I love the ability to open all favorites in a directory by clicking the blue arrow to the right of the directory name. I just wish I could do this via the keyboard. I'm big on keyboard shortcuts
and having a shortcut like Shift+Enter
would be fantastic.
I just learned that Firefox has the capability to open the last closed tab by pressing Ctrl+Shift+T. This is awesome! I admit that I'd only use this once every couple of weeks or so, but just having the ability is fantastic. IE needs it!
I only recently discovered the ability to have multiple home pages in IE . Since then, I've tried to give home pages a shot -- I've been using a blank page for the past 8 or so years. By default, IE comes with a toolbar icon which allows you to open your home pages. The problem I have with this button is that it reuses existing tabs, no matter what your settings are. I'd like this button and the menu items under it to support Ctrl+Click to open them in new tabs.
Windows does a mediocre job of saving passwords. Sure, passwords are saved, but there always seem to be problems when the password changes. This is only one problem, tho. What I'd really like to see is the ability to group resources together to use one set of credentials. Enterprises have been providing single sign-on capabilities for quite a while. Those who haven't, are trying to move to this type of simplicity. With that, you typically have one credential store (i.e. Active Directory (AD)) and all enterprise resources use those credentials. What I'd like to see is, when you're asked for your credentials, you should have the option to use an existing set. I'm not sure if I'm explaining this very well, so let me give you an example...
I work for Contoso. I login to my corporate laptop using my contoso\flanakin credentials provided by AD. That's great. When I'm mobile, I may log into Outlook Web Access (OWA), which uses the same credentials. Alternatively, I may open Outlook, which, of course, uses the same credentials. Now, say I need to VPN into the network from a personal computer. Nowadays, I'll use a smart card to VPN in; however, once I get in, I'll have to re-authenticate with every individual resource. A few examples might be the SharePoint sites I use for the project I'm working on, internal collaboration sites, and my internal weblog. Honestly, I could give a hundred different types of internal resources, but you get the idea.
Currently, Windows needs 3 things to save your credentials: username, password, and the resource you're accessing. I want to change this in two fundamental ways. First, let me name the credential set. This way, I can specify contoso\flanakin as my Contoso Corporate Account. This may not be a huge deal, but it'd be nice to have a simple name. Second, allow me to add a group of resources to the access list for this credential set. This is obviously the key to what I'm really looking for. The value of this lies in the simple fact that, when I have to manage my credentials, I can change one and all of them will be able to acknowledge and use that change. This would be invaluable to me and anyone who uses a lot of access-controlled resources.
There are so many times when I've wanted to see a new web page in Windows Mobile, but not leave the existing page. *sigh* If only Mobile IE had tabbed browsing.
In the IE7 betas I've tried, sites that exist in different zones cannot be opened in the same window. This is a very big annoyance that can lead to pop-up hell. One instance that drove me crazy was when I had a site that used Windows Live (WL) Accounts as a trusted site and not the actual WL sign-in page. First, since I use tabbed browsing as much as possible and opened the trusted site in a window with tabs already open, the trusted site was redirected to a new, trusted window (window count: 2). When I clicked the sign-in link, the WL sign-in page was opened in a new, non-trusted window (window count: 3). After I sign-in, I'm redirected to the original site, which is trusted and must be in a trusted window. So, what happens? Yet another window and I'm finally logged into the site. That's 4 windows just to get logged into a site. I had to do it again just to be sure I didn't do something wrong.
One feature that I love with Firefox is the ability to opt out of password reminders for any given site. This is useful for those sites a user may feel contains information too valuable to provide such quick and easy access to.
I haven't posted feedback in a few weeks, but I have a back-log of suggestions I want to get posted, so I'll try to keep it up a bit more. To start, I'll bring up an annoyance I have with IE. As I'm sure you know, IE7 introduced tabbed browsing. Unfortunately, the default install of IE7 isn't setup for full usage of this great feature. This seems stupid to me. If you're going to introduce a, dare I say, revolutionary new feature, you should encourage its use by enabling it by default. I just don't see any reason not to. Anyway, IE has 3 options when determining how you want pop-ups handled: new window, new tab, or let the browser decide. While I'm almost ready to say that I want them all forced into new tabs, this might cause more problems than it would help, which is why I always let the browser handle it. I have to say that I'm very satisfied so far, but I just don't understand why it's not the default setting.
I'm not sure if this is in Windows Vista (RC1) or Internet Explorer, but for some reason, when I attempt to download an offline course, I’m getting the following error:
Path/File access error (75)http://offline.microsoftelearning.com/themes/olp/html/includes/popup.js
This works without fail in XP with IE7. Retry doesn’t seem to affect it any and neither does closing open applications (not that I expected it to). I also tried to add the site to the Trusted Sites group, but that didn’t seem to work, either.
When downloading files or accepting ActiveX components in a web page, IE forces the page to refresh. This refresh can change the state of the website, which is very annoying and can occasionally, result in an endless loop, never allowing you to get what you need done. I've actually had this endless loop problem on MSDN subscriber downloads, which makes it even worse. This instance was because of frames, if that helps.
