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Don't like Camino 2.1 location bar autocomplete behavior

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morgannagrom
 
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Post Posted December 1st, 2011, 11:16 am

I love lots of things about this new release, but not the changes to the URL autocomplete. I greatly preferred the simplicity of how it used to work, and it was one of my favorite things about Camino vs. other browsers. Now it's a mess and much less helpful, in my opinion. Is there a hidden setting or someway to revert to its previous behavior?
Thanks
Last edited by morgannagrom on December 1st, 2011, 6:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

morgannagrom
 
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Post Posted December 1st, 2011, 5:30 pm

I love lots of things about this new release, but not the changes to the URL autocomplete. I greatly preferred the simplicity of how it used to work, and it was one of my favorite things about Camino vs. other browsers. Now it's a mess and much less helpful, in my opinion. Is there a hidden setting or someway to revert to its previous behavior?
Thanks

phiw13
 
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Post Posted December 1st, 2011, 6:46 pm

Out of curiosity, what is it exactly you don't like?

(and no, there is no pref to revert to the old behavior)

morgannagrom
 
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Post Posted December 1st, 2011, 9:56 pm

I don't like that it searches through all my bookmarks (or at least that it weights them so highly, even if it's been forever since I visited one.)

I especially don't like that it searches the webpage title text. I'm typing into a URL field, therefore I expect it to be searching URLs only. If I want to search page titles, that can be done in the bookmark manager page or the history page.

I don't like that there are only 10 results listed. And I don't like that the URL on the listed matches is over to the right. It should line up with where I'm typing in the URL (to the left) the title should be to the right.

Basically, it should work the way it used to work. It made sense before. Now it's muddled, trying to do too many things at once and has become less useful in the process.

As I stated before, the location bar behavior is (or was) one of the biggest reasons I use Camino. For the reasons listed above, plus I like that it doesn't autocomplete within the URL field (like Safari does), and I like that it doesn't select the entire URL on the first click of the current URL (like Firefox does.)

If Camino keeps becoming more like all the other browsers, why should I use it?

Maybe I'm the only one who doesn't like the location bar changes. But seeing as it's such a big part of using a web browser, it's a really important piece. And frankly, I think this version of Camino broke it. I'd help work on this if I could, but it's been years since I wrote much code and I don't think my skills are up to it. I guess I'll revert back one version and make do for as long as I can. :(

Ok... end of rant.

Uncle Asad
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Post Posted December 2nd, 2011, 1:33 am

First, thanks for providing more details about what you don't like; it's difficult to respond to "I don't like the new thing" type posts, but it's much easier--and always helpful--when there are specific issues and use-cases provided; it makes it easier for us to understand your needs (and sometimes we can come up with an alternate solution that still addresses the problem).

Second, just to "start" off by saying, we've put a lot of thought and effort into the improved autocomplete feature, and went through a lot of back-and-forth and tweaking of it during the development of 2.1 in response to issues and concerns by users of the nightly builds and milestones.

That said, we also know that we can't please everyone, nor can we configure everything, and we certainly can't do those things and still be “Camino”, so we try to find a good medium and sane defaults.

(Also, I understand that you characterized your post as a rant ;) , but I'm going to do my best to approach it as constructive feedback--you did provide some reasons/details/usage patterns for most of your issues, which I think characterizes your comments as constructive feedback--and try to explain some of our reasoning/process behind how the feature is what it is today.)

morgannagrom wrote:I don't like that it searches through all my bookmarks (or at least that it weights them so highly, even if it's been forever since I visited one.)

One of the things we fixed specifically was high rankings for bookmarks that hadn't been visited recently (that was one of my complaints about one of the iterations, in fact), so I'm surprised this is happening to you. Can you give an example of a result set that does this (don't need actual URLs, etc., but rather their metadata: date bookmarked, last visited, visit count…)? If we can get some good data, we ought to be able to prevent it from happening in whatever case it is that's triggering the problem for you.

morgannagrom wrote:I especially don't like that it searches the webpage title text. I'm typing into a URL field, therefore I expect it to be searching URLs only. If I want to search page titles, that can be done in the bookmark manager page or the history page.

Searching titles (and bookmarks in general) were two of our oldest and most requested features on file. Also, most people don't speak "URL", and matching on more things makes autocomplete more useful to them.

morgannagrom wrote:I don't like that there are only 10 results listed. And I don't like that the URL on the listed matches is over to the right. It should line up with where I'm typing in the URL (to the left) the title should be to the right.

