Re: Epiphany strategy vs. Firefox

Hi! I noticed an unfinished draft for this, so am touching it up and
posting (at risk of looking like a maniac thread exorcist).

I think meeting Firefox 3's notable features could be quite easy for
Epiphany because its design is very flexible already. For example, I am
working on a patch to add a "quick bookmark" button, which creates a
bookmark with the page's name and a "Miscellaneous" tag on one click,
then pops up the bookmark editor on a second click. We already have most
of the stuff in place to replicate the feature :)
(By the way, feel free to finish that before me; I have never dealt with
Epiphany's source code before, and it's probably doable as an extension
for anyone who is used to the toolbar stuff).

In terms of GNOME integration, Firefox still only manages that visually,
on first glance. Most notable to me is how Firefox's RSS subscription
works (poorly, with a select few arbitrary programs listed to use) vs.
Epiphany's nice, extensible and platform fitting d-bus method.

On that topic of smooth operations, I think one spot Epiphany needs to
catch up is installing extensions. Perhaps there could be a default
extension that handles automatically downloading and installing them?

As for making Epiphany notable, I think it is important to get it
integrating with and showing off every GNOME feature under the sun!
(Well, not every one, but all the good ones). Epiphany definitely has
the benefit of being Only For GNOME, so we have a lot more freedom and
power to make this great than with a one-size-fits-all browser such as
The ability to write Extensions like plugins anywhere else (with a lot
of power available thanks to being written via a "real programming
language") is definitely beneficial in that integration department,
since the core browser has always been lightweight and I would suffer
much sadness were that to change. I have recently become a fan of
Empathy, and I understand there is talk of that being popped into
programs like Epiphany. It's that kind of thing that could really go a
long way.

Oh, as for crazy features: How about the browser being able to watch
changes for bookmarked pages? It could periodically check for changes,
and when such occurs, it could promote the bookmark somehow. That could
be done via RSS feeds and page scraping. Next step would be a fancy new
bookmarks interface that allows bookmarks to be promoted naturally when
they may be of interest to the user.


On Mon, 2008-04-07 at 09:40 +0100, Matthew Paul Thomas wrote:
> On Apr 2, 2008, at 5:49 AM, Steve Bergman wrote:
> >
> > On Wed, 2008-04-02 at 23:16 +1300, Matthew Paul Thomas wrote:
> >>
> >> However, the Epiphany team lacks programmers far more than it lacks 
> >> ideas. :-)
> >
> > If this has already been discussed to death on this list, please feel
> > free to ignore.  But that sounds like a serious problem.  What can be
> > done about it?  What potential effect, if any, does the WebKit decision
> > have upon this issue?  Should the project be recruiting PR people?  Or
> > not?
> I think if more people wrote, in more places, about small tasks that 
> new Epiphany contributors could work on, that could help.
> > Any chance of getting Epiphany included in the default install, or 
> > even as default browser, in more Linux distros? (Fedora comes to mind. 
> > Especially considering the WebKit move.  I wonder if Debian is tired 
> > of maintaining IceWeasel?)
> Speaking strictly for myself, and not for Canonical or the Ubuntu team:
> I think there is a parallel between Firefox vs. Epiphany in Linux-based 
> OSes now, and Internet Explorer vs. Safari on Mac OS X before 2005. In 
> both cases, the operating system's default browser was supplied by a 
> third party that was, understandably, more interested in making a 
> browser for Windows. In both cases, this lack of attention showed in 
> suboptimal performance, and a pretty but not-quite-right interface. But 
> in both cases, the third party's brand name was reassuring for people 
> using the OS.
> For Linux-based OSes, that reassurance factor is large: Firefox on 
> Windows is a gateway drug for Free Software, making it easier for 
> people to switch to Firefox on Ubuntu (or Fedora, or Opensuse, etc) 
> later. That's why I think Epiphany needs to be substantially *better* 
> than Firefox, and have decent mindshare of its own, before it can 
> dislodge Firefox as the default browser in any OS. (WebKit may help 
> here, in that it may sometimes let Epiphany do things that Firefox 
> can't.)
> Some ways in which Epiphany could become obviously better than Firefox:
> *   performance
> *   aesthetics (including explanatory animations)
> *   bookmark and history handling
> *   Deskbar integration
> *   NetworkManager integration
> *   gnome-keyring integration
> *   quick integration with any future platform coolness, such as
>      Conduit.
> > What have F-Spot and Tomboy done to gain the position of "The Golden 
> > Ones" while Epiphany gets treated like a neglected step child?  Can 
> > anything be gleaned from other projects which have successfully 
> > claimed their fair share of the limelight?
> F-Spot is noticably better than gthumb, and Tomboy is (reportedly) 
> noticably better than Sticky Notes. Epiphany is not, yet, noticably 
> better than Firefox.
> > Epiphany has, of course, lived in the shadow of Firefox for a long 
> > time.  But I've watched as the cracks have appeared and spread, and 
> > today it's fairly obvious that distros are frustrated with 
> >'s policies and might be interested in making a break for 
> > it.
> People mutter and scowl about F-Spot and Tomboy using Mono, too -- but 
> features, polish, and branding matter more.
> Cheers

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