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NewsFox


Release: NewsFox 1.0.8.3

NewsFox 1.0.8.3 is released, and is the same as NewsFox 1.0.8.2.6 in bug#24416. Changes from 1.0.8.2:

There is the beginnings of a more instant search feature, see bug#24301. There have been no comments, so maybe nobody wants it after all....

R Pruitt (wa84it AT gmail.com)


Release: NewsFox 1.0.8.2

NewsFox 1.0.8.2 is released. Changes from 1.0.8.1:

  • Search feature.
  • Tag column added to title view. (bug#23988 from forum)
  • Check feeds button and menu items now disabled when unavailable (thanks, Mc)
  • Undelete feature. (forum)
  • RDF bug fixed, again. (bug#24075)
  • Extra Feedburner check for improper relative images.

The undelete feature is not really properly implemented. First, there is no indication that you can undelete, just use the delete menuitem or button again. Second, if you have the extra warning enabled, it will ask you to confirm a deletion even for a restoral. Third, it just assigns the article link as an ID, so if there are multiple articles with the same link, it could create problems. But it is good enough for me for a feature that shouldn't be needed often.

There is the beginnings of a more instant search feature, see bug#24301.

R Pruitt (wa84it AT gmail.com)


Release: NewsFox 1.0.8.1

NewsFox 1.0.8.1 is released. Changes from 1.0.8:

  • Firefox display bug workaround. (bug#23918)
  • Ctrl-a selects all articles. (bug#23960)
  • Multiple NewsFox openings with middle-click of toolbar icon bug. (forum)

The workaround for the display bug currently redisplays with a 0.5 second delay, mostly so I can see if the bug still happens.

Ctrl-a selects all articles in all panes so that the shortcut display is correct.

I have no idea why the click event is called multiple times, even with stopPropagation and preventDefault. Instead, I put in a workaround.

R Pruitt (wa84it AT gmail.com)


Release: NewsFox 1.0.8

NewsFox 1.0.8 is released. Changes from 1.0.7:

  • History button added to main toolbar. (bug#22659)
  • All the information on the feed toolbar is now duplicated on the main toolbar, but invisible by default. (bug#23864)
  • Setting newsfox.advanced.defaultXfilterIsWeb equal to true(default: false) in about:config makes web view the default filtered web view.
  • Toolbar button and menu item now work. (bug#23889)
  • Uninstall now again allows deleting of files and preferences.
  • Minor
    • Simplified Firefox main toolbar button placement as old method didn't work in Firefox 6.0a1 anyway.

Pressing the history button reveals your history for the viewing pane. Upon choosing a history item, the view you looked at before will appear in the view pane without any change in the feed pane or article pane. So you may still wonder where it came from, but you can probably figure it out from the web page.

The new piece of the main toolbar basically has this structure

#spacer1 - flexible spacer
#nameFTB - toolbar
  #tBfBmenu - toolbar button with feed/group name (menu items: 
#mmfBhome, #mmfBcheck, #mmfBtag, #mmfBmarkAllAsRead,
#mmfBmarkAllAsUnread, #mmfBdelete, #mmfBoptions) #mfeedTitle - label with feed/group name #spacer2 - flexible spacer #mfBhome - home button #mfBcheck - check feeds button #mfBtag - tag articles button #mfBmarkAllAsRead - mark all read button #mfBmarkAllAsUnread - mark all unread button #mfBdelete - delete articles button #mfBoptions - feed/group options button #spacer3 - flexible spacer
These are the ID names, so for example in your newsfox.css file, you would put #spacer2 { display: inherit !important; } to make spacer2 appear. There is an article with examples. Only spacer3 is displayed by default.

Web view as a filtered web type has been added due to user demand. To use this you still need to enable the filtered web column from the column picker at the upper right of the article pane.

R Pruitt (wa84it AT gmail.com)


Beta release: NewsFox 1.0.8b4

This beta release will become version 1.0.8 after bug fixes.

The usual disclaimers apply: this is a beta release so use it with caution on a backup of your Newsfox folder. I am using this on my real NewsFox folder.

Changes from beta3:

  • Uninstall now again allows deleting of files and preferences.
    This broke in Firefox 4 as well, but should now be fixed.
  • Simplified Firefox main toolbar button placement as old method didn't work in Firefox 6.0a1 anyway.
  • Write f1 to error console when feedSelected() is called, write a1 to error console when articleSelected() is called.
    For help with bug#23918.