Your concern with the URL's position in the results window was also one of the things we debated strongly when designing and implementing this feature. Ultimately, we felt that titles were easier for most users to relate to and make the autocomplete window more accessible. After more than a year of using this feature, I've found it does make it much easier for me to pick out the URL I'm looking for (I was one of the URL-on-the-left faction during the design phase). I know it's a trite saying, but please try to give it some time and see if you become used to the new behavior or can find some advantages to it.

As for the limit of 10, we chose that to keep the list from being overwhelming (both visually and in terms of parsing the results mentally). A couple of times a week I run into a situation where what I'm looking for doesn't make it into the top 10 results and refining my search term doesn't help, so I'm personally not necessarily opposed to expanding the number of results slightly, though 1) it wouldn't be an increase of very many results and 2) I don't know if I could win that argument with the rest of the dev team or not.

morgannagrom wrote:Maybe I'm the only one who doesn't like the location bar changes.

You're the first person we've heard from who has had this many objections to the new behavior; whether you're alone, I don't know. We've gotten lots of complaints and feedback--though not as much as I had expected--about various behaviors over the course of 2.1 development, and we did try to address them (although we did not solve all of them).

morgannagrom wrote:But seeing as it's such a big part of using a web browser, it's a really important piece.

We've tried to make it a lot better because it is so central, and I'm sorry it's not better for you :-(

As I said earlier, please do try to give it some time; I know first-hand that it's a big adjustment (and yes, that's easy for me to say, since I've had over a year to get adjusted and stop cursing most parts of it). And if you have any more specific feedback, please do let us know; we can't make it perfect for everyone, but we can try to accomodate lots of uses (within reason) and we have other bugs still on file with things that we still want to tweak/fix.

morgannagrom wrote:I guess I'll revert back one version and make do for as long as I can. :(

Camino 2.0.9 is officially unsupported now and will no longer receive security updates, so please keep that in mind when choosing a browser.
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hhills
 
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Post Posted December 2nd, 2011, 12:01 pm

I found morgannagrom's comment searching for a way to revert to the old autocomplete. Like him, I am very grateful for Camino.

But I agree with him. It used to be very easy to navigate to sites without even reading the autocompleted URL, by just hitting a down arrow and Return. For example, I could just type "m" and the autocomplete used to fill out mail.yahoo.com--but now what comes up first for me is nytimes.com, probably because I visit it more and the word "multimedia" is in the title <title>The New York Times - Breaking News, World News &amp; Multimedia</title> and Camino is searching/weighting differently (not just by what will complete the string.)

I liked it the old way, but will get used to it I suppose.

morgannagrom
 
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Post Posted December 2nd, 2011, 12:33 pm

Thanks for your reply. Glad to know someone is listening. :) Sorry I wasn't able to provide feedback on the development builds. I know it can be annoying to hear complaints after things are supposed to have been already worked out.

One of the things we fixed specifically was high rankings for bookmarks that hadn't been visited recently (that was one of my complaints about one of the iterations, in fact), so I'm surprised this is happening to you. Can you give an example of a result set that does this (don't need actual URLs, etc., but rather their metadata: date bookmarked, last visited, visit count…)? If we can get some good data, we ought to be able to prevent it from happening in whatever case it is that's triggering the problem for you.


How/where can I view those data? (last visited, visit count, etc.) I'm not seeing it anywhere obvious to me.

Anecdotally, I can tell you that when I type "en" into the location bar, "http://geyserofawesome.com/" comes up as the first match, a site from my bookmarks which I had completely forgotten about -- while "http://www.engadget.com/", a site that I visit every day comes up after that one. There's no way that first one should come up before a site I visit every day.

Searching titles (and bookmarks in general) were two of our oldest and most requested features on file. Also, most people don't speak "URL", and matching on more things makes autocomplete more useful to them.


I guess this is the root of my biggest problem with the changes. I do speak URL. And I expect a URL field to search for URLs, not text. That type of functionality seems better suited to the browser's search box (or somewhere else.) I realize that many other browsers incorporate it into the URL field, but I don't think that means it's the best solution.

Your concern with the URL's position in the results window was also one of the things we debated strongly when designing and implementing this feature. Ultimately, we felt that titles were easier for most users to relate to and make the autocomplete window more accessible. After more than a year of using this feature, I've found it does make it much easier for me to pick out the URL I'm looking for (I was one of the URL-on-the-left faction during the design phase). I know it's a trite saying, but please try to give it some time and see if you become used to the new behavior or can find some advantages to it.


