Planning the Future of Complete Themes

(Ashneo76) #16

Unfortunately the decision to phase of XUL was made in a similar manner, suddenly. So, saying that the decision has already been made, is a half baked excuse. Complete theming is one of the key features of Firefox and theme combinations like vimperator and FT Deepdark are one of the main the reasons of using Firefox. Yes, you need to move forward, but the reasons provided for removing themes are unsatisfactory. Alienating the userbase worked out quite well in the past for Nokia. (It didnt) And if Firefox is to stay and you really want feedback, then where was the polling to see whether you should go with the process. Firefox tries to market itself to be open but it sure doesn’t feel like it. It just feels like another chrome follower now.


As long as Classic Theme Restorer and FT DeepDark still work, I’ll be happy regardless of the technology underneath that makes them work. So extend the capabilities of “lightweight” themes to whatever extent is needed to make that happen. I do not want a browser that looks like Chrome, I want the Classic Firefox look plus a dark theme like FT DeepDark for reading fics on AO3 (I use AO3’s Reversi dark theme and having the browser chrome dark as well makes for a much more pleasant experience).

(Ourphthemingol) #18

Most of you just don’t get it do you? 100% of current complete themes will die period end of sentence.
And then any extensions using XUL will die end of sentence.

I notice Mozilla has managed to bury this “discussion” in the boonies where real themers are very few on the ground.
You know where they hang out why no “Reaching out” there?

(Nimish Jha) #19

100% of current complete themes will die period end of sentence.

Well, yes, removing XUL support will break every single extension that uses XUL. But popular addons will be ported to the new API, which will be a lot of work, but after that it will be much easier to maintain addons/themes.

XUL is clearly unsustainable and needs to go if Firefox is to survive. That’s a given. The only thing that needs to be discussed is what features to support in the API and how to best implement them.

Mozilla are trying to do the right thing, let’s not crucify them for it.

(Ourphthemingol) #20

Sorry Mozilla have a long long history of not “doing the right thing” this is just another example of spin doctoring. Six to twelve months down the track we will still have zero theming ability and almost zero extensions. I will wait for the not enough man hour excuse and the limited resources excuse plus the old the developer has moved on chestnut.

(BTreeHugger) #21

Just saying ridiculous stuff doesn’t make you right, you know. You and the people on that MozillaZine thread seem to have a terrible persecution complex, and want very badly to vilify Mozilla for not going along with your demands that they just magically keep things the same, while improving them. In real life that doesn’t work. Maybe working with the actual browser developers here or on IRC would be more productive than moaning about it on an end-user forum? And you guys wonder why you’re “being ignored”…

(Saturanus) #22

I would say Mozilla should also not forget us power users. Some years earlier we had a well going Mozilla fangroup in our town of around 50 users. After Australis and the more and more upcoming feature removals it dropped to around 28 users still using Firefox.

And as it seems this upcoming changes will make some more 6 members jump away, including me most likely. What is left then? Obviously the user group Mozilla seem to see today as their core user base - Non tech users! Many of those who left have supported Mozilla with monthly donations for quite a long time btw. I know those numbers are ridiculous compared with the whole user number of Firefox, but power users are still a high number of users and losing them would hurt Firefox and Mozilla’s reputation a lot!

What i want to say… Non Tech users get their features now into the core or bundled as system add-on - Why is that not possible with power user features like advanced UI customization, having a status bar or the option to combine urlbar elements with other elements like in Firefox 22 url field, buttons and tab bar? Why we have to get these back on our own somehow while the non techies do not have to worry and get features which need more maintenance time compared with features mentioned earlier ? It would be nice if Mozilla would remember that we tech users have been loyal all those years to a large degree. And we have been the ones who brought other users towards Firefox, we have constantly advertised and evangelized Firefox to almost everyone, we have been a large part that Firefox has become that big around version 22 - that is no arrogance, that is a fact :wink:

Would it be that bad to get a bit of respect back and keep those features or port them almost 1:1 if possible?