R Pruitt (wa84it AT gmail.com)


Beta release: NewsFox 1.0.8b3

This beta release will become version 1.0.8 after bug fixes.

The usual disclaimers apply: this is a beta release so use it with caution on a backup of your Newsfox folder. I am using this on my real NewsFox folder.

Changes from beta2:

  • Toolbar button and menu item now work. (bug#23889)
    Let's try this again :). The button doesn't exist in the document if it isn't in a toolbar, so adding its event listener is more difficult. Things were still getting screwed up if the toolbar button was not displayed. Hopefully fixed now.

R Pruitt (wa84it AT gmail.com)


Beta release: NewsFox 1.0.8b2

This beta release will become version 1.0.8 after bug fixes. There are unlikely to be bugs as usually understood with this version as it mostly just changes the XUL to allow more customization.

The usual disclaimers apply: this is a beta release so use it with caution on a backup of your Newsfox folder. I am using this on my real NewsFox folder.

The new features (where to look for bugs to fix):

  • Setting newsfox.advanced.defaultXfilterIsWeb equal to true(default: false) in about:config makes web view the default filtered web view. This is so users who wish this functionality don't have to change all their feeds. This functionality is close to the opposite of the original motivation for filtered web, so it won't be the default. To use this you still need to enable the filtered web column from the column picker at the upper right of the article pane.
  • Toolbar button and menu item now work. (bug#23889)
  • History button added to main toolbar. (bug#22659)
    Pressing the button reveals your history for the viewing pane. Upon choosing a history item, the view you looked at before will appear in the view pane without any change in the feed pane or article pane. So you may still wonder where it came from, but you can probably figure it out from the web page.
    Obvious questions:
    1) Should the history button be shown by default? now yes
    2) Should there be a limit on # of items? now no
    3) Should duplicates be removed? now no
    Please add any comments to bug#22659.
  • All the information on the feed toolbar is now duplicated on the main toolbar, but invisible by default. (bug#23864)
    The new piece of the main toolbar basically has this structure
    #spacer1 - flexible spacer
    #nameFTB - toolbar
      #tBfBmenu - toolbar button with feed/group name (menu items: 
    #mmfBhome, #mmfBcheck, #mmfBtag, #mmfBmarkAllAsRead,
    #mmfBmarkAllAsUnread, #mmfBdelete, #mmfBoptions) #mfeedTitle - label with feed/group name #spacer2 - flexible spacer #mfBhome - home button #mfBcheck - check feeds button #mfBtag - tag articles button #mfBmarkAllAsRead - mark all read button #mfBmarkAllAsUnread - mark all unread button #mfBdelete - delete articles button #mfBoptions - feed/group options button #spacer3 - flexible spacer
    These are the ID names, so for example in your newsfox.css file, you would put #spacer2 { display: inherit !important; } to make spacer2 appear. There will be another article with examples. All of these with the exception of spacer3 are not displayed by default.
    The question is whether this is a good structure or if it can be better. At some point in the future we may go to fully customizable toolbars, but I still like to think of those Firefox 1.5 users out there. And of course to consider joining them with each new bloated release of Firefox.
    Please add any comments to bug#23864.
R Pruitt (wa84it AT gmail.com)


Main toolbar customization examples

In all these examples, the code listed goes in the newsfox.css file inside your newsfox folder which is typically inside your profile folder. If there is no newsfox.css file, just create a text file and save it as newfox.css.

Example 1: Just a mark all as read button on the right.

#mfBmarkAllAsRead { display: inherit !important; }
#spacer3 { display: none !important; }
#spacer2 { display: inherit !important; }

Example 2: Just a mark all as read button on the left.

#mfBmarkAllAsRead { display: inline !important; }

Example 3: Remove feed toolbar, replace on main toolbar.

#nameFTB, #mfBhome, #mfBcheck, #mfBtag, #mfBmarkAllAsRead, #mfBmarkAllAsUnread, #mfBdelete, #mfBoptions { display: inherit !important; }
.feedHeading { display: none !important; }
.heading { border-bottom: 1px solid white !important; background: #a0a0a0 !important; }
#spacer3 { display: none !important; }
#spacer2 { display: inherit !important; }

Example 4: Remove feed toolbar. Use only feed/group name with menu on main toolbar.

