Данилово блогче

Mon, 03 Mar 2008

I had problems with my comments set-up, so people were unable to comment on the epiphany rocks article except by email: I apologize to everyone who tried. I have since fixed the comments (been away during the weekend so couldn't do it earlier), and I am including here all the comments I received by email.

Chris Lord:

Epiphany uses Gecko, but then elects to change the web font sizes and default background colours, breaking a lot of sites that expect size 10pt/96dpi and white (the former of which is actually specified somewhere in a w3c spec, I think?) - sites such as the new official GTK site, for example.

It would be nice if these 'features' could be turned off - as nice as it is for web pages to match the desktop theme (to a very small extent), it doesn't work very well in a lot (the majority?) of cases.

Also, some of Firefox's extensions are quite nice - when epiphany has a nice delicious extension (no, epilicious isn't quite enough) and the annoying jump-to-focused element bug in gtkmozembed is fixed... and maybe the re-parenting breaking pop-ups bug too... Then, maybe I'll move back to Epiphany.

Perhaps WebKit will nullify the latter two of those complaints; I live in hope :)

My take on this is: I am short-sighted and I use generally high resolution screens (120dpi). I still prefer to be able to read the text on my screen comfortably, regardless of what a web designer thinks would suit me better (and I couldn't find any reference to default font size for HTML 4.01, and I can't imagine there should be one: 10pt/96dpi is basically a size in pixels, so if some web designers want to force a font size of 13px, they should do that without pretending to be a11y friendly). And no, I don't feel like downgrading my screen dpi (I also like it to match real world sizes). As far as extensions are concerned, they are really easy to write for Epiphany, and if it was default in more distros, I am sure we'd see many more.

Also, if someone is fine with this, why not set their entire GNOME like that, and Epiphany will follow. Also, one can use a separate .gtkrc for Epiphany as well, if they want to change theme colours.

Thomas Thurman:

I think you should include a link to http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/229/ in your post about replacing Firefox with Ephy, so that people can vote on it.

Indeed. So everyone, here's the link above: go and make Epiphany default. :)

Quentin Hartman:

On my Gutsy machine at work, I started using Epiphany a few weeks ago because I got tired of how painfully slow FF2 was when I had a large number of tabs open that involved complex javascript. Epiphany feels substantially faster, not just in this case, but in browsing in general.

However, I can't use it for a large portion of my browsing because the only flash plugins that I could easily get to work in it are far from feature complete. Also, the big "pause button" thing it does when a flash item first loads is annoying.

Regardless of whether or not it technically uses the same engine, some sites render incorrectly in it. The biggest example I saw while using it semi-regularly was Lenovo's Thinkpad configuration page. The column of options would render in a too-narrow fixed-width column, whereas with all other browsers I used it in (including FF2) the column would flow to fit the window width. Clearly, the Gecko engine used in Ephy has diverged from the one used in FF2.

Do these behaviors change in newer versions? I don't know. I, like so many other people out there, don't have time to diverge from what is available in my distro.

I think the flash issues are probably something regarding proprietary software (i.e. it's not trivial to use Flash 32-bit plug-in inside 64-bit environment, but it is as possible as inside firefox, afaik). And I only know of "pause" button in two free software implementations that are indeed feature-incomplete, but are quickly "getting there": swfdec and gnash. I even prefer this kind of behaviour, but it still doesn't have anything to do Epiphany afaik: they'd work the same in Firefox.

Again, here are some problems with rendering of pages in Epiphany, and it could only be due to font size and colours display (oh yes, I am using a "dark" theme, and hit a lot of those). However, these sorts of problems happen only when web designers pretend to be designing for usability, but combine absolute and relative measures (and 10pt is a relative measure in terms of screen pixels). It's simple to demonstrate the same problem with font sizes in Firefox: just use Ctrl++ to enlarge the font size. Or with a theme: just set your default colours to dark background and light foreground, and many web sites will be messed up (yes, even ubuntu.com, which is otherwise wonderfully designed web site).

Ok, we can admit to living in a non-perfect world where many web sites are broken usability-wise, but most of this would not affect a default Epiphany installation: default colour theme is black-on-white, and default "document" font size is 12pt, with default desktop screen resolutions being around ~100dpi (and you get to customize fonts in the same way you can for Firefox, just the starting default size is different).

But, when will those who really need better usability get it if web browsers work around some problems in web sites to make them 'look better' instead of 'behave better'? How are high contrast white-on-black themes actually working in Firefox and other browsers?

