Flagfox 6.0.1 update released

Flagfox 6.0.1 has been uploaded to AMO for download and update. It is identical to 6.0.1rc which was pushed to the Flagfox beta channel a couple days ago (save for the requisite version number change).

Flagfox 6.0.1 changelog:

  • IPv4 & IPv6 address location database updates for January 2018
  • Fixed some caching issues causing IPs to be forgotten in a few cases
  • Fixed RTL issues in tooltip and implemented proper support in options
  • Fixed bugs related to hotclick configuration in the options page
  • Worked-around WebExtension API bug that causes some addon options pages to break in private browsing windows
  • Various JS and CSS cleanups

Many thanks to the people who reported some of the bugs fixed in this release.

If anyone gets the globe icon when a flag is possible, and a refresh fixes it, then please report that here. I’m still working on making my cache not suck. Caching things is easy; caching things without caching everything forever and also not uncaching things too early, is another matter. I really wish there was just an API to fetch IPs from Firefox’s cache, but there isn’t, so I’ve got to listen to the initial requests for stuff to get it, and subsequent requests that hit the cache leave their IP property blank.

I’m considering adding some kind of cache for non-private-browsing windows’ locations to be saved between Firefox sessions and Flagfox updates, as it’s impossible to get locations in those scenarios unless a refresh is triggered (which is at least the case for many session restores).

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Flagfox 6.0 released with Firefox 57+ support

Flagfox 6.0.0 has been uploaded to Mozilla Add-ons for release!

Everyone with Flagfox installed in Firefox 57+ will automatically get the new version on the next automatic addon update check by Firefox. Firefox 56 is technically supported, but with a few issues that cannot be fixed without updating Firefox, so automatic updates should be set to not go out to anyone who refused to upgrade Firefox. (Flagfox 6.0.0 can be manually installed in Firefox 56 by downloading it and using “Install add-on from file” in the little gear icon menu in the Firefox Addon Manager.) Unfortunately, this means Firefox 52 ESR is no longer supported. I would very much rather not drop support for the most recent Extended Support Release, but Mozilla has banned all addons that use so-called “legacy” APIs and mandated addon rewrites using the new WebExtension API based on Google Chrome’s addon system. It’s… not great, but we have no say in the matter. :/

There are a few noticeable feature changes to this new version that are the direct result of WebExtension API limitations, most notably a smaller icon. Read the full list below.

I’ve started updating the Flagfox FAQ with information about this latest release, including detailed explanations for WebExtension permissions. Updates to the listing on Mozilla Add-ons will take a bit, as doing so is a PITA.

Flagfox 6.0.0 changelog:

  • IPv4 & IPv6 address location database updates for December 2017
  • First pure WebExtension API version of Flagfox; Firefox 57+ support added (min is v56; v57+ highly recommended)
  • Ported Flagfox options from XUL window to HTML tab (along with all other dialogs), per WebExt requirement
  • Improved IPDB to now run in its own dedicated JS Worker thread
  • Started using ES6 promises everywhere (some new uses because it’s better; many compelled by WebExt API)
  • Faster flag icon updates using new WebExt API (pages loaded/cached prior to install/update must be refreshed)
  • Added simple indicator icons+tags for HSTS, HTTP/2, and insecure HTTP to flag icon tooltips
  • Changed TLD nationality to always show in tooltips for nation-restricted non-ccTLDs (IDN TLDs require Firefox 57+)
  • Added Flagfox actions context menus for elements within a page and background tabs (IP-related stuff NYI)
  • Improved keyboard support in the options page
  • Added domain names of actions (that have a URL) to their tooltips in the options page
  • Added options page support for paste to import and cut/copy to clone, via main menu or hotkey (e.g. ctrl+v/c/x)
  • Changed options page to autosave actions JSON to storage rather than wait for tab close
  • Fixed some bugs with actions import/drag/drop in options under recent versions of Firefox
  • Added Linux support for opening actions in a background window (mostly useless, but nonetheless true)
  • Implemented custom locale properties file parsing/loading, because screw WebExtension’s bloated I18N
  • Implemented universal automatic English fallback for locales (Flagfox 5 had some; Flagfox 6 has it for everything)
  • Now stripping redundant manual English fallback strings on build, to save a bit of space for install/load
  • Added automatic locale file unload after disuse to reduce memory use when no longer needed
  • Significantly improved location/host/ip caching (which is now required, due to WebExt APIs)
  • Implemented (partial) replacements for various features Mozilla abandoned with the WebExt transition (e.g. eTLD)
  • Removed old grey question mark icon; replaced its last remaining use with the already-used globe icon
  • Disabled actions that need a content script on protocols and Mozilla domains blocked by the WebExt API
  • Added ability to handle default action favicons on non-standard paths; all should show, now (improvement over 5.x)
  • Geotool action hotkey changed from Ctrl+Alt+G to Alt+Shift+G due to the very limited WebExtension hotkey API
  • New default action hotclicks: “Check Server Status” on double-click and “Google Cache” on triple-click
  • Various default action changes:
    • Improved Page Metadata JS action to list everything it can find (with improved formatting)
    • Netcraft & IntoDNS switched to HTTPS (only URL Parser & Traceroute remain without HTTPS support)
    • Dropped Wave A11Y due to various issues, including over-active use throttling
    • Dropped obsolete Validate.nu action, as it became a redirect to the main W3C Validator
    • Demoted WOT from default menu to options-available, due to excessive popup ads (amongst other issues)
    • Added: Is It Up? (alternative status checker), Built With, Mozilla Security Observatory, & Video Converter
  • Dropped support for all Firefox/Gecko versions 24-55, which includes all versions of SeaMonkey up to current
    (SeaMonkey support may be readded when they have a version that supports WebExtensions sufficiently)
    (Unfortunately, Firefox 52 ESR support is also not possible, due to unavailable WebExtension API updates)
    -> This Flagfox version supports Firefox 56+ (desktop), however some features require Firefox 57+ to work fully
    -> Due to bugs in Mozilla’s WebExtension API, this support floor will increase further in future 6.x releases

