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Mozilla 1.0 Not Ready for Prime Time -- Close but No Cigar and No Brass Ring!


Mozilla 1.0 Browser-Suite's E-Mail & News Quick Look

Mike Angelo -- 27 July 2002 (c) -- Page 4


Article Index

Overview of the Mozilla E-Mail and News Client

Bugs across the Mozilla Browser-Suite

Mozilla E-Mail and News Features

Mozilla E-Mail and News Desktop Layout

Oingo Address Book Bug Fiasco

Some Problem and Dangerous Mozilla Mail Default Settings

Customizability

Mozilla Skins (Themes)

Mozilla 1.0 E-Mail and News Is Immature and Not Ready for Prime Time!

Relationship of the Mozilla 1.0 and Netscape 7 E-Mail and News Client Software

Some Mozilla Problems

Standard of Review

The Mozilla 1.0 E-Mail and News Module Is Usable

Conclusion

Test Drive Mozilla 1.0

Resources

Poor Layout and Space Waste

Please compare the real-estate available for the side panels and the message-index and message-text panels across the Mozilla, Eudora, and KMail e-mail clients shown in Figures 1, 2, and 3 on Page 1. There, Mozilla's excessive and wasteful use of toolbar real-estate encroaches on, and reduces the, real-estate available for side-panel and message-panel content. In sharp contrast, both Eudora and KMail make much more efficient use of the toolbar real-estate, and thus provide ample room for side-panel and message-panel content.

Overall, both the Eudora and KMail desktop UIs are cleaner and crispier than the Mozilla Mail and News user interface. That is similar to what we found in our side-by-side comparisons of the Mozilla, Internet Explorer, and NetCaptor browser desktops in our review of the Mozilla 1.0 browser.

  • Mouse Hovering

While you are comparing the Mozilla E-Mail user interface to the Eudora and KMail UIs, check the mouse behaviors. In Figure 10, below, the mouse is hovering over the partially hidden redhat.general newsgroup folder name in the Mozilla News side panel.

The hovering mouse pointer in Figure 10 does nothing, nada, zilch. However, in Figure 2, on Page 1, please notice that while the mouse pointer hovers over the top folder name in the Eudora side panel, the hovering causes the full name of that folder to be displayed.

In order to see the full name of that redhat.general newsgroup folder in Figure 10 (the Mozilla desktop), you must expand the width of the side panel until it is wide enough for the entire folder name.

That's annoying! And it is yet another item that shows lack of polish in the Mozilla 1.0 software product.

Desktop Scaling Problems

Here's another Mozilla E-Mail and News desktop problem. The Mozilla E-Mail, Eudora, and KMail desktops shown in Figures 1, 2, and 3 had to be down-scaled substantially (resized) for this article's page layout. The desktops were scaled-down prior to snapping the screen shots.

Please notice the Mozilla E-Mail desktop in Figure 1 does not scale well. The vertical scrollbars for the message-index panel and the message-text panel got lost when the Mozilla Mail desktop was scaled down. The horizontal scrollbar for the message-index panel is completely lost and the horizontal scrollbar for the message-text panel is partially lost rendering it nearly useless.

In the Figure 6 desktop (596 x 384 pixels), on Page 2, you can see the full compliment of scrollbars that should be in the scaled-down Mozilla News desktop shown in Figure 1 (472 x 305 pixels) -- but are not in the scaled-down Mozilla News desktop.

In sharp contrast to the scaled-down Mozilla E-Mail desktop, all the scrollbars in both the scaled-down Eudora (475 x 306 pixels) and KMail (470 x 305 pixels) desktops are preserved and fully functional. There is no horizontal scrollbar for the message-text panels in these two scaled-down desktops -- because Eudora and KMail were able to correctly wrap the text in those text panels -- something Mozilla did not do. The very same e-mail message from Jenny about the HP optical mouse is displayed in Figures 1, 2, 3, and 6.

Figure 10. Mouse is hovering over the partially hidden redhat.general newsgroup folder name in the Mozilla News side panel. (Screen-shot from Mozilla 1.0 running in MS Windows 98 SE.)

