Flocking Browsers.

I got really frustrated with how painfully slow Firefox gets when opening new tabs, so went through my seasonal try-every-browser-known-to-mankind phase last night and today. At the moment, I’m in Flock. It’s based on Firefox, but doesn’t seem to suffer from the glacially slow new tab/window creation problem I get in Firefox. I think I’ll try Flock for awhile. The integrated blog editor is nice, as well as built-in Flickr and del.icio.us love. I’ll stay with it at least until it pisses me off. I’m fickle that way.

wait. why doesn’t flock’s rich text editor in the blog post window NOT have an image button? I can drag images from Flickr right in there, but can’t modify the image HTML without switching to source view? Oy.

And Flock STILL doesn’t sort categories when posting a new entry? Seriously. WTF, Flock?

Update: Had to go in via the WordPress UI because Flock double-posted (the edit was sent as a new post, despite the “edit post” checkbox being checked). I think I might stick with the WordPress web UI for managing the blog…

Update 2: Gave up on Flock. It started showing the glacial-tabs-and-windows I see in Firefox. Makes it unusable when constantly opening new tabs and windows. Back to Safari for awhile. I’ll likely stay there until I get frustrated by lack of support for rich text editors like TinyMCE, which is used in every piece of software I use…

Update, the third: On to a nightly build of Camino. It’s got Gecko for compatibility, and it almost feels like a native MacOSX app. Close…

Testing Flock (again)

Just downloaded the latest build of Flock. It sure does feel faster than it used to. It’s feeling faster than Firefox, even. Not sure if that’s possible, or just an illusion. Whatever.

Let’s see if it handles Categories while posting to Drupal any better than it used to…

Nope. It still provides an unsorted list of my hundreds of categories. Not even a text field with autocompletion. Close. So close… Manually categorizing post from within Drupal’s interface (which has a nice text field with autocompletion)

Just downloaded the latest build of Flock. It sure does feel faster than it used to. It’s feeling faster than Firefox, even. Not sure if that’s possible, or just an illusion. Whatever.

Let’s see if it handles Categories while posting to Drupal any better than it used to…

Nope. It still provides an unsorted list of my hundreds of categories. Not even a text field with autocompletion. Close. So close… Manually categorizing post from within Drupal’s interface (which has a nice text field with autocompletion)

Flock website now powered by Drupal

In another episode of my new All-Drupal-All-The-Time mandate… After downloading the latest build of Flock (Beta 1), I went to the Flock website to create an account to provide some feedback and suggestions.

And I realized that it looks like the whole Flock website is now powered by Drupal. It's not blatantly obvious – they're not using a stock theme, or anything like that, but you can see the DNA in some of the URLs, and in the CSS linked on many of the pages.

If anyone asks me for an example of a great, dynamic, community-oriented website that still delivers on the more conventional aspects of a corporate/organizational site, I'll point them to Flock.

Now, it'd be really cool if they wrote up an article describing how they set up their website in Drupal. Modules? How many custom themes? How did they implement the various sections? I'd bet that Will Pate had a hand in this – maybe he'll write it up as part of his role as Community Ambassador?

Update: Yeah. Will played a part – by working on the Drupal architecture of the site, and recruiting Bryan Veloso .

In another episode of my new All-Drupal-All-The-Time mandate… After downloading the latest build of Flock (Beta 1), I went to the Flock website to create an account to provide some feedback and suggestions.

And I realized that it looks like the whole Flock website is now powered by Drupal. It's not blatantly obvious – they're not using a stock theme, or anything like that, but you can see the DNA in some of the URLs, and in the CSS linked on many of the pages.

If anyone asks me for an example of a great, dynamic, community-oriented website that still delivers on the more conventional aspects of a corporate/organizational site, I'll point them to Flock.

Now, it'd be really cool if they wrote up an article describing how they set up their website in Drupal. Modules? How many custom themes? How did they implement the various sections? I'd bet that Will Pate had a hand in this – maybe he'll write it up as part of his role as Community Ambassador?

Update: Yeah. Will played a part – by working on the Drupal architecture of the site, and recruiting Bryan Veloso .

Flock Beta 1 Cardinal

Flock hit beta 1 (or 0.7, depending on how you count) yesterday, and it seems like a really solid release. My favorite feature isn’t even part of the core Flock code – it’s got more Extensions enabled, including Mouse Gestures!

I’m hoping they nailed down the nasty memory leaks that plagued previous builds, and cleaned up the window opening code, which could take several seconds to spawn a new browser window. But it’s definitely on the right track.

Now to see if they managed to squeeze in category sorting/filtering in the blog posting interface (which, other than that, has been the best blog posting wysiwyg interface I’ve ever used).

Nope. It doesn’t sort or filter categories. Meaning that although it only took me 2 minutes to write this simple post, it’ll take at least that long just to select the proper categories from the menu provided…

Flock hit beta 1 (or 0.7, depending on how you count) yesterday, and it seems like a really solid release. My favorite feature isn’t even part of the core Flock code – it’s got more Extensions enabled, including Mouse Gestures!

I’m hoping they nailed down the nasty memory leaks that plagued previous builds, and cleaned up the window opening code, which could take several seconds to spawn a new browser window. But it’s definitely on the right track.

Now to see if they managed to squeeze in category sorting/filtering in the blog posting interface (which, other than that, has been the best blog posting wysiwyg interface I’ve ever used).

