Firefox/Feature Brainstorming:Preferences

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« Firefox/Feature Brainstorming

Use proxy/connection settings per tab

There are times when one would like to access different sites using different proxy settings from the same network. Having an option to change proxy/connection setting per tab as opposed to globally, would be very helpful. Perhaps having an option under Tools / Options / Network / Connection Settings which regulates if one would like global or per tab connection settings. If per tab setting is selected then every tab could be configured with different connection information and those settings would be persistent for as long as that particular tab is opened. Once closed, tab connection settings would be reset.

Enterprise-wide settings

  • Possibility to read settings (like start page, proxy etc.) from Active Directory (or any other similar system) if the computer is inside it and disable editing these settings
  • don't ask to save a password until we can tell if it was correct. (i.e. spawn a new thread for the question, don't stop the load)

List filtering

  • add filtering to the following lists (like the filtering for the Cookies list):
    • Allowed Sites - Popups
    • Black list sites (this sites won't be allowed to open popups)
    • Exceptions - Images
    • Exceptions - Cookies
    • Allowed Sites - Add-ons Installation
    • Don't Remember Passwords by full URL
    • Remember Passwords by full URL
    • Open External Links in (by application? by param?)

Site/page/element-specific preferences

Allow users to specify persistent preferences (trust level, rendering options, filtering, whatever) on a site/page basis. The web is not an uniform universe, using the same rules everywhere is broken by design.

  • Scope specification should use patterns (wildcards, regexpes, xpath expressions...), which can devolve in simple URLs/site names. Adblock Plus shows how the UI can suggest a default pattern the user can customize if he wishes
  • Site/page rules can include (but are not limitted to) :
  • ruleset sources could be local, imported from another user, or via subscipted lists/feeds (Adblock Plus)

Allow to select the update frequency of the anti-psiching list.


User controlled alternative style sheets

  • Allow the user to specify what style sheet shall be used for a page using a regular expression (regexp).

Shortcut Key Configuration

  • Creating customized shortcuts to preferred Firefox functions using unassigned keyboard combinations.
  • Creating shortcuts for sites/links/bookmarks
  • UI for displaying/searching/modifying existing key combinations, displaying what does every keyboard shortcut mean in every context (much like Opera does).

Sync Preference and Extensions settings

  • An option to have all your Firefox preferences and extension settings saved on a server of choice and such settings would be loaded on startup of Firefox. Something like Google Browser Sync but on an extensions level. An example of such extension settings would be to have the Adblock, NoScript or CookieSafe filter lists synched so that on any Firefox browser that you use, provided that you give the correct user details in a form of login, you will have the same settings.
  • Allow uploading of whatever file stores preferences, and allow automatic (at startup) download of those preferences/use of preference file. This would be especially handy for people who work on more than one computer, or who use the extremely useful Portable Firefox. --FlyingIsFun1217 14:29, 1 January 2007 (PST)

View Page Info Improvements

  • Improvements for the Links tab
    • Let the list be sorted by clicking on the table header (name, address, type)
    • Having selected some entries on the Links tab, add the command "open selected link(s) in new tab(s)" to the context menu.
    • Add a column to the list from what the link has its anchor. For example text or image. In addition it would be cool if you could see which links lead offsite (and which not) in an additional column so that you could also sort for it.
  • Improvements for the Media tab
    • Let the list be sorted by clicking on the headers of the list (Address, Type,...).
    • Having selected some of the items add the command "save media to ..."
    • Add a column "Type" that shows the "ending of the files for example "jpg, gif, png". Perhaps this could also use the content-type returned for the file.
    • Add a column "Size" that shows the size of the file, in human terms such as 1/3 Meg or some such, but will sort on # of bytes.
    • The list of media should be (optionally?) displayed as a list of thumbnails. Searching for a specific image in a list of cryptic URLs is tedious. Thumbnails would make that task easier, as well as providing a better visual representation of "what's on this page."
  • Add tab(s) for micro-formatted content, feeds, etc.

