Firefox 41+ extension signing

In the never-ending quest for browser security, Firefox has started implementing safeguards to only allow signed extensions. I found this out after upgrading to Firefox 41 as my installed version of “Deque FireEyes” stopped working. Thankfully, there is a workaround in Firefox 41, but it goes away in Firefox 42.

  • Firefox 40: warning only!
  • Firefox 41: workaround, via:

    about:config:
    xpinstall.signatures.required = false
  • Firefox 42: BLOCKED! unless signed

REFERENCES:

Deque FireEyes accessibility testing plugin

I’ve done a lot of accessibility testing and development work over my career. One of the many free tools that I use in that role is FireEyes. Deque also has some commercial packages for developer use.

FireEyes adds a new tab on the Firebug tab bar and adds the ability to analyze a web site for WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA and Section 508 accessibility violations. The Stand-Alone version of FireEyes is a browser plugin to the FireFox browser. It requires that the FireBug plugin already be installed

Requirements:

  • Firefox 31-41

    As of 2015aug21, the current version of the extension is NOT signed and will not execute on later versions. [See my later post on this topic]

  • FireBug 2.x – Do NOT install Firebug v3 alpha as the tab will not show.

NOTE: should be on Firebug tab labeled “Worldspace Fireyes”, but does not seem to be available in Firebug3.

NOTE: if you try to download in MSIE, you must rename the .zip to .xpi, and then open with Firefox.

REFERENCES:

Mozilla Firefox Tracking Protection

While “Do Not Track” (DNT) was an HTTP Header used to “request” that the browser sent to a server, it was not guaranteed to be honored. New versions of Firefox support “Tracking Protection” that automatically block many common tracking mechanisms.

  • Type “about:config” in the URL line.
  • Toggle “privacy.trackingprotection.enabled” from false to true.
  • Done!

REFERENCES:

opensearchdescription.xml

OpenSearch is a relatively obscure topic that I’ve only crossed a few times, here is the premise.

A simple tag can be added to your content, in this case HTML, but a feed can also contain this element.

<link rel="search" href="http://www.giantgeek.com/opensearchdescription.xml" type="application/opensearchdescription+xml" title="giantgeek.com" />

That link refers to a file that resembles the one below, in it you can specify the URL to the search facilities on a website, or as in the case below, use the parameters for a Google search of your website.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE OpenSearchDescription>
<OpenSearchDescription xmlns="http://a9.com/-/spec/opensearch/1.1/" xmlns:moz="http://www.mozilla.org/2006/browser/search/">
<ShortName>GiantGeek.com</ShortName>
<Description>Use Google to search our web site.</Description>
<InputEncoding>UTF-8</InputEncoding>
<Tags>giantgeek skotfred</Tags>
<Contact>scott@giantgeek.com</Contact>
<Image width="16" height="16" type="image/x-icon">http://www.giantgeek.com/favicon.ico</Image>
<!-- NOTE: this uses Google, you can give your own search url instead -->
<Url type="text/html" method="GET" template="http://www.google.com/search?q=site:giantgeek.com {searchTerms}"/>
<Url type="application/opensearchdescription+xml" rel="self" template="http://www.giantgeek.com/opensearchdescription.xml"/>
</OpenSearchDescription>

Many modern browsers that provide a ‘search box’ in the browser interface, can then add the capability to perform a search of your website even when the user is not there already.

REFERENCES and Additional Reading:

Prevent Firefox browser auto update

Often you find a neeed to keep an old copy of Firefox around for testing or to use a specific plugin (Example: Selenium). In these cases it can often prove problematic to allow the browser to auto-update. Here are some simple steps to prevent this behavior.

Enter “about:config” into the Firefox URL bar, then change the following values. You can click on them to toggle.

app.update.auto = false
app.update.enabled = false

Alternately, on Windows you can edit the config file at: %APPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\.default\prefs.js

REFERENCES:

Firefox Beta and Aurora Release Channels

With the rapid release cycle (currently every 6 weeks) for Firefox, it’s a good idea for developers and testers to use the upcoming release versions before they are released to the general public.

For Windows users, you can download and install an appropriate version from:
http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/channel/

On Ubuntu, it’s a little more difficult, but rater straight-forward:

  1. Open a new Terminal window
  2. sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/firefox-next
  3. sudo apt-get update
  4. sudo apt-get install firefox

REFERENCES:

That’s all…. Happy Testing!