Brand loyalty is a powerful thing, but what Mozilla has done recently have weakened this value by a lot in my opinion. Do not forget Mozilla, there are some new awesome power user browsers out there. Sure, you could get along without us, like Opera without their advanced users, but don’t you think you should do a little bit to keep us on board too?

Just for your information, still using Firefox 22 at home as this was the last version which supported both, design for non tech and design for tech users! I would update in an instant if you treat power users and non tech users as equals again. Will use Firefox 22 as long as possible in the hope that you still decide to offer again the same power user dedicated feature set in the future instead of what you are planning right now. Otherwise, when Firefox 22 totally gets unusable i make a switch to Otter-Browser as it seems.

(Saturanus) #23

Mozilla has done a lot to alienate power users in recent years. I understand, it is important to try to gain new user groups to survive, but that does not necessary mean that power user features have to go.

Both, simple and comples features can co-exist side by side. It was possible around Firefox 22 and before, and suddenly it should not?

Mozillazine guys are dedicated guys who always stood with Firefox in all those years, it pains them like every other power user to see that Mozilla is putting more dedication towards non tech users today than into the so called Geek group!


It’s difficult to offer useful suggestions about something as vague as HTML with some native bits. That sort of change doesn’t just affect Theme-makers either, it affects userChrome.css and Stylish users too - so many problems users have with Firefox can be solved by adjusting the interface with CSS, it would be a terrible blow to lose that.

Is the plan to use the API to build the Default and DevEdition themes?

(BTreeHugger) #25

My advice to Mozilla is what “optional” hints at. It’d probably be more productive to start by coming up with a hypothetical API based on your default and dev-edition themes, as well an outreach program to current theme implementors (presumably something based on browser.html or a transitional tech toward that goal). It seems that without some more concrete ideas, you’re just going to hear from self-styled “power users” who don’t even want to believe that you want to keep a full-themeing API at all.

(Ourphthemingol) #26

Mozilla don’t want to maintain complete themes how hard is that to understand? Many ordinary people like complete themes and installed them by the millions . To my knowledge they are not in anyway “power users” . Doing the fanboy thing does not help your cause

(BTreeHugger) #27

Did you even read this post, or are you just so jaded that you want to waste everyone’s time by hijacking this thread for the latest episode of “disgruntled user throws a fit?” Some of us genuinely want to see the situation with themes in Firefox improve, and you’re not doing anything productive here. If all of Mozilla just wanted to rip out full themes entirely, they wouldn’t even bother with posts like this. And besides, if it does turn out that they’re lying, we’ll find out soon enough. We don’t need your help to see something so obvious.

(Saturanus) #28

You do know, Mozilla could recreate the old experience (Firefox 20-22) which offered incredible functionality in the core and offered both advanced and not so advanced users the best of both worlds.

Just take a look at Vivaldi’s Non native UI - With JSS and Javascript it would be without trouble possible to recreate all the features Mozilla has deleted, and even theming would be similar possible like it is right now. Statusbar - no problem, All UI elements movable - also not a problem, double row tabs - also only a matter of code - You see, the options are almost without limits.

The only reason that someone is starting to talk about API is if it is only partially planned to recreate the feature set which is going to be removed. When Mozilla switches over to a more native UI if i compare it with the XUL system right now, much more features are vanishing… Userchrome.css anyone?

A negative example was Opera new - Switching over to Chromium with it’s native UI (btw. here are much similarities between what Opera did and what Mozilla plans) forced Opera to give up all advanced features and the API’s they have been creating afterwards which have been introduced to offer some kind of “feature replacements” are rather limited and similiar to Australis and beyond, the advanced users would be put in responsibility to bring features back… again!

Anyway, the point is that: it would clearly be possible with the help of certain technologies to bring back a browsing experience which works for both, tech users and non tech users, but the thing is, Mozilla is not interested at all in doing that anymore.

And yes, i understand the need to make Firefox more attractive for non tech users, as they are the majority of users. But on the other side, why not hidingall advanced features behind some switches which can be activated and deactivated… a so called expert mode? About:config is a good enough solution to keep non tech users away from advanced functionality!