Also, please notice Eudora and KMail are displaying that same message as text rather than as a Web page. Eudora stripped the HTML code and displayed the text as regular text. KMail displayed the source rather than render the HTML in order to avoid rendering that message as a Web page. Mozilla rendered that message as a Web page. Notice the in-line images to the left of the text in the message panel in Figure 1, the Mozilla Mail screen shot.

Displaying the message as text rather than a Web page is exactly what we wanted Eudora and KMail to do. It prevented any HTTP Requests from being sent to an external (over the Internet) Web server. Please see the Disabling JavaScript in E-Mail discussion on Page 2, if you already have not done so, for an explanation of why it is preferable to NOT allow Web pages to be displayed in e-mail.

The Oingo Address Book Bug Fiasco

An onerous Mozilla E-Mail and News annoyance bug is the oingo Address Book bug. When you open the Mail/News Address Book for the first time, Mozilla, without you so requesting Mozilla to do so, downloads and displays the oingo.com page shown in Figure 11, below. This bug makes opening the Mozilla Address Book a very annoying pain in the butt. There is no excuse for having such a bug in a 1.0 release!

To reproduce the oingo.com Address Book bug, select the Window drop down menu on the Mozilla desktop Menu bar. Then please click Address Book in that dropdown menu. If the bug is present in your copy of Mozilla 1.0, the oingo.com page shown in Figure 11 will appear in the Web-page display panel of your Mozilla browser. We have observed this bug in both the Linux and MS Windows versions of Mozilla 1.0.

It's likely the oingo.com bug also sends the standard HTTP Request info about your IP identification, browser, OS, and so forth to oingo.com -- and of course it is giving oingo.com lots of hits, which it does not deserve.

There is a very similar oingo.com bug in the Mozilla 1.0 browser. That bug is set into motion by opening the History Tab on the Mozilla Sidebar. The Mozilla Address Book oingo.com bug appears to be a derivative of the History Tab oingo.com bug.

Apparently, the first time that you open the Mozilla Address Book a Mozilla browser desktop also is opened with the History Tab opened in that browser desktop. It seems that triggers the oingo.com HTTP Request.

This oingo.com Address Book bug is not always repeatable for us. Likely that is because we change the selected Sidebar Tab from History to Bookmarks the first time it happens and/or close the Mozilla Sidebar for the Address Book desktop, which then keeps it from happening again. For more information about this oingo.com Address Book bug you can check Bugzilla Bug 144639 -- Opening addressbook pops up browser window and hangs Mozilla -- link in Resources section at the end of this article.

In any event, Mozilla 1.0 should never have been released with the oingo.com bug(s). It is a very obvious and very annoying bug(s). Releasing Mozilla 1.0 with the oingo.com bug(s) is just another example of the poor Mozilla quality control and poor Mozilla Project management. Moreover, releasing Mozilla 1.0 with the oingo.com bug(s) is just another reason that we conclude that Mozilla was released prematurely, lacks 1.0 polish, and was not ready for prime time.

Was the oingo.com bug just another Mozilla unintentional blunder -- or was, perhaps, a Mozilla/Net scape developer(s) trying to get lots of hits for oingo.com? Could some Mozilla developer(s) or Mozilla fanatic(s) have done that to give an artificially strong, positive skew to Mozilla User Agent reports in the oingo.com Web server logs. The oingo bugs certainly would make it appear in an oingo server-log analysis that Mozilla is used more than it actually is used, would it not?

There are lots more Mozilla 1.0 Sidebar, Bookmark, and other bugs, annoyances and issues too. For example, in our Mozilla bugs, annoyances, and issues article we pointed out that when using Mozilla e-mail, you must download some mail in certain circumstances before Mozilla can send your mail. If you do not do that, Mozilla tells you that you have specified an illegal address for a recipient of your message.

There are two annoyances with that. Perhaps the most important is that Mozilla does not tell you the truth about why it is not sending your mail. If you do not know about this bug, you could spend lots of time trying to figure out what is wrong with the email address(es) of the specified recipient(s). You might never stumble on to the real reason your e-mail is not being sent.

