firefox 3 and enclosures (recap)

Note: This is an old post in a blog with a lot of posts. The world has changed, technologies have changed, and I've changed. It's likely this is out of date and not representative. Let me know if you think this is something that needs updating.

Back in December and January, I worked on some patches for Firefox 3 that enhanced the feed preview page. I wrote a post about it back then, but I'm updating that post with recent screenshots and a better description of the work. The previous post was mostly about how great FOSS is.

The patches fell into two big features. First, I added enclosure detection to the FeedProcessor and then modified FeedWriter to show enclosures alongside the entries. This has two huge benefits: it allows you to easily tell if the feed has enclosures and it allows you to see what they are, how big, what type of media, ...

Second, I modified Firefox so that it allows you to associate video podcasts with an application, audio podcasts with another application, and all other kinds of feeds with a third application. The benefit here is that you can send media podcasts to an application that handles that well (cough*Miro*cough) and regular news feeds to a different application that handles that well.

Screenshot of Firefox 2 feed preview page:


Firefox 2 feed preview page

Screenshot of Firefox 3 feed preview page:


Firefox 3b5 feed preview page

Of the two features, I hear the most comments about the first one mostly along the lines of, "I'm so glad I don't have to view source to see the enclosures anymore!" The second feature isn't as immediately exciting. The implementation of distinguishing feeds is intentionally simple and there are a lot of corner cases where it doesn't work very well. Also, there aren't many applications that can really take advantage of it. I expect this second feature to flourish as Firefox development continues and video/audio podcasting evolves.

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