Use proxy in system preferences

Many OS X users use Quicksilver to change network locations, e.g. home and work. If Firefox detected the proxy set in network locations then the user would not have to manually change proxy settings in Firefox each time the network location is changed. Similary in Windows, it could detect the Internet Options proxy. This "Use System Proxy" setting could be a 4th choice in the connections settings dialog along side Direct, Auto-Detect and Manual.

  • System Proxy is an extension that enables Firefox to read proxy settings from the Mac OS X System Preferences and be aware of network location changes.

Using multiple proxies

Multiple proxy settings should be saved in profiles, so that when changing network (more and more common with roaming laptop users and wlan accesses) settings can be changed in a fast way Even easier: When the actual proxy is not available Firefox should automatically detect which other proxy is available.

  • bug 43429
  • FoxyProxy is a powerful and user-friendly proxy handler, but is missing transparent fallback
  • SwitchProxy is an older and simpler option adding a status bar menu to quickly switch between proxies.

Save As... PostScript, PDF, ODF, XPS

Early Netscape allowed the user to "save as" a web page as postscript, HTML, PDF, etc. These days, we seem to be only allowed to "save as" in HTML or text. This then means we have to use time-consuming external programs instead of it being a quick and easy drop-down selection. Please give us back our old "save as" options and also include a new ODF "save as" option.

  • Add "Save current" option (to save current DOM structure, including input fields with text).

Image placeholders

Allow image placeholders to appear before the image starts being displayed (available in IE).

Animated image freezer

Allow animated image freezer.

Session Restore Enable / Disable

Allow absolute disable of sessionstore with a single preference on/off checkbox . Eliminate any possibility of sessionstore dialog query interruption of unattended scheduled automated browser start-up.

Proxy passwords

Add option to save proxy password and not bug every time the browser is open.


Implement Media player in Browser, winamp, windows media player

Save your preferences

Add an option to save all your preferences in a file, such as size of cache, places where you don't want to save passwords, when you want to clean your download history, information about cookies, contents, tabs, ... also to copy your passwords to an encrypted file (for making easier changing from windows to linux, for example

Multiple welcome pages

Allow to specify multiple welcome pages. The user can choose to display each one in a different tab, or in case the first one isn't accessible, display the second one. This could be very helpful when you are using the same laptop from your company's intranet and from somewhere else.

  • Ability to set preferences to "beginning user" with basic browser features or advanced feature set for admins and web developers. Look at IE7 they just pile in "all" the features that confuses the "general / average" web browser user. Simple, Intermediate, Advance display mode for users. As a consultant, I can determine if the user has enough computer skills whether they need basic, intermediate, or advanced computing skills. K.I.S.S. (unless your a power user)

Clean up encryption preferences

Many of the preferences in Preferences -> Advanced -> Encryption are incomprehensible. The user interface for this section of preferences should probably be redesigned from scratch so that it follows normal user interface conventions, so that users can actually understand what these preferences do, and so that users don't accidentally break their browser.

Possibility to decide, whether to grab focus on startup or not

Configuration option in preferences to prevent the stealing of focus on startup. So it would be possible to let Firefox startup in the background without having to confirm that the browser is now usable. Suggestion to put this option in "Genereal" or "Advanced -> General". Let the user decide on this behavior and not the browser.

Better configuration of when to use new windows, new tabs or the same tab.

Example: Right now, it is not possible to configure Firefox, so that a click on a link in a web page always opens in the same tab, and a link in the Firefox' UI/chrome open in a new tab. If you decide to use "same tab" for webpages, IU links will only open in new windows.

Synchronization of application preferences and extension settings

I would like that Firefox 3, and possibly other Mozilla applications, to start offering a feature where the application settings and the respective extension settings be synchronized on a server.

People with multiple computers and multiple operating systems find it time consuming and challenging to keep the same settings for their Mozilla applications and the respective extensions in synch.

