and beautiful home screen—works beautifully on the Nexus 7 by the way. This update also features landscape mode on the phone UI.

This is by far the most exciting Pattrn release to date. Big thanks to Arnaud Vallat, Jake Wharton, Michael Novak, and Roman Nurik for giving early feedback on this release.

Love Pattrn? Tell your friends and followers about it and don’t forget to give a 5-star review on Google Play. What are you waiting for? Download and install the best wallpaper app for Android tablets now!

Syndicated 2012-07-24 14:28:04 from lucasr.org

One Year at Mozilla

Team Firefox 2012 by Rob Campbell (CC-BY)

I started at Mozilla on this same date last year. It was a Wednesday and I was a bit scared. Fast forward 365 days and here I am completing my first year in the company! Wow, time really flies! I’ve already written about my experience in the first 238 days at Mozilla and the same points still apply. Maybe it’s a good time to make a quick summary of what I’ve worked on in my first year.

I was lucky to join Mozilla at the time the mobile front-end team was about to start working on the then-new XUL-based tablet UI. I implemented central parts of the UI such as the tabs side-pane and important pieces of the browser toolbar—besides the usual bug fixes. It was a nice way to get more familiar with XUL-based development. I also implemented things like HTML5 form validation front-end in XUL Fennec in the same period.

Around September last year, I volunteered to be Firefox Mobile’s community steward. The first thing I did was to create an official Get Involved page and compile a list of good first bugs for new contributors. The response has been pretty good and I do want to dedicate a bit more time for contributor engagement in the near future.

Then in October, the Firefox Mobile team got together in Toronto to start working on the new native UI. On this front, I drove the development of core parts of the new UX including the AwesomeBar screen and the new start page. Furthermore, I led the implementation of important back-end components such as the Places database for Android (and respective test infrastructure) and the Remote Debugger support. As you probably know, I’m now working on Reader Mode.

Some quick stats: I joined Mozilla 365 days ago. Since then, I pushed 280 changesets, changed ~12,578 lines of code, fixed 150 bugs, gave 3 talks, travelled to 5 countries, and had a lot of fun. For my next year at Mozilla, I want to focus on bootstrapping more exciting features that differentiate Firefox Mobile from competitors—Reader Mode being the first of them.

I have no doubts that my next year at Mozilla will be filled with even more awesomeness!

Syndicated 2012-07-20 11:14:09 from lucasr.org

The You tab in Pattrn

I’ve just pushed a new Pattrn update with an exciting new feature: the You tab. It replaces the Favorites tab in the home screen with a simple dashboard that gives you direct access to all your stuff.

In addition to your favorite patterns, the You tab offers easy access to all patterns you’ve used as wallpaper and your saved searches. You can add saved searches to the You tab by using the ★ button in the search results screen. Saved searches are a nice way to keep a dynamic list of patterns by keyword or color.

This new update is also an important milestone in terms of getting the necessary infrastructure to build the tablet UI for Pattrn. Stay tuned!

Syndicated 2012-07-09 20:49:14 from lucasr.org

New Firefox for Android released!

Finally! It’s been 8 months of hard work from an amazing team! I’ve written about the new Firefox for Android before when we entered Beta stage. Yes, it’s whole different beast than any previous version: it starts instantaneously, uses much less memory, renders pages much faster, panning and zooming are super smooth, and features a brand new UI.

And this is just the beginning! There’s a lot of stuff coming very soon in the next releases: new tablet UI, new tabs pane, text selection, find in page, Android bookmarks/history import, search suggestions, reader mode, tons of bug fixes, and much more. If you’re feeling adventurous and can’t wait to try the upcoming features, you can see them in action in the Nightly build.

I couldn’t be more proud for being part of this team! You can download the new Firefox for Android now. Trust me, you’ll find many reasons to love it.

Syndicated 2012-06-26 15:25:10 from lucasr.org

Infinite patterns in Pattrn

Many users have been requesting the ability to see more patterns in Pattrn. So far, the list of latest, most popular, and search results have been limited to 50 patterns. Not anymore! In the latest update—now available on Google Play Store—all pattern lists are infinite and will load more patterns on demand as you scroll down.

This new update also features an important performance improvement on the lists. Pattrn now pre-fetches patterns beyond the visible viewport to bring an even smoother experience—hopefully you’ll see less grey boxes. This is a work in progress, more improvements are planned.

In case you missed, you can now follow the latest news about Pattrn on Twitter and Google+. Enjoy!

Syndicated 2012-06-25 13:21:15 from lucasr.org

Reader Mode in Firefox Mobile

It all started at the Firefox Work Week in Toronto back in April. I managed to find some time during that rather busy week to build a rough prototype of Firefox Mobile’s Reader Mode. I’ve been able to focus on it in the last few weeks and it’s now in good enough shape for wider testing.

Reader Mode is about bringing a smooth and beautiful reading experience to Firefox Mobile. It removes all the clutter from web pages and shows you only what you want to read in a minimalist UI. Here are a few things I’d like to highlight about it.

Read now or later. If the current page is convertible to Reader Mode, you’ll see the reader icon in the browser toolbar (see image above). If you tap on it, the current page will be loaded in the Reader straight away. You can also add it to your Reading List to read it later using the corresponding app menu item.

AwesomeBar integration. Your Reading List items will show up in the AwesomeBar results—just like any bookmark or history item—making it super easy to find specific items. The Reading List items will have a little reader indicator (see image above). The Reading List shows up as a top-level folder in AwesomeBar’s Bookmarks tab, if you want to see the full list of items.

Read your way. The Reader UI is minimal but very configurable. You can set the color scheme (light, dark, and sepia), font size and margins the way you want through a simple set of controls (see image above). We might be adding more options like a toggle to show/hide images in the text.

Read any time. Once you add a page to your Reading List, it will be automatically made available offline so that you don’t need an internet connection to access your Reading List on the go.

Read anywhere. Your Reading List will be synced across all platforms where you use Firefox. This means you’ll be able to add a Reading List item in your Firefox on desktop and read it on the go from your phone using Firefox Mobile. This is not implemented yet as we need to have Reader Mode in desktop Firefox before we can enable Reading List syncing there. So, at least for the initial release, the Reader will only be available on mobile.

Firefox Mobile’s Reader Mode is similar to existing reader apps. But, as you can see, the real difference here is that it is deeply integrated in the browser, where you usually read stuff anyway. As far as I know, Firefox is the first mobile browser on Android to provide this feature.

Reader Mode is now enabled in the Nightly builds of Firefox for Android. It’s still a very early development version so expect bugs. Help with testing and feedback is very welcome. Download the Nightly and try it now!

Syndicated 2012-06-21 13:32:33 from lucasr.org

Discover patterns by color in Pattrn

One of the core goals of Pattrn is to allow users to discover new patterns at any time. As you know, Pattrn can automatically set your Android’s wallpaper every day with the patterns of your choice. This is a great way to give your Android a fresh new look and to discover new patterns—especially if you’re using random pattern wallpapers!

Pattrn shows you the colours used in each pattern inside the extended information pane that expands and collapses when you tap the screen. The latest release has a new fun way to discover new patterns: click on a specific colour and you’ll be able to search for other patterns using the same colour (see image above).

Also new in this update is the “View on Web” option which takes you straight to the respective pattern page at COLOURlovers.com. Enjoy!

Syndicated 2012-06-04 15:42:43 from lucasr.org

253 older entries...

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!