#nameFTB { display: inherit !important; }
.feedHeading { display: none !important; }
.heading { border-bottom: 1px solid white !important; background: #a0a0a0 !important; }

Example 5: Remove feed toolbar. Leave off check feed and option buttons on from replacements on main toolbar. Only use mark all as read on menu below feed/group name. Leave 25px space to the left of the feed/group name. Write feed/group name in red to make it ugly.

#nameFTB, #mfBhome, #mfBtag, #mfBmarkAllAsRead, #mfBmarkAllAsUnread, #mfBdelete { display: inherit !important; }
.feedHeading { display: none !important; }
.heading { border-bottom: 1px solid white !important; background: #a0a0a0 !important; }
#mmfBhome, #mmfBcheck, #mmfBtag, #mmfBmarkAllAsUnread, #mmfBdelete, #mmfBoptions { display: none !important; }
#spacer1 { display: inherit !important; max-width: 25px !important; min-width: 25px !important; }
#mfeedTitle { color: red !important; }

R Pruitt (wa84it AT gmail.com)


Beta release: NewsFox 1.0.8b1

This beta release will become version 1.0.8 after bug fixes. There are unlikely to be bugs as usually understood with this version as it mostly just changes the XUL to allow more customization.

The usual disclaimers apply: this is a beta release so use it with caution on a backup of your Newsfox folder. I am using this on my real NewsFox folder.

The new features (where to look for bugs to fix):

  • History button added to main toolbar. (bug#22659)
    Pressing the button reveals your history for the viewing pane. Upon choosing a history item, the view you looked at before will appear in the view pane without any change in the feed pane or article pane. So you may still wonder where it came from, but you can probably figure it out from the web page.
    Obvious questions:
    1) Should the history button be shown by default? now yes
    2) Should there be a limit on # of items? now no
    3) Should duplicates be removed? now no
    Please add any comments to bug#22659.
  • All the information on the feed toolbar is now duplicated on the main toolbar, but invisible by default. (bug#23864)
    The new piece of the main toolbar basically has this structure
    #spacer1 - flexible spacer
    #nameFTB - toolbar
      #tBfBmenu - toolbar button with feed/group name (menu items: 
    #mmfBhome, #mmfBcheck, #mmfBtag, #mmfBmarkAllAsRead,
    #mmfBmarkAllAsUnread, #mmfBdelete, #mmfBoptions) #mfeedTitle - label with feed/group name #spacer2 - flexible spacer #mfBhome - home button #mfBcheck - check feeds button #mfBtag - tag articles button #mfBmarkAllAsRead - mark all read button #mfBmarkAllAsUnread - mark all unread button #mfBdelete - delete articles button #mfBoptions - feed/group options button #spacer3 - flexible spacer
    These are the ID names, so for example in your newsfox.css file, you would put #spacer2 { display: inherit !important; } to make spacer2 appear. There will be another article with examples. All of these with the exception of spacer3 are not displayed by default.
    The question is whether this is a good structure or if it can be better. At some point in the future we may go to fully customizable toolbars, but I still like to think of those Firefox 1.5 users out there. And of course to consider joining them with each new bloated release of Firefox.
    Please add any comments to bug#23864.
R Pruitt (wa84it AT gmail.com)


Release: NewsFox 1.0.7

NewsFox 1.0.7 is released. Changes from 1.0.6.3.3:

  • All global variables removed from the overlay portions of NewsFox.
  • Changed from using evalInSandbox to using eval inside a sandbox.
  • Relative link parser fixed (bug#23858)
  • Modified so username/password can again be entered on secure feeds if not stored (bug#21379)
  • New web filter type: web page. (bug#22832)
  • Setting newsfox.advanced.fixMailto equal to true(the default) fixes a Firefox mailto: link bug: (Firefox bug #646552)
  • Minor
    • Status bar links are turned off unless newsfox.debug.showStatusText is set equal to true(default implied false).
    • Bad values for regular expression in newsfox.internal.statusBarLinksMatch are caught and disallowed.
    • <img> tags removed in article view popups. (bug#22832)
    • CSS updated (bug#22269)

Firefox overlays need to be constrained so that they don't use the same names for variables. NewsFox once upon a time did have such a name collision with another extension. Then we followed the typical solution and renamed all our global variables to things that most likely wouldn't be used by other extensions. AMO recently decided (reasonably) that this is not good enough. AMO editors sent out this link to offending extension authors. I once spent at least 24 hours trying to fix NewsFox, but of course using this technique you basically have to rewrite your extension in an object oriented way, and coincidentally make your code very hard to read. It is also apparently not easy as the the author of the above link had problems with his minimal code. And of course it is not really a solution as you're just reducing your global variables to 1, but you still have to avoid collisions with that one variable. If this is the kind of solution envisaged, wouldn't is be easier to just assign variable names as with UUIDs?