Making HTML text unselectable with CSS

There are often circumstances where you do not want users to select certain text on your page in order to maintain a facade… rounded buttons for example.

In most browsers, this can be achieved using CSS (much of it proprietary below), For IE and Opera, you will need to use the unselectable expando property of the element you wish to be unselectable.

You can set this using an attribute in HTML:
<div id="foo" unselectable="on" class="unselectable">...</div>
<style type="text/css">
.unselectable {
-webkit-user-select: none;
-khtml-user-select: none;
-moz-user-select: none;
-o-user-select: none;
user-select: none;
}
</style>

Sadly this property isn’t inherited, meaning you have to put an attribute in the start tag of every element inside the

. If this is a problem, you could instead use JavaScript to do this recursively for an element’s descendants:

function makeUnselectable(node) {
if (node.nodeType == 1) {
node.unselectable = true;
}
var child = node.firstChild;
while (child) {
makeUnselectable(child);
child = child.nextSibling;
}
}
makeUnselectable(document.getElementById("foo"));

REFERENCES:

Firefox Beta and Aurora Release Channels

With the recent rapid release cycle (currently every 6 weeks) for Firefox, it’s a good idea for developers and testers to use the upcoming release versions before they are released to the general public.

For Windows users, you can download and install an appropriate version from:
http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/channel/

On Ubuntu, it’s a little more difficult, but rather straight-forward:

  1. Open a new Terminal window
  2. sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/firefox-next
  3. sudo apt-get update
  4. sudo apt-get install firefox

REFERENCES:

That’s all…. Happy Testing!

Mozilla Firefox 3.0 released

After months of anticipation and three Release Candidates, the new version of Firefox is now available for download. (Due to demand, servers are still a bit slow, so just keep trying and you will eventually get it!).

http://www.getfirefox.com/

Most common developer plugins were updated to support FF3 in the last week or so:

  • YSlow! was finally updated on launch day
  • Unfortunately, Google’s discontinued support for their “Google Browser Sync” and does not plan to update it to support FF3.

Cheers!

Browser Rendering Engines

This is knowledge that is generally “tribal” by nature, reserved to only the nerdiest web developers, recently I was asked to name these and failed. Here’s the bounty of my research.

Gecko is generally considered to be the second most-popular layout engine on the Web, after Trident (used by Internet Explorer for Windows since version 4), and followed by WebCore (used by Safari) and Presto (used by Opera).

Gecko is the open source, free software web browser layout engine used in all Mozilla-branded software and its derivatives, including later Netscape browser releases. Written in C++ and licensed under MPL/GPL/LGPL triple license, Gecko is designed to support open Internet standards. Originally created by Netscape Communications Corporation, its development is now overseen by the Mozilla Foundation.

Trident (also known as MSHTML) is the name of the layout engine for the Microsoft Windows version of Internet Explorer. It was first introduced with the release of Internet Explorer version 4 in October 1997, has been steadily upgraded and remains in use today. For version 7 of Internet Explorer, Microsoft made significant changes to the Trident layout engine to improve compliance with web standards and add support for new technologies. Despite these changes, Trident remains significantly less compliant than competing layout engines Gecko, Presto and WebCore.

Presto is the name of the current (Opera 9 series) layout engine for the Opera web browser developed by Opera Software. It was first released (following several public betas and technical previews) on January 28, 2003 in Opera 7.0 for Windows. Presto replaced the Elektra engine used in versions 4–6 of Opera. Presto differs from Elektra in that it is dynamic: the page or parts of it can be re-rendered in response to DOM and script events. The Presto layout engine is only available as a part of Opera browser or related products. The source or binary (DLL) forms of the engine are not publicly available. Subsequent releases have seen a number of bugs fixed and optimizations to improve the speed of the ECMAScript (“JavaScript“) engine.

Tasman is the name of the layout engine introduced with version 5 of Internet Explorer for Mac. Tasman was an attempt to improve support for web standards, as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium. At the time of its release, Tasman was seen as the layout engine with the best support for web standards such as HTML and CSS. Unfortunately, MSIE for Mac is no longer supported, but newer versions of Tasman are incorporated in some other current Microsoft products.

Cheers!