Flagfox 5.0b1 released

Flagfox 5.0 beta 1 is now available for testing. You can download it from the Flagfox versions page on Mozilla Addons. The current schedule is for a final release sometime around the second week of February. Translation is still in progress, so some locales are not yet available with this new version. Major new features in 5.0 include:

  • Flagfox 5.0 is now an extractionless and restartless addon! New Flagfox installs and future updates no longer need a Firefox restart.
  • Whole new set of bigger, better looking, more recognizable, and more accurate flag icons! (more info and screenshots)
  • Lots of country entry updates and additions
  • Some new and updated default actions
  • A few startup and performance improvements
  • Minimum supported Firefox version is now 17.0 ESR (though, 24.0 ESR or higher is recommended; Firefox development versions are also supported)


The full Flagfox 5.0b1 changelog (includes alphas changelog):

  • Converted Flagfox to a restartless installation/update addon
    -> New Flagfox installs and future updates no longer need a Firefox restart
  • Converted Flagfox to an extractionless installation/update addon (with no internal JAR)
    -> This should also fix a certain bug stemming from Firefox profile corruption
  • Usage of input streams has been replaced with JavaScript typed arrays & DataView
    -> This is needed for both extractionless and restartless support, and should be faster
    -> Memory reported for Flagfox in about:memory should actually be somewhat accurate now
  • Replaced all usage of old resource:// URIs
  • Replaced old flag icons with a new custom built set of larger, more detailed
    and accurate flag icons based on public domain Wikimedia Commons flag images
    -> New set comes with many flag updates and will be easier to update regularly
    -> Flag icons will now all show using their proper aspect ratios and accurate colors
    -> The icon set is under a Creative Commons permissive license (see license text file)
  • Added and updated quite a few country entries (including flags & localized names)
  • Added new “formfield:” action pseudo-protocol to allow for some actions without URL APIs
  • Fixed action parameter parsing to properly handle meta tags with dashes in their names
  • Replaced old server status checking action with a new more informative one
  • Added new Virus Scan (VirusTotal), Netcraft, Bit.ly, and is.gd URL actions
  • Updated a few more actions to use HTTPS (Virus Scan, WOT, Xmarks, Bit.ly, and Tiny URL)
  • Added support for ctrl/shift modifiers on action menu item click
    -> ctrl+click opens in background tab/window, shift+click opens in new window
  • Removed last usage of Addon Manager JSM APIs (bootstrap.js:startup() is sufficient now)
  • Improved default actions list update checking and merging code
  • Improved default actions list to asynchronously load from a file, rather than a pref
  • Added ability for IPDB files to each load on-demand rather than on startup
    -> Flagfox startup is now simpler and quicker; database files don’t load unless needed
  • Improved IPv6 address parsing code a little bit
  • Optimized IPDB lookups a little bit
  • Started using Services.jsm & XPCOMUtils.jsm everywhere applicable
  • Rewrote the about dialog to be more maintainable (translators are now in a scroll box)
  • Rewrote the preview icons dialog to show new icons and added ability to sort them there
  • Added a few new minor keyboard shortcuts to the options dialog
  • Added drop shadow for button icon hover in options dialog to better indicate clickability
  • Added new default icon for actions that can’t load favicon (and in options when disabled)
  • Changed icon to hide at built-in home and new tab pages (no icon if no address shown)
  • Fixed detection of offline mode to update the icon immediately
  • Fixed a bunch of minor warnings for the AMO addon validator
  • Switched to using ES5 strict mode and fixed a few strict mode issues
  • Cleaned up a few bits of code here and there
  • Converted Flagfox preference naming from “flagfox.*” to “extensions.flagfox.*” names
  • Removed some obsolete strings and an obsolete country entry
  • Removed quirks/hacks needed to support old versions of Firefox and SeaMonkey
  • Replaced usage of some deprecated interfaces with newer APIs where needed
  • Dropped support for all Gecko 16.0 and older browsers (15.0+ and 17.0+ features used)
    -> This Flagfox version supports Firefox 17.0+ (old ESR) and SeaMonkey 2.14+
    -> Recommended minimum version is Firefox 24 ESR or latest stable Firefox or SeaMonkey

This is a development prerelease for testing purposes and may have some bugs. If you instead would like to use the current stable version, Flagfox 4.2.17, you can download that here.

If you have any feedback, comments, or questions about this beta version or find a bug in your testing, please comment on this post below, post in the Flagfox support forum, email me directly, or even message me on Twitter. Please make sure you are using the latest beta version and please note that version number in the title/beginning of your message.