[12:45] | [] | # | G | | TB
I could use Epiphany if it would let me organize the bookmarks the way i want. As far as I can figure out , they are now sortet strickly by alphabet inside the folder they are placed. This annoys me so much that I find E unusable.

The way bookmarks works in firefox is just perfect to me, and more or less the sole reason I use that over E.
— Posted by Firefox Bookmarks at Mon Mar 3 13:09:54 2008
I tried Epiphany yesterday.  The fonts were too small for my taste.  I found the font preferences saying font size was 12 mysterious units (points, I guess?).  I increased the font size, and it was too big.  I decreased it back to 12, and it was just perfect.  I've no idea why Epiphany didn't use its own setting from the beginning, but that didn't leave a good first impression.  Also, changing the same font size for all 99 different language groups wasn't very exciting.

OTOH opening a new tab feels faster than in Firefox 2.

P.S. Comment preview doesn't appear to work.
— Posted by Marius Gedminas at Mon Mar 3 13:38:21 2008
Hi Danilo!

Of course it would be nice if we lived in a perfect world where all websites would stick to w3c standard. Unfortunately that isn't true!

If someone was using a browser on windows which displayed a website correctly and switches to Linux/Gnome and it doesn't, he will blame Linux. Period.

It is simply important that websites are shown in the way the designer wanted regardless if the designer used a technical correct way. Firefox archives this in 99% of the cases (because web designer probably test with firefox...) and any browser that wants to replace it has to behave more or less the same.

I guess when epiphany switches to webkit, things will become easier as Safari is also quite popular and people use it for testing but of course they shouldn't change default fonts and things like that either.

Another rather unrelated point is that many people simply love firefox and they wouldn't understand why Ubuntu does not ship it by default anymore. Regarding the average computer user, for him firefox = internet!
— Posted by Johannes at Mon Mar 3 13:40:53 2008
@Firefox Bookmarks:
I don't see the "bookmarks always ordered by alphabet" problem in Epiphany, they seem to be sorted by the date added. Also, I don't have "folders", since Epiphany categorizes bookmarks by tags.

@Marius: Epiphany defaults to your GNOME font sizes. Check up on your "Document font size" among GNOME Font settings. The per-language settings are coming directly from Firefox (and previously Netscape).

@jhs: Default fonts have to be changed compared to proprietary systems. Reason is simple: different sets of fonts are used. Yes, Bitstream Vera (and by extension, DejaVu) try to emulate Tahoma's and Verdana's x-height, proportions and colour, but they are just that: emulations. So, the only real "incompatibility" Epiphany is introducing is the default font size. And that's definitely correct for me, because I need larger fonts than those silly designers wanted. If I was using Firefox, the first thing I'd change would be the default font size.  Epiphany just saves me the step (like also adding languages I want for 'Accept-Language' header, since Ephy derives it from my locale).

As far as "firefox = internet" for the Average Joe, I completely disagree. It might be likely that it is "IE == internet" for them, but it's more likely to be "internet == internet" (i.e. let's use GenericName more often).

I know that the only real reason Firefox is the default is that it's more marketable. How that works you can even see in the Ubuntu Brainstorm idea, which is downvoted to be the last out of 1000 entries: look at the completely spurious comments like "I see little reason to change when many websites will happily support Firefox but not officially Epiphany because its much, much, lesser known."

But knowing that marketability is the reason doesn't make me like the fact.
— Posted by Danilo at Mon Mar 3 14:28:07 2008
I know that the only real reason Firefox is the default is that it's more marketable.

That Epiphany's strongest supporters are always obnoxious like this also helps.

This entire post, which is ostensibly an advocacy piece for ephy, contains not one compelling reason to switch. Even the Webkit switch, which is compelling for a number of reasons, is just thrown out there without any supporting evidence.

Epiphany was the solution to Galeon, borne in an age where the only alternative was Seamonkey. I don't see that it competes favourably with Firefox 3 in UE terms, and that's only going to get worse in the future with Mozilla's funding of UE work.

