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Sensible Download Manager Discussion

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unruly

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 10:45 am

I'm glad there's consideration for other OS'es other than windows here... :rolleyes:

I'm not complaining about the DM, it's functional, easy to understand, and reduces clutter. In it's current incarnation, I'd go so far as to say it's great.

I have no qualms about having it optionally showing up in a new tab or as it is now (a new window). I think the animations, minimize to tray, etc, are all being shortsighted of the fact that this has to be a cross-platform change, and those ideas puts the firefox team in a sticky position.

The obvious cleanup and optimization of the DM is always handy. I really don't see what is so fundamentally wrong with it, right now. It most certainly beats the pants off of the Mozilla Suite version.

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 10:54 am

I disagree - if such functionality is to be added it should be a visible pref. Something like "Animate downloads in download manager/" If it's checked, current behavior. If it's not, then all the code will do is fill up the bar by quarters, i.e. when the download is 25% finished the bar jumps to 25%, etc etc etc.

It's also not what I was talking about... I was actually referring to the popup message in the bottom right of the screen that says "Downloads have finished" or whatever. That apparently causes slowdown for some people... currently you can turn it off, but it'd be better to also be able to have it without animation.

GIF animation is a hidden pref, so really, this should be too.

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 10:55 am

vfwlkr wrote:
TheOneKEA wrote:I disagree - if such functionality is to be added it should be a visible pref. Something like "Animate downloads in download manager/" If it's checked, current behavior. If it's not, then all the code will do is fill up the bar by quarters, i.e. when the download is 25% finished the bar jumps to 25%, etc etc etc.


That goes against the very basic design principles of firefox.

Not adding this kind of UI is the primary distinguishing factor between seamonkey and firefox.


You do have a point, but what's the point of creating yet another hidden pref that very few people will want to manipulate directly? If an extension was released which added to the DM functionality and also added a UI for this pref, would that be acceptable?
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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 11:35 am

IGAU wrote:Since most of the posts about the new Download Manager (DM) are filled with

...

1) DM pops up over...
2) It's not easy to...
3) When you exit...
4) Cleaning up the...

...
Anyway, that's my opinion and set of ideas. Let's get some sensible discussion going.


5) The download manager opens a new window, which is opposite behaviour of most other things in Firefox. The ability to open bookmarks and history in a convinient sidebar is great, as was the support for viewing downloads in the sidebar in Mozilla Firebird 0.7. The Firebird 0.7 downloader was limited in many ways, and this new download manager is a great improvement. It would be appreciated if this new download manager could be placed into the sidebar like that old one.

A temporary solution to this was suggested by 'Rexy' in <A HREF='http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?t=50994'>this thread</A>. As you can see from trying this, there are no real problems with the download manager being placed in the sidebar like this; no functionality or usability is lost.

I suggest that a simple change is made to allow Firefox to open the download manager in the sidebar. Alternatively, I think the 'open in a new tab' idea I have seen around here is another possible solution.
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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 11:50 am

I like that. Maybe a GUI drop down would be sufficient for setting it.. something like:

"Download Manager opens in"
[A Window]
[A Tab]
[The Sidebar]

With some or all of the other improvements mentioned, I think this would change most people's minds about the new DM.

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 11:58 am

I think a lot of these issues could be solved if there was an option to disable the DM allthogther and make Fx revert back to the "old way" of downloading.

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 12:08 pm

I think a lot of these issues could be solved if there was an option to disable the DM allthogther and make Fx revert back to the "old way" of downloading.

With all due respect, that isn't really the point of this topic. I dont see that happening unless it's done via an extension. The point is how to improve what we have now, as it can be far better than simply reverting to the old methods if some key refinements are made.

I think the animations, minimize to tray, etc, are all being shortsighted of the fact that this has to be a cross-platform change, and those ideas puts the firefox team in a sticky position.

That's why I qualified it with cross-platform equivilent. I dont have good knowledge of non-Windows operating systems, but plenty do. It's an open discussion, so by all means keep us in check.

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 12:17 pm

Personally, I don't mind the new download manager, and don't much care how it looks, either. I would have The Browser Formerly Known As Firebird be consistent in look and feel WITH ITSELF across platforms, rather than trying to blend in with what are oftentimes very ugly system themes (both Mac OS X and Windows XP have GUI themes that have a lot of issues). For instance, I detest the new default theme on the Mac Fire*, and really, really wish they made Qute an option available from the prefs. But I can still change this using themes, so it isn't a huge deal.

Maybe alternative download managers are available via extension (I don't much care about the download interface, as long as it works), and if not then having such should adequately address this issue, it seems to me.
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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 12:55 pm

IGAU wrote:I like that. Maybe a GUI drop down would be sufficient for setting it.. something like:

"Download Manager opens in"
[A Window]
[A Tab]
[The Sidebar]

With some or all of the other improvements mentioned, I think this would change most people's minds about the new DM.


Precisely. That would be an excellent improvement.
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esavior

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 1:03 pm

The biggest problem I have with the DM is if you have the option on to remove X item from the list upon completion, there is no way to execute said file, with out opening up mycomputer etc. So my suggestion would be an option of "Open on completion"
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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 2:23 pm

esavior wrote:The biggest problem I have with the DM is if you have the option on to remove X item from the list upon completion, there is no way to execute said file, with out opening up mycomputer etc. So my suggestion would be an option of "Open on completion"


WHOA.

That makes it damnably easy to run spyware and virii. I wouldn't want a feature like that available, even as a hidden pref.
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esavior

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 2:24 pm

lol I will just write an extension to do it.

