firefox 3 and enclosures (recap)

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Back in December and January, I worked on some patches for Firefox 3 that enhanced the feed preview page. I wrote a post about it back then... but I'm updating that post with recent screenshots and a better description of the work. The previous post was mostly about how great FOSS is.

The patches fell into two big features. First, I added enclosure detection to the FeedProcessor and then modified FeedWriter to show enclosures alongside the entries. This has two huge benefits: it allows you to easily tell if the feed has enclosures and it allows you to see what they are, how big, what type of media, ...

Second, I modified Firefox so that it allows you to associate video podcasts with an application, audio podcasts with another application, and all other kinds of feeds with a third application. The benefit here is that you can send media podcasts to an application that handles that well (*cough*Miro*cough*) and regular news feeds to a different application that handles that well.

Screenshot of Firefox 2 feed preview page:

Firefox 2 feed preview page

Screenshot of Firefox 3 feed preview page:

Firefox 3b5 feed preview page

Of the two features, I hear the most comments about the first one mostly along the lines of, "I'm so glad I don't have to view source to see the enclosures anymore!" The second feature isn't as immediately exciting. The implementation of distinguishing feeds is intentionally simple and there are a lot of corner cases where it doesn't work very well. Also, there aren't many applications that can really take advantage of it. I expect this second feature to flourish as Firefox development continues and video/audio podcasting evolves.

Want to comment? Send an email to willkg at bluesock dot org. Include the url for the blog entry in your comment so I have some context as to what you're talking about.