- Chris
— Posted by Chris Cunningham at Mon Mar 3 15:44:22 2008
Johannes: I disagree with you and agree with Danilo, strongly. He has a much more compelling reason for this, but still. I don't give a flying fig "what the designer intended" - if the designer intended flashing yellow text on a red background I don't want that inflicted on me, thank you. I want things to look right, where 'right' in my case is defined as white DejaVu text in a minimum font size of 12pt on a dark grey background. Unfortunately, as Danilo said, many sites don't understand that people might not want to use their 'perfect' font and color choices, but also as Danilo said, I don't see that as a reason to give in.
— Posted by Adam Williamson at Mon Mar 3 16:53:08 2008
@Chris: I happen to know that "marketability" was a single big reason to go with Firefox for Ubuntu. You may call me obnoxious as much as you want, but you may want to check with those who have made the decision first.
— Posted by Danilo at Mon Mar 3 17:37:32 2008
@Chris: and an easy to track-down reference: http://osdir.com/ml/ubuntu.devel/2004-09/msg00060.html
— Posted by Danilo at Mon Mar 3 17:56:04 2008
@Chris Lord: sites that expect to see a white background etc. are fundementally broken.  No where in the W3 specs is a default background colour / text colour, nor font settings specified that.  There is a sample stylesheet provided but it is a sample.  "standard" font size has come to be accepted as 16px(or pt?) which is the default for medium text size in IE/FF,.  The css validator also screams at you if you do not specify a background colour when you specify a colour, and vica versa.  If a site expects a white background it should set one.  This is not the fault of epiphany but the site designers, who in my experience fail to take any notice when you (politely) advise them of the problem.

In terms of trying to resolve the problem a user stylesheet that sets  html { background-color: white; color: black; } helps, but causes a few odd effects on a small number of pages.
— Posted by David A Knight at Mon Mar 3 18:25:02 2008
Nice to see a browser with decent font settings for once. The 10pt/96dpi argument is utter nonsense, not future-hardware-proof, not user-proof (a large part of the population is not looking forward to ruin its eyes when that's not already the case), and explicitely contrary to the relative units and page reflow principles the W3C always pushed.

Sadly there is a strong push in design "schools" to force fixed pixel units to emulate traditional paper media and avoid learning new tools. A plague on all web designers that think the first requirement of a web site is to look like colorized insurance form instead of something people actually can read comfortably.
— Posted by Nicolas Mailhot at Mon Mar 3 20:02:10 2008
@Chris: I happen to know that "marketability" was a single big reason to go with Firefox for Ubuntu. You may call me obnoxious as much as you want, but you may want to check with those who have made the decision first.

The reference you've provided contains this quote:

We can change our minds in the future. In fact, as Epiphany improves
to compete with Firefox on features, familiarity, depth of community and
so on, it may make sense to suffer the brand challenge, and ship a
browser that is wholly GTK+-based, integrates with GNOME in ways that
Firefox might not be able to, etc., etc.

This quote is from September 2004, which was two months before Firefox 1.0 shipped. Since that point, which of the following development trends has been more obvious:

<li> Epiphany has improved significantly in terms of catching up to the state of the art in features.</li>
<li> Firefox has improved significantly in terms of its integration with GNOME and Linux.</li>

Epiphany exists because at one point there wasn't a browser which was (a) usable by default and (b) fit in well with a modern GNOME desktop on Linux. It looks very much like Firefox 3 is going to be that browser.

- Chris
— Posted by Chris Cunningham at Tue Mar 4 10:52:48 2008
I proposed to make Epiphany the default browser in Ubuntu a while ago. The spec is still open to improvement : https://wiki.ubuntu.com/EpiphanyDefaultBrowser
— Posted by Ploum at Mon Apr 7 07:44:41 2008
The thing with Ephy's fonts isn't incorrect fontsize, but incorrect fonts! For some reason Ephy defaults serif fonts to Times and sans-serif fonts to Helvetica. Yes, that makes Ephy look very different when compared to what Firefox renders. Every time I've installed/used a fresh Epiphany installation the fonts looked like crap. Simply changing these to 'serif' and 'sans-serif' makes it use your system's default fonts for these font types.
— Posted by Random Ephy user at Tue Apr 8 16:11:05 2008
<a href=http://cashweb.pl>zarabianie przez internet</a>
— Posted by cashwebter at Sat Mar 29 06:01:25 2014





Danilo Segan

This is blog (web log) of Danilo Šegan (or Данило Шеган).


< March 2008 >
      1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9

My study page
Friends' Blogs
alex (en)
bc (en)
Bojan Živanović (sr)
Carlos (en)
Goran (sr)
imp (sr)
lilit (sr)
Oskuro (en)
Zombie (sr/en)