But when I was looking around trying to solve the eval problem discussed below, I found the following article by Wladimir Palant. Perfect. The NewsFox code modified in under an hour and zero global variables! Also the code is still readable by humans! AMO should send out the article in addition to the link. NewsFox probably would never have been at AMO again without finding Palant's article.

Firefox 4 presumably changed how they did garbage collection on sandboxes created with Components.utils.Sandbox. Recently, at the request of the AMO editors, we changed from using eval to using evalInSandbox. Where we used this, the code typically would be called thousands of times, so that thousands of sandboxes would be created as the calls were not sequential. This worked fine in Firefox 3.6.x, but the sandboxes were not garbage collected in Firefox 4 causing memory faults. This version changes the code so that the functions using eval are themselves placed in sandboxes. This means there only needs to be one sandbox. It is a better way to code it.

Aside: NewsFox only uses eval to do the following: search for a dynamically generated string in a dynamically generated string. We do this by eval(string1.indexOf(string2) != -1). I don't believe there are any security issues with this, but it is not hard to use eval inside a sandbox.

R Pruitt (wa84it AT gmail.com)


Beta release: NewsFox 1.0.7b2

This beta release will become version 1.0.7 after bug fixes. Well, I ended up adding a bunch of bug fixes, so this describes changes from beta1. So see the release notes for 1.0.7b1 as well directly below.

The usual disclaimers apply: this is a beta release so use it with caution on a backup of your Newsfox folder. I am using this on my real NewsFox folder.

The new features (where to look for bugs to fix):

  • Relative link parser fixed (bug#23858) This is where bugs might get introduced, regular expressions....
  • New web filter type: web page. (bug#22832)
    Now your alternate filtered page can be the web page itself. Behaves like the previous in that you can change display style for an article without switching to that article. The state does not seem to be remembered on shutdown, is this a bug or feature?
  • Setting newsfox.advanced.fixMailto equal to true(the default) fixes a Firefox mailto: link bug. (mailto: links ignore target="_blank")
    Um, I thought this was basic html, how does this not work in Firefox. This is a problem if a web mailer is used to handle mailto: links as javascript is not allowed in the NewsFox article pane. I don't know the proper way to access mimeTypes.rdf in the profile folder to get at the mailto: link handing information so I just loaded the rdf as an xml file and found the information needed.
  • Minor
    • Status bar links are turned off unless newsfox.debug.showStatusText is set equal to true(default implied false). Now that hover links cover part of the screen, the ones generated by NewsFox are turned off. They will still appear when hovering over a link in the view pane. Prior to Firefox 4, there was no reason not to display some extra information about the article in the status bar, but now it creates problem if navigating the feed tree by keyboard as the link may cover the part of the tree being navigated.
    • Bad values for regular expression in newsfox.internal.statusBarLinksMatch are caught and disallowed.
    • <img> tags removed in article view popups. (bug#22832) Lots of other cruft could probably be excised as well.
    • CSS updated (bug#22269)
R Pruitt (wa84it AT gmail.com)


Beta release: NewsFox 1.0.7b1

This beta release will become version 1.0.7 after bug fixes. Basically, this version justs fixes properly the crashing behavior seen with 1.0.6.3 and Firefox 4, and also removes all the global variables from the NewsFox overlay so that NewsFox can be listed at addons.mozilla.org again.

The usual disclaimers apply: this is a beta release so use it with caution on a backup of your Newsfox folder. I am using this on my real NewsFox folder.

The new features (where to look for bugs to fix):