Preemptively answering a few important questions:

Can I install Flagfox 5.0b1 and 4.2.17 at the same time?
No. Installing 5.0b1 will update your Flagfox installation. You can install it in a new Firefox profile instead to test it, if you prefer. Your Flagfox 4.x options and custom actions will be ported over for Flagfox 5.0, though as with all testing, backing up your Firefox profile regularly wouldn’t hurt. You will lose your action customizations if you install 5.0 and downgrade back to 4.2.x.

Does Flagfox 5 support Australis? (new Firefox theme currently in development)
Yes! In fact, Flagfox 4.2.17 does as well. There aren’t (yet) any changes that affect Flagfox.

Why did it need to restart on installing this to update from Flagfox 4.x?
If you have Flagfox 4.x installed, you’ll need to restart Firefox when prompted in order to install Flagfox 5.0 for the first time. While Flagfox 5.0 doesn’t need a Firefox restart to install, Flagfox 4.x needs a Firefox restart to uninstall first.

What application version support is dropped? (and by proxy, what OS support?)
Support for Firefox 3.6 through 16.0 and SeaMonkey 2.1 through 2.13 are dropped. (yeah, Flagfox 4.2.x still supports a 4 year old browser version in addition to the latest development versions) The minimum supported applications are now Firefox 17.0 or SeaMonkey 2.14. Adding back support for older versions is not something I can/will consider. Firefox 17+ does not support some very old versions of Windows and Mac OS X, specifically, Windows 2000, Windows XP RTM-SP2 (but XP SP3 is supported; update Windows!), and Mac OS X 10.5 and earlier. (Flagfox 5 will probably work in TenFourFox or similar, however I don’t have the ability to test that; please tell me if it does)

What updates will Flagfox 5.0b1 get?
Once you install a development version of Flagfox, you will get future development updates (not stable channel updates). I don’t know yet how many beta updates I’ll be releasing. When the testing phase is complete I will either push a newer development version to test or switch everyone over to the stable channel to get regular updates for 5.0.x and later.

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12 Comments

  1. Robert Janc

    This beta version (Flagfox 5.0 Beta 1) requires a restart. I tried it on FF27b and Nightly FF29a1

    • I mentioned that above: If you are installing this into a profile with Flagfox 4.x installed, then it will need one last restart. Flagfox 5+ doesn’t need a restart to install, however Flagfox 4.x needs one last restart to uninstall first before the new version can be installed.

  2. Robert Janc

    Thanks, you are correct and I should read more carefully. Just installed in an empty profile using FF26 and NO RESTART. Great job.

    One last comment you might think about; in the UI of FF29a1 (Australis) where everything is placed on one toolbar and smaller your new larger icons “might” be a bit too large.

    • I’ve tested things in Australis a bit and everything looks like it’s fine, however my primary browser is Aurora which hasn’t gotten it yet so I haven’t tested under Australis that much. I’ve always used small icons mode, personally, which Australis is similar to (though a little larger, actually). I’m pretty sure everything will fit fine in Australis, assuming they don’t change anything too much. If anyone finds any Australis-specific issues, please do report them and I will look into ways to improve things.

  3. Robert Janc

    Don’t want to be a pest but do have one LAST question. With the old version 4.2.16 when I go to Amazon.com I get this in Geotool:

    http://www.amazon.com ISP Amazon.com, Inc. (AS16509)
    Continent Europe Flag NL
    Country Netherlands Country Code NL (NLD)
    Region Unknown Local time 19 Jan 2014 16:48 CET
    City Unknown Latitude 52.5
    IP Address 176.32.98.166

    With the beta I get this in Geotool:

    http://www.amazon.com ISP Amazon.com, Inc. (AS16509)
    Continent North America Flag US
    Country United States Country Code US (USA)
    Region Washington Local time 19 Jan 2014 07:50 PST
    Metropolis* Seattle-Tacoma Postal Code 98104
    City Seattle Latitude 47.603
    IP Address 72.21.215.232

    • When I go to Amazon.com I connect to 205.251.242.54 right now. Amazon has a LOT of cache servers. In all likelihood, you’re just connecting to different servers based on their load balancing efforts. See the Flagfox support forum post on the topic: http://flagfox.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=214

      By the way, Flagfox 4.2.16 has IPDB data from December 2013. Flagfox 4.2.17 and Flagfox 5.0b1 have the January 2014 IPDB data from Maxmind. (not that this is likely to matter here, though) Geotool always uses current data.

  4. Would be great to implement 1 click “website screenshot” creation service. But one of those, who allow to store the screenshot for at least couple days.

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