The idea is that a protocol be created for which any Mozilla application and any extension can use to upload all settings, preferences and filter lists to an account on some server of choice upon exit of application or upon request. The next time that the user starts a Mozilla application, provided that the necessary user details were previously inputted or prompted for, the application preferences and extension settings are loaded.

This feature is very similar and greatly inspired from what the Google Browser Sync extension offer but adapted on an extensions level. Knowning that certain other companies might want to start offering services of storing your application and extension settings it might be a good idea to have the possibility of choosing on which server the user would like to have the settings stored. Being a Mozilla feature it would make sense that Mozilla be the default server, but if say, comapny X would like to offer such storage space and services then the user can select appropriately.

I mentioned other Mozilla applications cause it would make sense for me that Mozilla would store all my preferences and extensions settings of all my Mozilla products, company X would in respect store all my preferences of all the products that I use from it. On the other hand a company might offer to store all the settings of any application that I want, provided that it supports the protocols used by my applications.

It is my belief that all applications would offer such services in the future since Internet has become quite a standard comodity and necessity for today's working world and the trend is that applications are moving to web-based applications giving a great responsability and importance to the web browser and other web applications. For such I believe that Mozilla would be the appropriate company to set an example for such a feature in the same way it did with the use of extensions and themes in its applications.

Are you in for the challenge?!

Import / Export User Preferences

A couple of people have demanded server synchronization. I'd like to see something more basic: export / import. A tool in the menu where you can select to export your differente preferences (general, security, RSS feeds, GUI layout, extensions with their own settings, etc), and another one to import them. This would be great when you have built a set of preferences and extensions that you like and you need to install them in other computers, just like when you occasionally go to a friend's home and want to show how cool and useful Firefox is or if you need to make a wide Firefox deployment. A good implementation would let you check what of those options listed you want to export / import (you may only transfer extensions but not connection settings).

Firefox Path Preferences

A feature to change the path Firefox uses for files. The main idea was to be able to change the path of Firefox cache. It may be useful for instance while you're defragmenting the drive(probably useful only for Windows users as I know Linux filesystems almost don't need to be defragmented but...) where firefox cache is stored so you can keep in using your cache quite intensively (i.e. downloading Linux ISOs, View streaming videos on sites such YouTube or dailymotion, and so on) without disturbing the defragmentation process. This is one reason why this feature may be interesting. If we give the possibility to modify other paths firefox uses we may gather them on a unique dialogue and the reasons why someone may wish to do this depends on their own imagination and needs.

Retyping (and remembering) the previous or original path may be sometimes boring and even difficult (especially for inexperienced users) an so a way to retrieve this data is also needed. For that I suggest several solutions that can be used together. First a "default" button managed by firefox. Second solution may be to keep that information and recall it like in the URL bar by typing in the edit zone or drop down the list. There is also a third solution where we can edit explicitly the path in a dialogue and then just having these paths in the droplist.

Last thing to consider : modifying path may have unwanted effects if done without care so one idea would be to hide this path modifying dialogue with something like about:paths or just add a warning message for inexperienced users.

Saving/Loading settings from folder-local files

Having Firefox installed in a place where you don't have the ability to save settings in the /documents and settings/ (or /users/ect...) folders, because the area has multiple computers. What that place DOES have is networked harddrives that are rationed 'per user. The ability to save your preferences and ect. to a file(s) relative to Firefox's directory would be wonderful. Eg. Your preferences, passwords, history and ect. would all be saved inside of Firefox's home directory. (C:\Program Fi...\Firefox\Mozilla Firefox 3\)

Allow automatic application of a saved password on a per page basis

When browsing intranet sites which are password intensive, the user may be inundated with "Authentication Required" dialogs for every page. It would be nice if the user had the option to force Mozilla to automatically apply a saved username and password.

Preferences UI

Open Preference as a new tab instead of a separate window.