I am now a big fan of soapy ham hocks.
Brian King recently wrote about a very significant change to the Firefox user interface which will be seen by all Windows Vista and Windows 7 users when they upgrade to Firefox 4. Designed by Alex Faaborg and the UX team based on community feedback from Test Pilot data, this new “Firefox Menu” will replace the Menu Bar. The goal is to put the most frequently used controls in a single menu, and return vertical space to the web content area by removing the pixels otherwise taken up by the Menu Bar:
Alex filed a bug with the design, which included several new UI concepts that had not been previously implemented using XUL, such as a two-tiered Windows Vista-esque menu, and a menu that had buttons in it. At the time the bug was filed, we weren’t sure who would have time to experiment and implement the changes, and considered some of the design items to be at risk for Firefox 4.
This is where the soapy ham hocks come into the story.
Joshua M (who also goes by SoapyHamHocks on IRC) created a Bugzilla account on August 12th, and put up his first attempt at an implementation the next day. Working with the Firefox team in IRC and through Bugzilla, several iterations of his patch went by, and on August 20th, the patch landed in Mozilla’s codebase. There are some bugs and issues to work out, but thanks to Joshua’s contribution, our Windows Vista/7 users will all be able to look forward to a much more native, and better user experience – and of course, if Windows XP users want to try it out, they can customize their UI to do so! It should appear in a future beta revision, and of course users will be able to give us feedback about it at that time.
I’m always thrilled to see new contributors who want to make a difference for millions of users finding their way into our community, and similarly thrilled when our community can guide and help these new contributors towards successful implementations. Welcome to our motley crew, SoapyHamHocks – we all appreciate your work and effort.