site-centric permission/feature manager

Discussion of features in Mozilla Firefox
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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 3:10 pm

Mozilla/Firefox support site-specific permissions for popup windows, images and cookies. Each of these are managed through "function-centric" dialogs, i.e. one dialog for popups, one for images etc.

When the browser blocks a popup, it displays an !-icon in the status bar. Clicking on this opens a dialog where you can add the current site to a white-list of sites that are allowed to open popups. This is fine. But it also shows all other sites on this white-list, and it allows you to remove these from the list. This isn't relevant to the current page and thus probably shouldn't be in a dialog that opens from a page-related icon.

Another example: Assume you have blocked all cookies. When visiting a site you may want to enable cookies for this specific site. In order to do this you have to go to the cookie manager and enter the hostname of the site, you are currently visiting. Likewise, if you want to see or delete cookies for the site, you are currently visiting, you also have to find the site in a list of cookies for all sites. And likewise with the password manager.

I would like a "site-centric" interface for these functions. When I am visiting a site I should be able to open a single dialog that allows be to view/delete cookies, block/unblock cookies/popups etc. The dialog should contain settings for the current site and all hosts that are used in a page for images, iframes etc. The same dialog could contain settings for all hosts that has site-specific settings (like the popup manager has today) but the current site should be selected by default, and other hosts that are used in the current page for images, iframes should also be listed at the top.

Currently there are settings that are global for all sites, e.g.
enable/disable javascript, enable/disable specific javascript features, enable/disable java and font size. Sometimes it could be useful to make exceptions for these global settings for a particular site. These local exceptions logically belongs in the site-specific dialog. (Perhaps the text zoom setting done using CTRL+Num+ and CTRL+Num- could automatically be stored per site.)

A local exception would also solve some of the issues mentioned pro and con a global setting in e.g. <a href="">bug 86193</a> (allow pages to disable right-click context menu).

The site-specific settings dialog could also be used to specify the global settings. In this way the same interface could be used for specifying the global settings and making exceptions for them.

Today, when a popup is blocked, an !-icon is displayed in the status bar. This could also happen for some of the other things that can be blocked locally. E.g. an icon could appear when a cookie is blocked, or if a page includes javascript when javascript is disabled.

What do you think of these suggestions? Are there already bugs for some of them?



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Post Posted February 13th, 2004, 9:14 am

popups sucks always,

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Post Posted February 13th, 2004, 9:26 am

kwanbis wrote:popups sucks always

Perhaps, but sometimes they are necessary in order to use a certain site.

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Post Posted February 13th, 2004, 10:56 am

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Post Posted February 14th, 2004, 8:52 am

I have often thought a site based policy manger would be good, especially if it supported wildcards like * I think I might try hacking the web features pref panel and come up with some mock ups.
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Post Posted February 14th, 2004, 11:35 am

I think it would also be nice if you could click on the !-icon and then make an exception for this visit or one popup only. Because sometimes I just want to see one popup and not all popups from a site.


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Post Posted February 14th, 2004, 3:40 pm

yeah, i use the site-specific permissions a bunch in ie, but the menu is buried so far down it is a big hassle. I always surf with security on high, and when something doesn't work, I add the site to the medium security list. works well, but it's a hassle to use. now in firefox, i have to go turn javascript on and off all the time.

Also, i know with my popup stopper program, i can ctrl click on a link in a page in ie, and that allows just the one window to popup. that works really nicely.
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Post Posted February 14th, 2004, 3:55 pm

c960657: your points are certainly valid - when browsing, the user focus is on whatever site they are visiting, so it makes sense to make permissions site-oriented. However, when tweaking things in the main options dialog, I think the function-centric system is preferable (as you generally do not use that dialog with a specific site in mind, but with specific functions and perhaps several or every site in mind).

What I'm trying to say is that you should be able to click an icon in the status bar while browsing to set site-specific permissions for the current site, but you should be able to set permissions in a function-oriented way in the main options dialog. I know this would lead to a bit of UI inconsistency, but I think particularly the status bar icon would make more sense to your average user (who may steer well clear of the options dialog anyway): they see a site in the browser, they click an icon to tell the browser what that site is allowed to show them. I think that makes perfect sense.

Soong wrote:I think it would also be nice if you could click on the !-icon and then make an exception for this visit or one popup only. Because sometimes I just want to see one popup and not all popups from a site.

Definitely. There are plenty of sites I'll only ever go to once that utilise popups for whatever reason, and I need to unblock them to get whatever I'm looking for. The trouble is, that site gets added to my allowable list, which can quickly get too big to be manageable.

Where is the sense in cluttering your allowable sites list with sites you're never going to visit again? A one-time popup unblock ('show this popup' option) would be a really neat feature. To be honest, I'm surprised it's not there already.

On a related (if slightly off-topic) note, why don't we have the option of having an unobtrusive sound effect to inform us a popup has been blocked? I miss that icon all too often. I know IE is planning on doing this in the XP SP2 release. Not an annoying chime or anything - I'm thinking along the lines of that little thud you hear when 'find text as you type' doesn't find a match. Of course, you can turn it off if it bugs you! ;)

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Post Posted February 16th, 2004, 8:14 am

I agree with most of the points here. There should be an easy way to access a site centric permission manager.

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Post Posted March 4th, 2004, 10:33 pm

see my post here ... 900#415900

edit: sorry but i decided to cross post as no response in that thread.....
Last edited by AnonEmoose on March 6th, 2004, 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Posted March 6th, 2004, 5:02 pm

Mozilla does this really well. The "Tools" menu has site-specific controls for cookies, forms, images, popups, passwords. It's very convenient.

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Post Posted March 6th, 2004, 6:06 pm

I would like to request a Cookie blocker that blocks cookies in the same way that the popup blocker blocks popups. That is, that whenever a cookie asks to be set, it is automatically refused, and added to an icon in the statusbar. If a cookie is required, we can then go to the statusbar which displays the names of all the cookies blocked on the currently focused site, and allows us to individually unblock them.

As the only cookies I set are for certain logins and a couple of forums, this would save me alot of trouble to do it this way.
The FF source already has this, the location is in the comm.jar in the cookie folder. i am not sure why it is not enabled.......... Maybe someone can snoop around and fish the code out into an extension and/or figure out how to enable it....

I am NOT looking fo an extension to enable/disable cookies...what i am asking about is the TRIGGERING the cookie icon to be on the status bar when the conditons in the Cookie Manger were met as it was originally in the Moz Suite (just like the popup icon)....clicking that icon enabled me to manage cookies.....

On Netscape/Moz 1.4 it is enabled.....just looking to restore that functionality.....

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