(BTreeHugger) #29

You’re missing what the trouble is. These things are clearly possible, but Vivaldi don’t have to worry about making the full browser, just the UI. Clearly Mozilla hasn’t been able to manage all of the stuff that’s on their plate, and so they want to remove or replace features that are slowing them down. Some people might want to believe that it can’t be possible for a company to ever have limited resources, or that they can just wave a magic wand and hire more people or something, but why would they not have done so already if that was the case?

I can understand why it seems that way to some people, but if that was really true they would simply have ripped out everything for power users long ago, and wouldn’t bother with such posts anymore. Besides, as with ourphthemingol, what are you exactly adding to this conversation by repeating things over and over that we already know? We KNOW that Mozilla can do this sort of thing, but they’re reaching out for concrete ideas on how to get there. Clearly they’ve reached out prematurely, since we’re unable to offer anything of real technical value on this Discourse thread.

(Saturanus) #30

Not true at all. They still CAN support all those features if they would want.

But they do not want. Mozilla implements instead Pocket, Chat, DRM support, social sharing, EME - those features are much more time consuming to maintain as compared with stuff like the status/add-on bar or UI customization.

Seen from your point of view as a simple user, this is a heaven sent that you are getting now exactly that what you want or need. But the downside is for this our features have to go. That is not fair at all. Mozilla has betrayed power users, for the likes of you!

(Amigalover) #31

No, Mozilla could still be able to support both functions. They just changed functionality of so called geek features against Pocket, DRM integration, EME integration, Chat and sharing features.

Those features are much more difficult and time consuming to maintain. It just was a replacement of features, and that it truly disappointing to see that Mozilla acts like that.

(BTreeHugger) #32

@Amigalover and saturanus, frankly I don’t care what you believe Mozilla can or can’t do. Either they’re being honest and want to fix this feature (whether you like the solution or not), or they clearly don’t have the resources to do it and want to remove it (there’s no other sensible reason for them to do this otherwise, unless you feel they just LOVE negative PR).

But more importantly: please take stock of your situation in the space-time continuum already, guys. This thread is supposed to be about helping Mozilla figure out a better approach to themeing compared to what we have now. It’s not about your egos and what you think constitutes a “geek” or “power user”. It’s not about your gripes with Mozilla or what features you feel they should focus on. It’s about THIS feature’s future, and not every single thread on the Internet has to be turned into this kind of circus.

(Saturanus) #33

Seriously, your blatant dislike for features and advanced users is really scary. This is not about ego - this is about being unfair towards the origin of Mozilla Firefox userbase.

Beause of simple users like you we are facing that dire times. That much progress would not have been possible during the C64 age, Amiga or Atari days if users like you would have been so stubborn and expect that everything which goes beyond the feature range what YOU are using has to be removed!

How about a little bit respect and fairness? We are all properly mannered adults, aren’t we? Btw. i think i have seen you also spitting hate against features and power users on Reddit countless of times… Dr.Dichoitomous or something like that!

If someone has a big ego it is you. You expect that as your birthright that your features are getting supported and ours have to go missing in the process. I am so terribly disappointed that guys like you are so resistant in learning how technology works. If you would understand you would realize why we care about our features!

(Tony Mechelynck) #34

Please, guys. I agree with most of the people here that complete themes and full-fledged extensions are part of what made Firefox attractive, and even great, but flame wars aren’t going to make MoCo change anything to what was apparently decided some time ago. Let’s try to see how we can save at least part of that greatness, and maybe even convince them not to throw it all down the drain if we can, rather than tear each other’s hair in a quarrel that’s going nowhere.

(BTreeHugger) #35

Indeed, that’s basically what I was trying to argue. I’ve had enough of trying to talk some sense into these guys. They clearly don’t understand that I just want them to leave one bloody place for devs to have a serious chat about how to improve Firefox themes. Since they feel compelled to clog this post up with yet more compulsive preaching to the choir, so be it. I apologize for my part in this.