Again, for those of us that actually look at the URLs for navigation, it's not going to get much better with time. Many sites use titles well, but there are just as many that don't; using the same title across all/many of their pages, or have titles that aren't very useful for other reasons. I often find myself editing the title text when making a new bookmark because the title tells so little about the page.

As for the limit of 10, we chose that to keep the list from being overwhelming (both visually and in terms of parsing the results mentally). A couple of times a week I run into a situation where what I'm looking for doesn't make it into the top 10 results and refining my search term doesn't help, so I'm personally not necessarily opposed to expanding the number of results slightly, though 1) it wouldn't be an increase of very many results and 2) I don't know if I could win that argument with the rest of the dev team or not.


Why not let the list scroll like it used to?

As I said earlier, please do try to give it some time; I know first-hand that it's a big adjustment (and yes, that's easy for me to say, since I've had over a year to get adjusted and stop cursing most parts of it). And if you have any more specific feedback, please do let us know; we can't make it perfect for everyone, but we can try to accomodate lots of uses (within reason) and we have other bugs still on file with things that we still want to tweak/fix


Figuring out the weighting issue I mentioned above would be a big first step towards being able to use this new version. An old bookmark should never trump an often-visited page.

Beyond that, if I could change only one thing, it would be to have the ability to turn off title text search. I know I've said it multiple times, but here's another example of why this doesn't make sense to me...
Here's a test I just did in Firefox:
type "e" into the location bar
top result is engadget.com - That makes sense. It starts with "e" and I visit it often.
second result is cnn.com - Why? Because the title (maybe not even currently, but at some point in the past) has "Breaking News" in it, which contains 2 "e"s in it. I visit that site often, but "e" has nothing to do with CNN. It does not make sense.

Honestly, who would start typing "e" into their location bar and expect to have CNN come up so highly? I think this is a case of trying to make the browser smarter but it ends up dumber instead. You'd have to put in all sorts of extra rules, like weighting words that start with "e" instead of only containing "e", etc etc, before you'd make up for this dumbing-down effect.

Camino 2.0.9 is officially unsupported now and will no longer receive security updates, so please keep that in mind when choosing a browser.


I know, which makes me sad.

morgannagrom
 
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Post Posted December 2nd, 2011, 2:00 pm

Simplifying the problem even more: Search vs. auto-complete.

It used to be auto-complete. But now it has been replaced by search.

I want auto-complete functionality back.

Uncle Asad
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Post Posted December 2nd, 2011, 3:15 pm

morgannagrom wrote:Thanks for your reply. Glad to know someone is listening. :) Sorry I wasn't able to provide feedback on the development builds. I know it can be annoying to hear complaints after things are supposed to have been already worked out.

I read your entire reply (and that from hhills, too), but I'm only going to respond to a couple of parts of it right now :-)

morgannagrom wrote:
Can you give an example of a result set that does this (don't need actual URLs, etc., but rather their metadata: date bookmarked, last visited, visit count…)? If we can get some good data, we ought to be able to prevent it from happening in whatever case it is that's triggering the problem for you.

How/where can I view those data? (last visited, visit count, etc.) I'm not seeing it anywhere obvious to me.

Sorry. Find your bookmark in the Bookmark Manager. Cmd-I (or View: Show Bookmark Info), then switch to the "Visits" tab. That has last visited and visit count (we don't actually keep date bookmarked). For something that's (also or only) in history, switch to the History collection in the Bookmarks Manager, and you'll see first (within the limits of your days-to-keep-history) and last visit. I believe Gecko stores number of visits internally in its history database, but we don't expose that info in the UI (bug 521526); we'll have to write something to get that info out.

morgannagrom wrote:Anecdotally, I can tell you that when I type "en" into the location bar, "http://geyserofawesome.com/" comes up as the first match, a site from my bookmarks which I had completely forgotten about -- while "http://www.engadget.com/", a site that I visit every day comes up after that one. There's no way that first one should come up before a site I visit every day.

Agreed. Something's wrong in this case.

morgannagrom wrote:I know I've said it multiple times, but here's another example of why this doesn't make sense to me...
Here's a test I just did in Firefox:
type "e" into the location bar
top result is engadget.com - That makes sense. It starts with "e" and I visit it often.
second result is cnn.com - Why? Because the title (maybe not even currently, but at some point in the past) has "Breaking News" in it, which contains 2 "e"s in it. I visit that site often, but "e" has nothing to do with CNN. It does not make sense.

