Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Will Packed Menu (a Firefox extension) mess up your tool bar?

Packed Menu was accused of corrupting the tool bar recently. I have been running this little toy since it was developed and it works great. Don't get me wrong, I am not implying that the user's comment is nonsense. I believe our users are serious about their reviews.

But what could have caused the problems? Many people like to install several or many extensions on their browser. These extensions can intervene with each other. If an extension works perfectly on the plain Firefox without any other extensions, it could stop working when another extension breaks its working condition. Each people installs different extensions with different settings, so it is very difficult to tell what is the real root cause.

Basically if the extension works with an "extension-free" Firefox, I would consider it is good. However, I am willing to make Packed Menu more robust so that when it could avoid messing up the tool bar or menu bar.

Let me tell how Packed Menu works first. When the browser is loaded, Packed Menu add a menu item "M" to the menu bar. It then wait 2 seconds to let the browser fully load. After that, Packed Menu move the main menu under the new "M" menu.

Two places might cause some problems. First, if the user's browser has too many extensions installed, two seconds may not be enough for the loading of the browser, especially when the machine/system itself is slow. Secondly, if some other installed extensions try to move, modify or delete the main menu, they could fail because Packed Menu has moved the main menu to a new location. Or if they function first, Packed Menu could fail.

In the new release 1.2, I added some fixes.

1. Wait 2 seconds AFTER the "load" event of the browser is fired.

2. Before moving the main menu, Packed Menu will check whether the main menu is still there.

However the new release could not guarantee the problem would disappear. Because if Packed Menu is loaded first and it runs happily, some other menu-related extensions which are loaded later could fail and corrupt things when their presumed working condition has been changed by Packed Menu.

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