Tag Archives: rants

jEdit makes major release for first time in 5 years

jedit128For the first time in over 5 years a major release will be made to jEdit! Alan Ezust has now committed a change that makes the next release version 4.3.0. With a new visual look, better platform support, many more features and much improved performance I can safely say that it's a great release and much welcomed!

When I discovered jEdit back in 2002/2003 I was happy to see that there was finally an editor that met all my weird needs and supported all the platforms I was using. I felt that my search for an editor was over… Continue reading jEdit makes major release for first time in 5 years

Shortcomings of SourceForge

sfnetSourceforge got a make-over. A fresh coat of paint and what else? A couple of clicks aways a blog post describes in short that sf.net has changed it's looks and the front page now has more statistics. But is the frontpage really the most important place to improve upon?

A large font doesn't improve usability or add value – your content and layout does.

With respects to the people behind sf.net for the good work they've done over the years I feel there are still major issues that are so basic that I simply wouldn't consider sf.net as a place to host my projects.

But it's easy to throw stones at abstract problems – let me be specific. SourceForge devs, here's a few suggestions:

"Remember Me" broken

I'm a developer of jEdit where I take care of Mac-related issues. Being so, I follow the devel-list and at least once a week I visit the tracker to read up on issues. It seems that each time I visit I have to log in. Each time I check "Remember Me" but apparently so with no effect.

Login redirection

Related to the issue about "Remember Me" I am always redirected to "My Personal Page" upon login, not the link I came from or tried to access. This means having to click through several pages and refreshing before I can do whatever I need on the tracker.

Bad performance

I think it's a general complaint with sf.net but I am still bothered by the slow performance of the tracker. I haven't used the new tracker that much – it's certainly a better one but the general performance of the site could still be greatly improved.

If you must change the frontpage, here's a few suggestions to improve the relevance:

Global statistics

Remove them. It may be fun to watch for sf.net devs but really – what's the relevance for users? Users need something they can relate to but the numbers are unfamiliar and can't be compared to anything a regular user or dev know of. The graphical bars still doesn't give a context that seems interesting.

If you really insist on keeping this, make "Popular" the default display.

Recent releases

Consider adding user-engaging information such as "Most recent Project releases" – it would be a helpful and fun way to discover new projects and will give sf.net a feel of "being alive".

Keep "Project of the Month"

This is the primary part of the front page I find relevant.

Rename "Build"

"Build" is not a psychological trigger word for someone looking for a place to host their project. Usability is about user tendency and expectation. The word Build doesn't really say "get your open-source project hosted here for free"… it says get your project built. If the primary product was automated nightly builds, I would use the word "Build" or the like. But this really isn't the core of sf.net, is it?

SourceForge needs to catch up with the tendencies and features around the world. It seems that only recently they've waken up and discovered they are lacking behind. Depending on the preferred source version control system I would prefer Bitbucket.org or Google Code – overall simplicity wins me over regardless of the frontpage.

Nailing the coffin

Microsoft just discovered a potentially dangerous bug. Heise-online has a thorough explaination of the issue.

So what's the bug? In short terms: IE6 and 7 handles images based on a mixture of MIME sniffing, content-type header and byte-header sniffing (alias signature). When extension, content-type and signature disagrees the MIME-type kicks in. The issue arises when the MIME-type indicates HTML and it tries to act on it.

So what's the danger? Websites that naively displays images from users may be vulnerable to cross-site scripting, phising attacks or other indirect attacks. If your websites doesn't check the image for consistency (which it should) you may make it vulnerable to these "attacks".

What's dangerous is not the fact that there's a bug but that Microsoft only intend to fix it for Internet Explorer 8 leaving a lot of people vulnerable. In all fairness they are trying to promote IE8 but one might argue there are better ways of motivating people.

Luckily the bug isn't that easily exploited. Let's hope the crackers of the world are feeling lazy for a few years…

IE8 RC1 announced. Silent cheers seem too loud.

IE8 RC1 has been anounced but where are the joyful cheers and the popping champagne?

First, IE6 is still big
Well we still have IE6 to support with and since they decided not to support any new CSS3 features at all we still lack being able to make a modern site without the use filters (something as simple as the opacity property is still missing).

Second, IE7 spread slowly
We're still waiting for customers to take IE7 more seriously than IE6. In Denmark the tendency is still not leaning enough toward IE7. Knowing how long it took for IE7 to spread we can expect at least 3-4 years before IE8 reaches the same level as IE7.

Third, A new browser to support
IE8 introduces more IE-specific selectors which mean making opacity and fading effects now requires more lines of code. Good thing we got jQuery to do that 😉

But on the bright side IE8 will support CSS2.1 completely. This means that Microsoft will hopefully dedicate more time on bugfixing. IE8 is definitely a step forward but Firefox 2.0 would still be considered leaps ahead compared.