Mozilla Firefox : Why businesses and users should adopt it for better ...

31 May, 2010 | | 8 comments |

Share |
I’m a proven big-time fan of Mozilla Firefox and in this post I’d like to enlighten you about the same. So starting this post with a couple of things which I’d like to accomplish and what’s already accomplished in your minds :

Mozilla Firefox

Firstly, something about me :

I’m an IT enthusiast with more than 15 years of desktop experience at home. I do not convince people or prove things to them with statistics, pie-diagrams, charts, POC (proof-of-concept), etc which can literally be made understood with a simple blog post !

What I would like to prove with Firefox :

  • It’s ready and meant for businesses. Can be deployed on a Corporate Network without any concerns.
  • With speed and ease comes productivity and hence acceptance.
  • Browser is not just about surfing across web-pages in this generation but beyond everybody!
  • The per-user settings can be replicated onto another location or platform (i.e. OS).
  • Requires the same amount of RAM as all of the prominent browsers today (I won't take names) varying across threaded and non-threaded applications.

The fallacies about Firefox :

  • It’s not business ready. Cannot be deployed on a Corporate Network.
  • It’s moreover a fancy browser and not meant for productive business.
  • Requires a lot of RAM.
  • We’ve seen it running only on Windows.

What do you gain personally if you use Firefox :

  • The best possible web experience with the best possible speed.
  • With the above, follows productivity and hence profit.
  • Experience the innovation, flexibility and ease brought about by AddOns/Personas/Plugins developed on the most widely accepted platform.
  • Searching your required data was never difficult with integrated Search Box with auto-suggestion.

So start your voyage my readers …

Starting with Corporate Networks, it’s moreover Internet Explorer because of the ease of deployment/availability (inherent with the OS), file/registry/profile virtualization across the organization and ease in update/hotfixes being pushed through your LAN by your IT Administrator. Add to it, a majority of service driven companies are supporting legacy applications of their clients on Internet Explorer 6 and they obviously cannot let these projects go. Now this makes them handicapped to look for other options. My take on this ..

  • Regarding deployment, Firefox’s binary size is 8 MB (50% less than any prominent browsers existing now) and IT Administrators can pre-bundle it in their system-images/ghost-images.
  • Regarding updates, it’s a one-way solution. Firefox doesn’t support push-updates across the network but supports direct updates via Internet from Firefox dedicated servers.
  • If you feel you still cannot do without Internet Explorer browser on Windows platform then relax, I’ve got a solution for this in the form of AddOn. How about emulating IE’s page rendering in Firefox. (Read below regarding the same)

Features of Mozilla Firefox :

  •  Fastest rendering of pages with a high-performance and optimized JavaScript engine. Smart tabs, design and options.

    >>> The only way you can convince yourself is by tasting it !

  •  Inherent support for Add-Ons, plug-ins, download manager, bookmark organization, etc.

    >>> There are myriad of AddOns for all types of users. Check out the complete library Here. I'll put light on some must-have AddOns :

Mozilla Firefox AddOns

For developers/designers Here

For Yahoo/Gmail/MSN/POP3 E-Mail users Here

For Facebook users Here

For Twitter users Here

To run macros or automate your work Here

And the most-awaited one :

For die-hard IE users, running IE on Firefox Here

Running Internet Explorer in Firefox

  •  Inherent support for Google/Yahoo/Wikipedia search with auto suggestion and query caching.  

    >>> Press Ctrl+E, type your search query and hit ENTER. For a subjective search on Wikipedia/Answers/Amazon/eBay, select the search provider right from the search box and hit ENTER.

  •  Best possible rendering of HTML and xHTML. All standards compliant (including HTML5 and CSS3).

    >>> I do a bit of Web development & designing and you can take my word on this.

  •  Available and runs flawlessly on all platforms (including Windows, Macintosh, Linux) since it's written in Python and Ruby.

    >>> Deploy per-user Bookmarks (also portable) on any PC in the organization with the advent of file/registry virtualization.

  •  Smallest size of the Binary – 8MB.  

    >>> 50% less than any prominent browsers existing now.

  •  Themes, known as Personas in Firefox hits your eyes well and thus making a lavish surfing experience.  

    >>> Myriad of Personas are available (Firefox 3.6 onwards). Check the entire library Here.

  •  Shortcut keys on Firefox make life easier to the maximum possible extent.

    >>> Move over Ctrl+T (Open new Tab) and Ctrl+W (Close the current tab), there are many more. Ctrl + Shift + T – Open a recently closed Tab. Ctrl + U – To view the source code of the current page. And so on ...

  •  All major parameters in Firefox are ' tweakable ' via its Advanced Settings (by default hidden).  

>>> Type ' about:config ' in the address bar and hit ENTER. Check out all the parameters.

Toggle open your search results in a new tab.