Second, you ought to be able to send e-mail without having to first download e-mail.

Figure 11. Anatomy of the Address Book migration of the oingo.com bug. By default, the Address Book opens with the History Tab selected in the Mozilla Sidebar -- above left. This permits the history tab oingo bug to open the oingo.com Web page in the Mozilla browser -- above right.

Some Problem and Dangerous Mozilla Mail Default Settings

Some POP3 e-mail protocol users delete messages from the e-mail server after they download them to their local computer. However, some prefer to leave their mail on the e-mail servers after they have downloaded the messages to their local computers. This is controlled by a setting option in the local e-mail client.

In Mozilla Mail, the option regarding leaving e-mail on the e-mail server is found at Edit > Mail & Newsgroups Account Settings > (Acct name) > Server Settings > Server Settings > Leave messages on server. The Mozilla 1.0 default for this setting is to NOT leave messages on the server -- in other words delete the downloaded messages from the e-mail server.

A main reason for deleting messages from the e-mail server once they are downloaded to your local computer is to conserve hard drive space on the mail server. Unless you have some reason for leaving downloaded messages on the e-mail server, you ought to delete messages from the mail server after you download them to your local computer.

Nevertheless, that should not be the default setting. Either the Mozilla E-Mail Account Wizard should ask you how to set that parameter or the default should be to leave the mail on the e-mail server.

The rationale here is simple. Once mail has been deleted from the e-mail server, only an e-mail-server administrator can restore it -- provided the deleted mail has been backed-up. That often makes it difficult, if not impossible, to restore deleted e-mail on an e-mail server.

A note of caution: if you decide to try Mozilla E-mail and News, you ought to check theses settings for EACH account you create in the Mozilla E-Mail and News module to make sure each setting is the way you want it. The settings discussed in this section are not options presented during the Account Wizard dialogs!

Thus, the safe default is to leave the mail on the server! You always can delete stuff later. The best way to handle this option, however, is to have it a choice during execution of the account setup wizard.

There are three other questionable Mozilla E-Mail and News default Account and Server settings:

  • check for mail at startup is default
  • check mail every 10 minutes is default
  • compose messages in html format is default

Either these e-mail and news settings ought to be turned off by default or defined by choices presented during execution of the account setup wizard. A choice during execution of the account setup wizard is the best way to accommodate people on both sides of the preferable settings issues.


Related Articles

Article Index

Overview of the Mozilla E-Mail and News Client

Bugs across the Mozilla Browser-Suite

Mozilla E-Mail and News Features

Mozilla E-Mail and News Desktop Layout

Oingo Address Book Bug Fiasco

Some Problem and Dangerous Mozilla Mail Default Settings

Customizability

Mozilla Skins (Themes)

Mozilla 1.0 E-Mail and News Is Immature and Not Ready for Prime Time!

Relationship of the Mozilla 1.0 and Netscape 7 E-Mail and News Client Software

Some Mozilla Problems

Standard of Review

The Mozilla 1.0 E-Mail and News Module Is Usable

Conclusion

Test Drive Mozilla 1.0

Resources


Turmoil in MozillaLand: Current Status of Mozilla 1.0, 1.0.1, and 1.1-Alpha

Mozilla 1.0 Browser Unofficial Sneak Release -- Mozilla 1.0 is unofficially out!


Year 2001 in Review -- Mozilla and Netscape Browsers

Is Mozilla Actually AOL-Netscape's Mozilla?

Netscape 7.0-PR1 Browser-Suite Released


MozillaQuest the Series: Building Your Own Mozilla-Based Web Browser


Mozilla's ChatZilla -- The Lizard Speaks: Real Internet Chatting & Communication


Part II: The Many Faces of Mozilla -- A Preview Look at the Mozilla Application Programming Framework


Copyright 2000-2002 -- MozillaQuest -- Brodheadsville, Pa..USA -- All Rights Reserved


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