Though I think if you added a prompt saying, This finished downloaind would you like to run it now, it wouldnt be any less dangerous than, the Launch button Firebird had before. So I think what I meant to say is prompt to open on completion.
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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 2:56 pm

IGAU wrote:I figured it'd probably be better (if we want to be seriously listened to) to start a nice, clean, fresh post


You raise some good points. When I implemented the new download manager I integrated a large number of hidden prefs that allow people to have a fine control over behavior. It would be interesting to see someone make an extension that exposes some of these prefs, and perhaps adds some other functions, so that we can all get a feel for how they work. If certain aspects of such an extension become essential, we can easily merge them into the default. One thing I like to have is a prototype to play with. The current download manager is modeled to an extent on Safari's, which was the "prototype" I had to play with to get a feel for the UI ;-)

1) DM pops up over whatever I'm doing when I click a download link, either in another application or within Firefox. This only happens if there is no download running already. I think this is possibly intended behavior so that users realise that something is actually happening.

Possible solution: GUI checkbox to start the DM minimised for those that would prefer it.


Interesting idea... not something I'd expose in the default GUI necessarily (but another good stealth option) but this requires something I don't think our toolkit supports currently - ability to open windows in the background.

2) It's not easy to check the individual status of a download when you have multiple downloads running, whereas with the old system you could just look in the taskbar. If Firefox is open, then you could use something like the download statusbar extension, but if you've closed it / have other windows open on top, it's not as easy.

Possible solutions: Tooltip display of downloads when hovering over DM in the taskbar.
Context menu display on right click on DM in the taskbar.
Systray (& cross-platform equivilent?) icon with either of the two methods mentioned above.
This is really not an easy one... but possibly the most important / talked about that I've seen.


Agreed, this is a challenging issue. This is probably an entire topic in and of itself.

3) When you exit Firefox and have the download manager hidden, it prompts you that proceeding will cancel current downloads. Whether cross-session support will solve this or not, I dont know. Obviously the intention is to prevent the user screwing up their downloads by closing Firefox.


You're right this will be replaced by cross-session support when we get time to work on this... in the mean time your idea of popping up the download manager is an interesting one... one I kind of like. It at least gives you the opportunity to see exactly which files you were downloading, in case you've forgotten.

4) Cleaning up the download history. I think there should be an added option to wipe the download history when a user closes the DM... I have no use for a download history, and I've heard similar comments. While it can be achieved on closing Firefox, I dont tend to close it a lot.


Another interesting idea. It'd be cool to see someone do a prototype of this in an extension. ;-)

-Ben

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 3:08 pm

bengoodger wrote:
IGAU wrote:I figured it'd probably be better (if we want to be seriously listened to) to start a nice, clean, fresh post


You raise some good points. When I implemented the new download manager I integrated a large number of hidden prefs that allow people to have a fine control over behavior. It would be interesting to see someone make an extension that exposes some of these prefs, and perhaps adds some other functions, so that we can all get a feel for how they work. If certain aspects of such an extension become essential, we can easily merge them into the default. One thing I like to have is a prototype to play with. The current download manager is modeled to an extent on Safari's, which was the "prototype" I had to play with to get a feel for the UI ;-)


Hmmmm. Now that the Fox is out and about, hopefully such an extension will appear ;)

1) DM pops up over whatever I'm doing when I click a download link, either in another application or within Firefox. This only happens if there is no download running already. I think this is possibly intended behavior so that users realise that something is actually happening.

Possible solution: GUI checkbox to start the DM minimised for those that would prefer it.


Interesting idea... not something I'd expose in the default GUI necessarily (but another good stealth option) but this requires something I don't think our toolkit supports currently - ability to open windows in the background.


Which toolkit? XUL or Win32/GTK2?

2) It's not easy to check the individual status of a download when you have multiple downloads running, whereas with the old system you could just look in the taskbar. If Firefox is open, then you could use something like the download statusbar extension, but if you've closed it / have other windows open on top, it's not as easy.

Possible solutions: Tooltip display of downloads when hovering over DM in the taskbar.
Context menu display on right click on DM in the taskbar.
Systray (& cross-platform equivilent?) icon with either of the two methods mentioned above.
This is really not an easy one... but possibly the most important / talked about that I've seen.


Agreed, this is a challenging issue. This is probably an entire topic in and of itself.


How hard would the context menu idea be?

3) When you exit Firefox and have the download manager hidden, it prompts you that proceeding will cancel current downloads. Whether cross-session support will solve this or not, I dont know. Obviously the intention is to prevent the user screwing up their downloads by closing Firefox.


You're right this will be replaced by cross-session support when we get time to work on this... in the mean time your idea of popping up the download manager is an interesting one... one I kind of like. It at least gives you the opportunity to see exactly which files you were downloading, in case you've forgotten.


Would it also be possible to change the Download Manager so that it can be the ONLY window open? i.e. close all main Firefox windows but leave the DM itself open. You could also add a respawn button to the DM to reopen a Firefox window.

4) Cleaning up the download history. I think there should be an added option to wipe the download history when a user closes the DM... I have no use for a download history, and I've heard similar comments. While it can be achieved on closing Firefox, I dont tend to close it a lot.


Another interesting idea. It'd be cool to see someone do a prototype of this in an extension. ;-)

-Ben
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inferno

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 3:17 pm

I think it is premature to discuss design when it doesn't yet even work properly AS designed !

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