  • All global variables removed from the overlay portions of NewsFox.
    Firefox overlays need to be constrained so that they don't use the same names for variables. NewsFox once upon a time did have such a name collision with another extension. Then we followed the typical solution and renamed all our global variables to things that most likely wouldn't be used by other extensions. AMO recently decided (reasonably) that this is not good enough. AMO editors sent out this link to offending extension authors. I once spent at least 24 hours trying to fix NewsFox, but of course using this technique you basically have to rewrite your extension in an object oriented way, and coincidentally make your code very hard to read. It is also apparently not easy as the the author of the above link had problems with his minimal code. And of course it is not really a solution as you're just reducing your global variables to 1, but you still have to avoid collisions with that one variable. If this is the kind of solution envisaged, wouldn't is be easier to just assign variable names as with UUIDs?
    But when I was looking around trying to solve the eval problem discussed below, I found the following article. Perfect. The NewsFox code modified in under an hour and zero global variables! Also the code is still readable by humans! But this is where NewsFox needs to be tested, as putting all the overlay in a sandbox means that variables such as alert, gBrowser, getBrowser, navigator need to be preceded with window.. I don't know if I've found them all.
    I fail to understand why AMO is sending out the link instead of the article.
  • Changed from using evalInSandbox to using eval inside a sandbox.
    Firefox 4 presumably changed how they did garbage collection on sandboxes created with Components.utils.Sandbox. Recently, at the request of the AMO editors, we changed from using eval to using evalInSandbox. Where we used this, the code typically would be called thousands of times, so that thousands of sandboxes would be created as the calls were not sequential. This worked fine in Firefox 3.6.x, but the sandboxes were not garbage collected in Firefox 4 causing memory faults. This version changes the code so that the functions using eval are themselves placed in sandboxes. This means there only needs to be one sandbox. It is a better way to code it.
    Aside: NewsFox only uses eval to do the following: search for a dynamically generated string in a dynamically generated string. We do this by eval(string1.indexOf(string2) != -1). I don't believe there are any security issues with this, but it is not hard to use eval inside a sandbox.
  • Modified so username/password can again be entered on secure feeds if not stored (bug#21379)
R Pruitt (wa84it AT gmail.com)


Release: NewsFox 1.0.6.3.3

NewsFox 1.0.6.3.3 is released. Changes from 1.0.6.3:

  • Fixed FF4 crashing problem by going back to evaluating article search group membership with eval rather than evalInSandbox. It was never dangerous to use eval, but AMO complained without examining the situation. (bug#23791)
  • Minor
    • keeping up with changing Firefox target (bug#23821).
    • added ctrl-alt-s to select all articles from reading pane, but I don't know if it works since ctrl-alt-s is already bound in my system and doesn't reach Firefox. This may not be permanent.

I don't know how evalInSandbox is broken, but I'm sure it's my fault. Firefox 4 must interpret it differently so that NewsFox code was constructing lots and lots of sandboxes, but then I don't understand why they ever disappeared.

R Pruitt (wa84it AT gmail.com)


Beta release: Newsfox 1.0.6.3.2

NewsFox 1.0.6.3.2 is released. This is to try and stop the crashing behavior observed with Firefox 4.

  • A refinement of 1.0.6.3.1 which only turns off the search group number of unread.
  • Minor
    • keeping up with changing Firefox target (bug#23821).
    • added ctrl-alt-s to select all articles from reading pane, but I don't know if it works since ctrl-alt-s is already bound in my system and doesn't reach Firefox. This may not be permanent.

R Pruitt (wa84it AT gmail.com)


Beta release: Newsfox 1.0.6.3.1

NewsFox 1.0.6.3.1 is released. This is to try and stop the crashing behavior observed with Firefox 4.

I know nothing about crashes so may need help in fixing this problem. Right now, with my limited abilities, the problem lies with updating the number of unread articles in groups, so I just turned that off.

R Pruitt (wa84it AT gmail.com)


Minor release: NewsFox 1.0.6.3

NewsFox 1.0.6.3 is released. This is a minor release.

  • newsfox.advanced.fixyoutube1 equal to true (the default) will use a hack to display more inline videos. (bug#22380)
  • sv-SE locale added (thanks Lakrits).
  • Minor
    • Moved statusbar button to new addon bar for Firefox 4.
    • added workaround for some secure feeds (bug#21379).
    • added newsfox.advanced.linkifyXHTML so XHTML posts can remain unlinkified while html posts are linkified. (bug#22725).
    • changed parser for Wiley feeds. (bug#23426).

Many blogs have taken to displaying videos of the form http://www.youtube.com/embed/stuff in both their web pages and feeds. These links are inappropriate for feeds as they require javascript to display. If newsfox.advanced.youtube1 is equal to true(the default), code of the form

<iframe> src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/... </iframe>
will be replaced with
<embed> src="http://www.youtube.com/v/... </embed>
which will work within NewsFox. Of course, it may break other things.

R Pruitt (wa84it AT gmail.com)

For questions or comments about NewsFox, please check the forum.
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