Known issues that cannot be fixed due to buggy/badly designed and now mandatory-to-use WebExtension APIs:

  • Icon is smaller and squarified, per WebExt API’s apparent requirements (API not documented properly)
  • Icon menu has default toolbar menu items in it, even if N/A; no way to disable; nightly has some fixes
  • Icon menu limited to 6 top-level items, per arbitrary WebExt API limitation; others in auto-submenu
  • Icon menu item favicons (if enabled) have no default; WebExt API has no way to set a default/onerror
  • All menu generation is done more often than prior versions due to primitive WebExt API (no on-showing event)
  • Icon tooltip doesn’t have columns or text styling, as the WebExt API here is primitive (plain text only)
  • Icon middle-click settings no longer work, due to limited WebExt API (existing settings left alone, but hidden)
  • Hotkey customization is no longer available, due to very limited WebExt API (no user-set hotkey support, at all)
  • The WebExt notifications API outputs to the OS notifications system, which may get truncated text
  • There is no way to select “Don’t show this again” for notifications (custom buttons not supported in Firefox)
  • Firefox wipes WebExtension data on uninstall, without user notification or prompting (affects *ALL* addons!)

Known issues that will be addressed in future Flagfox updates:

  • The new page element action menus do not yet support actions that use IP addresses (implementation TBD)
  • All page notifications for TLD/IP country mismatches have been disabled until I can make notifications better
  • Options edit action autocomplete and detailed help popup are disabled (cut for time; reimplementation TBD)
  • Options page is kinda ugly, due to having to port XUL to HTML and CSS being a horrible monstrosity
  • Some RTL locale display issues (nothing drastic, and probably nothing you haven’t seen in other software)

My initial estimate, months ago, would be that updating Flagfox for the now-mandatory WebExtension API required by Firefox 57+ was that it would take an annoying few dozen hours. Once I started working on it heavily, I realized that there were way more problems with the API than advertised, and it is fundamentally different and slower to work with than all prior “legacy” APIs Mozilla has now banned. That dozens of hours estimate quickly became hundreds of hours… and I eventually realized that was still underestimating things, and that’s not even counting the fact that I unfortunately got rather sick and unable to work on this significantly for a good two weeks.

Flagfox is a one-person hobby-project, and dear lord, this transition damn-near killed me, and it’s still
only ready a month and a half after Firefox 57 was released. In any case, it’s ready now… now, I can get some sleep.

Polite comments/feedback welcome. If you think you’ve found a bug, please report it in the comments here, or on the Flagfox support forum, or via email, or Twitter, or whatever. This blog is set to hold comments for approval for all new posters, after which point you can post without delay, forever (so long as you don’t hit the spam filter, of course). Also, if you see something that needs updating/fixing on this blog or in the FAQ, please report that too.

