Null Morpheme

Firefox, Mozilla and Ideas…

Personas for Firefox 0.6 (review)

with 4 comments

This kind of extension has been on my list of add-ons for a long time. I do like themes, however I do not like the (sometimes) heavy load of images it carries into my browser. Themes are also a static change of of you browser, more or less as a skin does for other computer programs you might have.

Enter: new concept in browser customization. I really feel that we see here a new feature in a browser that is as revolutionary as the concept of add-ons. The customization is interactive via a web server, in the same way I like to have my bookmarks synchronized (with the help of Foxmarks), and in this case it changes the look of your Firefox browser. I on purpose say here look, because in my opinion this kind of functionality will be seen more and more in other add-ons and in future versions of Firefox. I is just that good (you could think about calender functions, IM, blogging and of course graphic RSS feeds).

“So you are jumping up and down for joy, what are you talking about”?

I am talking about Personas for Firefox created by Chris Beard, with help of some other prominent Mozilla people and Firefox fans.

Upon installation (after you allow downloads from this website) you can go to the <Tools> menu and look under add-ons to find an options menu, however you will not find any options for Personas there. Look at the bottom left corner of your browser:

picture2.jpg

(NB: please do not be alarmed by the strange setup of my browser, and yes that image you see if due to Personas)personas1.png

You see a picture here from another review of Personas in a more normal setting (click onimage to read the review at Mozilla Links)

So what are your option here? If you click on the Personas logo in the left corner a small pop-up window emerges were you can choose the Persona (think of it as a minimized Theme or Skin) that you want. You select the one you want and plop your browsers has a new look. This part of the add-ons works great and has lots of potential.

picture1.png

This add-on is still under development, but the 0.6 release is stable and works with many different add-ons. Add to that list BioFox, BioBar, Tabrowser Preferences, eBay companion (beta) for Firefox and Duplicate Tab.

Currently you can create your own Personas and email them to Chris Beard, later these Personas can be submitted to a website, and I am sure this now small-spin off project will attract an active community of Persona builders, advertisement gurus, Google web-application builders and people who like pretty colors ;o). In later releases Personas can be dynamic to reflect the time of day, to show you your appointments for the next hour, or just to surprise you with another random Persona of Firefox 3 times a day.

Now those applications give rise to a whole new browsers use and feel.

Good: the concept is excellent (cannot wait to see dynamic Personas happen), not intrusive and works as expected.

Bad: No previews of what is to come (what if you have to look through 1000 Personas), Dynamic Personas do not work yet, hard to find the add-on the first time (it is so non-intrusive).

Overall: I have seen the future baby! Thanks Chris for some fresh breath…


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Written by Marco

16 May, 2007 at 10:32 am

Posted in extension, Firefox

4 Responses

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  1. Deux trucs sympa autour de Firefox

    Personas est une petite extension pour Firefox, créée par Chris Beard, qui permet de tapisser son navigateur avec une image disponible dans un menu …

    Le blog de Nicosmos

    22 May, 2007 at 7:35 pm

  2. The foxkeh themes are so kawaii! I just wish it would underlay everything around the content pane, including tabs, scrollbars and sidebar. For the latter, the images would need to be higher or tileable, or have vertical counterparts, or a plain background color associated. Also if you have a vertical iconbar, the background images only go down about 200px. They’re too narrow to cover the whole UI and too wide to see enough of them under the menu/navbar if you have small icons – maybe they should be zoomable too.

    foxylady

    23 May, 2007 at 3:19 pm

  3. Hi Foxy,

    Are you commenting to my review pictures or to the way the images are set-up in the Personas add-on?

    For feed-bak to the add-on visit the forums at:
    http://www.puffinlabs.com/personas/

    Thank you for your comment though, I like comments ;o)

    Null Morpheme

    23 May, 2007 at 3:45 pm

  4. puffinlabs.com domain is offline…anyone have the xpi? email me at sh0rtbus56 [at] gmail [dot] com

    kyle

    11 November, 2007 at 7:37 pm


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