Toggle browser.tabs.closeWindowsWithLastTabTo keep Firefox running even when the last tab is closed.

Toggle browser.tabs.warnoncloseTo make Firefox avoid asking for a confirmation when it is closed with many tabs running.

Toggle plugins.hide_infobar_for_missing_pluginsTo avoid getting the irritating drop-down pop-up asking for a new plugin installation.

Type chrome://browser/content/hiddenWindow.xul in the address bar and hit ENTER  – To get an entire Firefox browser running under a tab.

Now having said about the ease-of-use and features which Firefox has, it obviously makes sense for all users and businesses to use Mozilla Firefox and leverage its power.

Try Mozilla Firefox now :

Download Mozilla Firefox

Windows 7 development overview @ MUG

12 May, 2010 | | 5 comments |

Share |
Speaker : Sanjay Vyas
Session organized by
: Mumbai User Group
Special Thanks
: Dhaval Faria

Windows 7 has released (for folks who don’t know) since more than 6 months and has already tipped past 100 million copies in sale. So the proclivity for Windows application developers would be to flood the market with Apps. to make their mark now. Also, with improvements in Aero, Muti-point support, security, UI, better taskbar (now called super-bar), etc it gives you more reasons to develop on Windows 7 platform. Even if you’re a developer who has started with Windows Forms Application development on .Net or someone who has been developing since long then focusing on Apps. leveraging the API’s and features of Windows 7 should be on your priority list. And believe me, the results will shoot past your expectations.

Well, now getting straight to the point – Windows 7 SDK was there and now there’s Windows API Code Pack for developing on Windows 7. So what’s the difference ... ? Read on …

Windows 7 SDK

  • Offers documentation, libraries, header files, tools to develop Windows Applications using Win32 and managed technologies (i.e. .Net Framework).
  • Online articles suggest the version 7.0 is meant to run on Visual Studio 2008. Windows 7.1 SDK (to be shortly released) will support .Net Framework 4.0 and Visual Studio 2010.
  • Meant for native Win32 development and hence supports only VC++.
  • Apps. developed on it runs only in Windows 7 but the Apps. can be developed on Win XP/Vista.

For download, requirements and instructions : Here

Windows API Code Pack (I’ll be focusing more here)

  • Provides a source code library to develop Apps. running on Windows 7 leveraging a majority of features on Windows 7.
  • Supports C# and VB.Net for writing the code.
  • Works well with both VS 2008 and VS 2010.
  • Is open-source
  • More revisions underway as more features are being added.

The features supported in the Windows API Code Pack :

  • Taskbar animation support
  • Jump Lists, Icon Overlay, Progress Bar, Tabbed Thumbnails, and Thumbnail Toolbars
  • Windows Shell and libraries
  • Muti-touch API
  • Other Windows 7 enhancements :
  • Services & task scheduling
  • Version checking
  • Install detection
  • User interface privilege isolation
  • Session 0 isolation
  • Windows Instrumentation

Requirements for Windows API Code Pack :

  • Windows 7 RTM (some features work on Vista as well)
  • .Net Framework 3.5 SP1 or above
  • Visual Studio 2008/2010
  • Windows 7 SDK (if the Windows Ribbon is used)

For more features, download, instructions, videos, examples, blogs : Here

Forums for Windows API Code Pack : Here

Windows Ribbon

Previously known as Windows scenic Ribbon, Windows Ribbon for WinForms is a .NET wrapper for Windows 7 Ribbon control – inherently supported in Windows 7 API. It will allow WinForms developers to use Microsoft Windows 7 Ribbon control in their WinForms applications.

The Windows Ribbon holds some minute details as follows :
  • Developed by Microsoft and imitates Office 2007 Ribbon.
  • Not a part of Windows API Codepack but is a wrapper built on top of it.
  • Uses XAML as the mark-up language as the presentation layer for the Ribbon.
  • Supports three versions - MFC Application (using VC++), WPF application (C# & VB.Net) and Win Forms (C# & VB.Net).
  • Is open-source.

For feature additions, issue-trackers, source-code, forums, sample examples and downloads : Here

Note : You also need Windows 7 SDK for compilation of the project source-code offered over the above link.

For a complete how-to guide on Windows Ribbon : Here

Well if you’ve noticed, the developers of Windows API Code Pack have offered the entire project source-code for download. But things can be made pretty much simple by just compiling these projects and referring their resulting DLLs when developing your Applications instead of keeping the Windows API Code Pack project source-code in our project.

You can download this DLL pack Here.

Now the same with Windows Ribbon is difficult but their developers have come out with a difficult compromise here.

So what are you waiting for .. ? Follow the below mentioned three steps for developing your App. leveraging the features of Windows 7 :

1. Add the above offered DLL pack ‘ As a reference ’ in your Windows Forms Application project.

2. Refer the examples here to learn the code specific to the feature you want to use.

3. Add the requisite namespace and use the code.