Honestly, who would start typing "e" into their location bar and expect to have CNN come up so highly? I think this is a case of trying to make the browser smarter but it ends up dumber instead. You'd have to put in all sorts of extra rules, like weighting words that start with "e" instead of only containing "e", etc etc, before you'd make up for this dumbing-down effect.

That's one of the reasons we specifically didn't use the Firefox methods; random hits in the middle of words/url components made absolutely no sense to us. ;-) We only match on strings starting at word boundaries.
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morgannagrom
 
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Post Posted December 2nd, 2011, 7:59 pm

Sorry. Find your bookmark in the Bookmark Manager. Cmd-I (or View: Show Bookmark Info), then switch to the "Visits" tab. That has last visited and visit count (we don't actually keep date bookmarked). For something that's (also or only) in history, switch to the History collection in the Bookmarks Manager, and you'll see first (within the limits of your days-to-keep-history) and last visit. I believe Gecko stores number of visits internally in its history database, but we don't expose that info in the UI (bug 521526); we'll have to write something to get that info out.


The old bookmark says it has 8 visits, last visited today (I was testing it then, I guess) December 2, 2011 12:28.38 PM.

"www.engadget.com" isn't bookmarked, but the history record say it was last visited "Today 8:51 PM" and a first visit of "Yesterday 6:47 PM" which is definitely not the first time I visited that URL, so something is off. I wondered if my whole browsing history was deleted when I upgraded to 2.1, but that can't be true because the history page is showing visits back to Nov 25th, well before I upgraded. This doesn't add up.

morgannagrom
 
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Post Posted December 2nd, 2011, 8:07 pm

After further testing I can confirm that part of but not all of my browser's history is gone. Sites that used to come up in auto-complete, but that I haven't visited within a week, no longer come up at all. :?

phiw13
 
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Post Posted December 2nd, 2011, 8:19 pm

morgannagrom wrote:After further testing I can confirm that part of but not all of my browser's history is gone. Sites that used to come up in auto-complete, but that I haven't visited within a week, no longer come up at all. :?

That shouldn't have happened. Are those sites still listed in the history manager ? (I assume that Preferences > History is set to keep for longer than a week…)

Do you happen to have a back-up of your profile from before you upgraded to Camino 2.1 ? Time machine ?
In that case could you, as a test,
  1. quit Camino
  2. move your profile (~/Library/Application Support/Camino) to a safe place
  3. swap in the back-up profile
  4. launch Camino and visit the history manager to see what is there.

unzilla
 
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Post Posted December 2nd, 2011, 9:12 pm

I am in complete agreement with morgannagrom on all counts.

The new method runs counter to common sense. I type in a letter, e.g., "w" and get results that start with "a" or "g" or "m." Sites often choose page titles that have no relationship to their URLs.

I am doubly disappointed that Uncle Asad does not see the validity of morgannagrom's comments. This is evidently a lost cause.

David
Last edited by unzilla on December 3rd, 2011, 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

J_M_C
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Post Posted December 3rd, 2011, 8:37 am

I was searching around for a way to turn off the new location bar features and found this forum topic. One of the many reasons I prefer Camino over Firefox has been that the location bar is much simpler and more usable. I don't want page titles or bookmarks searched (they're bookmarked for a reason), and I just want to see URLs when I start typing (they're not directly underneath what I type anymore). It used to be very quick to recall a page by typing a small fragment of the URL - now I'm having to wade through a lot of results and type a lot more to get to where I want. All the benefits of the autocomplete have gone.

Unfortunately, while I appreciate all the hard work that went into adding the improved location bar, it's been a backwards step for me and I'm disappointed there's no way to turn it off and revert to a "classic" style. Please can I suggest adding some preferences options for: searching bookmarks, searching page titles and showing just URLs (or just titles, for those that way inclined)?

Apart from this, I'm enjoying the 2.1 release so don't want to come across too negative or ungrateful - it's just that quite a heavily used feature of the browser is now almost completely unusable for me and I can't revert it :-(

morgannagrom
 
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Post Posted December 3rd, 2011, 2:34 pm

phiw13, I do have a backup. I'll try reverting back as you suggested and running some more tests to narrow down the issue. I've got a busy weekend, though... might be a few days before I have time to futz with it.

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