If you’ve previously posted a review to the Flagfox addon page inquiring about Firefox 57+ support, you can simply post a new review to replace the old one. (the system shows one per person, though you can click a review to browse all old ones, too) Note that as per Mozilla’s policies, bug reports / support requests are deleted by moderators and users generally are pointed to provided support channels, instead, e.g. here. Also note that Mozilla broken the AMO email notifications system in their most recent update, so if you post a bug report / support request, and it gets deleted before I check that email and go to the site, your post will be lost forever, like tears in rain.

This Flagfox major update was beta tested by a few hundred kind users. If you’d like to get early updates and test new versions prior to main release, you can install the most recent version here (6.0.0rc is functionally identical to 6.0.0; Mozilla’s beta channel requires different version numbers for development versions). With Flagfox beta tests, I generally delete the beta branch eventually, when it’s not needed anymore, at which point all users on it will auto-update to the normal release and begin receiving normal updates. Mozilla does not provide a less kludgy way of keeping beta-users up-to-date without manually packaging/releasing more beta channel files. I’ve grown used to Mozilla implementation dubiousness, but it still annoys me every time, especially when it stays that way for many years…

Flagfox 5.1 released

Flagfox 5.1 is now released and available for download and update. Major changes include a switch to HTTPS for the main default actions (most others were already HTTPS), a greatly reduced installer/update size, and support for Firefox Reader Mode.

Mozilla is now signing all addons hosted on their site, but the code signer unfortunately has horrible ZIP compression for its XPI repacker, so it bloated up the prior versions’ file sizes by around 20%. The optimizations in this update compensate for that, though Mozilla has said that they would like to fix their general issue eventually as well.

Full changelog for this update:

  • IPv4 & IPv6 address location database updates for June 2015
  • IPDB files now encoded in a new compressed format, saving space & some memory
  • Locale files now JARed for better compression & simpler code sign verification
  • Updated Geotool and Whois actions to HTTPS (default flag click & middle-click)
  • Added support for Firefox 38+ Reader Mode
  • Minor flag icon set updates
  • Switched to newer “drop” event naming to maintain compatibility
  • Dropped support for Gecko 17-23 based browsers
    -> This Flagfox version supports Firefox 24+ and SeaMonkey 2.21+
    -> Recommended minimum version is Firefox 38+

Flagfox now requires a minimum of Firefox 24, however Firefox 38 or later is highly recommended. (download current Firefox here or ESR here) Current development versions are also supported.

Flagfox 5.0.6 update released

I have posted Flagfox 5.0.6 to Mozilla Add-ons. After a Mozilla editor signs off, the update will be available to all users, however you can download it before then via the all versions page.

Changelog for this month’s update:

  • IPv4 & IPv6 address location database updates for August 2014
  • Added e10s support for JS actions and improved form field handling
  • Significantly reduced usage of CPOWs under e10s (none on page load now)
  • Multiprocess Firefox now fully supported (new install.rdf flag set to true)

Continue reading

Flagfox 5.0.4 update released

I have posted Flagfox 5.0.4 to Mozilla Add-ons. After a Mozilla editor signs off, the update will be available to all users, however you can download it before then via the all versions page.

Changelog for this month’s update:

  • IPv4 & IPv6 address location database updates for June 2014
  • Flag icon updates
  • Added support for form field actions under e10s
  • Updated TLD mismatch warning country code whitelist
  • Updated Validate.nu action to use new URL (old is down)
  • Minor startup improvements

Continue reading

Flagfox 5.0.3 update released

I have posted Flagfox 5.0.3 to Mozilla Add-ons. After a Mozilla editor signs off, the update will be available to all users, however you can download it before then via the all versions page.

This update contains the IPv4 & IPv6 address location database updates for May 2014. A few people have been reporting what appears to be a wrong flag for some connections to Google on some occasions. Either Maxmind’s database is/was out of date or that’s just where Google has one of their many servers now. If this update shows the same issue, please feel free to bring it up on the Flagfox forum. However, please remember that I do not personally maintain a map of the entire Internet; Maxmind does that.

As of the 1st of this month, the survey link that was shown as well as the 5.0 first run page are no longer shown and have been removed from this version. There’s also a minor fix for the new form field actions in this update, but it likely affected nobody.