I believe Firefox has the same refresh requirement, but I'm not sure. Theirs is different, tho. Obviously, they don't use ActiveX, so that's not an issue. Instead, their acceptance comes with installing extensions -- the equivalent to ActiveX controls. When you install a new extension, you have to approve the site you're downloading it from. I can't remember if this forces a complete refresh or if it simply means you have to click the link again. Either way, it's pointless.
I'm assuming that IE handles ActiveX by removing the HTML from the page before displaying it. There has got to be a way to dynamically re-insert this HTML after the ActiveX has been approved. Popups might be a bit harder, because they're all about scripting that's getting blocked. As far as I can think of, there's no way to tell what scripts have run which led to the popup being called. On top of that, attempting to run the scripts again may corrupt the data or cause other data integrity issues. Actually, I guess the scripts can be parsed to determine their meaning, but that would be a major effort and wouldn't even touch on the second issue.
All-in-all, I'm not sure how much can be done about this, but something needs to change. I'd love to take this on as a project, but I think I need to tackle a few other simpler IE extensions, first.
I love tabbed browsing, plain and simple. I just can't live without it. There is one thing, however, that's become an issue. For simplicity in explaining the situation, I'll use a scenario that we all use (or, at least should be using): Microsoft Update.
First thing's first, make sure you have 2+ tabs open. Next, browse to Microsoft Update, select at least one update to install, and start the installation. When Microsoft Update starts the install, a dialog box appears. As it should, this dialog box doesn't allow you to interact with its parent page. Unfortunately, it doesn't let you interact with any page. This should be changed so dialog boxes only limit your access to the web page and not the entire application (IE). Primarily, I want to be able to switch tabs and do other things while the download/install is in progress. Currently, to do this, I must open Microsoft Update in its own window.
When you view source in Internet Explorer, Notepad typically comes up. Now, I know you can customize this, and that's great. The problem is, why should it be a customization you have to make? I think IE should know enough to format and colorize the source.
On a side, but related note, if you want to beat Firefox in this respect, make the damn thing editable, too. I hate that about firefox. While its color coding and inline search make the source viewer great to work with, there are times I want to edit it -- even if it's a small format change to make it easier to read. I get aggravated every time I try that.
Anyone who has seen me work or watched my blog for a while knows I'm all about productivity. I love finding new utilities that help me do my job faster. One thing that does that is Firefox's bookmark keywords. Let me explain how Firefox bookmarks work...
There are four properties for each bookmark: name, location, keyword, and description. The name and location are obvious -- the name in the favorite/bookmark list and the URL it links to. The keyword is simply a shortcut that you can type in your address bar. IE allows you to type the name, which is the spirit of the idea, but still not quite. The nice thing about a separate keyword is that it allows you to type m instead of microsoft or microsoft.com. For sites you visit often, this is invaluable. To go one step beyond the keyword support, Firefox also allows the user to specify a parameter in the location. So, for instance, I can create a bookmark called Windows Live with a location of http://live.com?q=%s and a keyword of live. This bookmark allows me to type in live michael flanakin and do a search for michael flanakin. This feature is absolutely awesome. It saves SOOO much time it's not even funny.
Now, I know some people will say to either click the favorite in the menu, add a favorite to the toolbar, or even utilize the IE7 search provider; but the problem with all of these answers is that I have to take my hands off the keybord, which is wasted time. For those of you who are more mouse-oriented, you just won't understand the benefits of keyboard access and how fast it can make you.
Just to give a few examples about how I use it, let me list off the sites that I have setup this way: IMDB, TV.com, .NET class library, and Wikipedia. If you've seen my website, you know I'm big into movies and TV shows, which explains the first two. I hate going to their sites, clicking the search box, and typing what I want. I'd much rather skip all those steps and type everything in a split second. Next, as a developer, being able to specify .NET classes and/or namespaces can bring up the help for them instantaneously. For those interested, here's my location: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/%s.aspx. This resolves to the real URL, whether its a class or namespace. Finally, I'm sure you all know that Wikipedia can be a great resource for just about anything. I would link to Live, but I use the search box for that.
I've tried to move away from Firefox, which is why you'll probably see a lot of posts about suggestions for IE; but if I was using Firefox full-time, I'd probably have Live Local and a few others in there, too.
Here's a fairly simple one: add support for Ctrl+Backspace to the search textbox. As a dev-type, I use a lot of shortcuts. The Ctrl key is one of the most widely used typing shortcuts in my arsenal (i.e. Ctrl+ arrow key, Home, End, Backspace). Instead of the intended action, I get those stupid little squares I hate.
One of my favorite features of Firefox is that you can do inline searches without a popup. Not only that, but it supports the standard F3 shortcut, which IE doesn't.
For those who haven't seen Firefox's text search, it's a small bar the is displayed directly above the status bar. As you type letters, it searches for the next occurrence of what you've typed so far. For instance, if you want to find "Michael", you start by pressing "M". Once you do that, the first "M" (case insensitive, unless you select that option) is highlighted with a bright green background. Next, you type "i" and the first occurrence of "Mi" after the current cursor location is selected. This continues as you type the rest of your phrase. This feature is absolutely awesome.