Nope. It doesn’t sort or filter categories. Meaning that although it only took me 2 minutes to write this simple post, it’ll take at least that long just to select the proper categories from the menu provided…

Flock is getting closer to Prime Time

I took another look at the current dev. build of Flock, and it’s definitely getting closer to a final release. The quality is noticably better than previous builds – I don’t get the spinning beachball of memory thrashing hell I got before.

There is only one nit I have left to pick with Flock. It’s got the best rich text editor of all of the standalone blog posting apps I’ve tried (and I’ve tried a LOT) – except for the lack of an ability to sort and/or filter categories for application to a post before publishing.

I have a LOT of categories on my blog – I use them more like tags than full-blown taxonomic categories – so reading through an apparently unsorted list of 300 tags can take much longer than writing the post took in the first place.

Once that’s taken care of, I can totally see myself living in Flock. I’m loving the Flickr integration, and the del.icio.us tie-in, and lots of other refinements. Great job, so far!

I took another look at the current dev. build of Flock, and it’s definitely getting closer to a final release. The quality is noticably better than previous builds – I don’t get the spinning beachball of memory thrashing hell I got before.

There is only one nit I have left to pick with Flock. It’s got the best rich text editor of all of the standalone blog posting apps I’ve tried (and I’ve tried a LOT) – except for the lack of an ability to sort and/or filter categories for application to a post before publishing.

I have a LOT of categories on my blog – I use them more like tags than full-blown taxonomic categories – so reading through an apparently unsorted list of 300 tags can take much longer than writing the post took in the first place.

Once that’s taken care of, I can totally see myself living in Flock. I’m loving the Flickr integration, and the del.icio.us tie-in, and lots of other refinements. Great job, so far!

Flock pre-Cardinal Update

I’m playing with a pre-Cardinal (the next Big Release) build of Flock, and man is it nice! They’ve replaced the blog editor, and it’s the best blog editor I’ve used. Very nice. The blog manager topbar appears to have disappeared, but I assume it’s just being tweaked and will return before the Big Release.

My only gripe is that category selection still sucks – no way to easily find one of my 331 categories in a list sorted by primary key of the category database record. Some sorting/searching/filtering/text-auto-complete interface would be waaay more effective. Oh, and the selected category didn’t get applied anyway. I’ll go in through the Wordpress web UI to fix it…

The Flickr interface is great, too. Uploading stuff, browsing people and tags. I’m really looking forward to using the native del.icio.us bookmark manager as well – the web-based one used by the Firefox extension is so slow it’s actually painful to use. Cocoalicious works great, but needs to be installed and running in order to be faster than the FF extension…

Update: Wow. This build of Flock has a cool add-on, where it recognizes any image hosted by Flickr, and adds a contextual link to let you easily browse that person’s photostream. Something you could do otherwise, but it takes 2 clicks, and goes through Flickr’s site. The Flock feature uses their cool photostream UI instead. Very cool.

I’m playing with a pre-Cardinal (the next Big Release) build of Flock, and man is it nice! They’ve replaced the blog editor, and it’s the best blog editor I’ve used. Very nice. The blog manager topbar appears to have disappeared, but I assume it’s just being tweaked and will return before the Big Release.

My only gripe is that category selection still sucks – no way to easily find one of my 331 categories in a list sorted by primary key of the category database record. Some sorting/searching/filtering/text-auto-complete interface would be waaay more effective. Oh, and the selected category didn’t get applied anyway. I’ll go in through the WordPress web UI to fix it…

The Flickr interface is great, too. Uploading stuff, browsing people and tags. I’m really looking forward to using the native del.icio.us bookmark manager as well – the web-based one used by the Firefox extension is so slow it’s actually painful to use. Cocoalicious works great, but needs to be installed and running in order to be faster than the FF extension…

Update: Wow. This build of Flock has a cool add-on, where it recognizes any image hosted by Flickr, and adds a contextual link to let you easily browse that person’s photostream. Something you could do otherwise, but it takes 2 clicks, and goes through Flickr’s site. The Flock feature uses their cool photostream UI instead. Very cool.

Performancing for Firefox

Just testing out the latest build of the Performancing for Firefox extension – a fully-featured weblog manager built into Firefox. And it’s free.

I had to stop using it a while back because it was behaving oddly (character spacing in the text editor was wonky enough to make it unusable) but it’s behaving perfectly now. Not sure if it was the latest Firefox update, or a rogue extension, but whatever was causing the misbehaviour, it’s all good now.

It works with a whole bunch of weblog platforms. I’ve tested with Wordpress 2 and Drupal 4.7, and it claims to work with MovableType and many others.

The latest PFF build also has a few nice new features – like sorting categories, integrated Metrics display, and a nice del.icio.us bookmarking utility. Lots of other cool stuff, too. Definitely a handy extension. I’m looking forward to comparing it with Flock when the Cardinal build is released next month!

Just testing out the latest build of the Performancing for Firefox extension – a fully-featured weblog manager built into Firefox. And it’s free.

I had to stop using it a while back because it was behaving oddly (character spacing in the text editor was wonky enough to make it unusable) but it’s behaving perfectly now. Not sure if it was the latest Firefox update, or a rogue extension, but whatever was causing the misbehaviour, it’s all good now.

It works with a whole bunch of weblog platforms. I’ve tested with WordPress 2 and Drupal 4.7, and it claims to work with MovableType and many others.

The latest PFF build also has a few nice new features – like sorting categories, integrated Metrics display, and a nice del.icio.us bookmarking utility. Lots of other cool stuff, too. Definitely a handy extension. I’m looking forward to comparing it with Flock when the Cardinal build is released next month!

Flock updated to 0.5.11

Sounds like a pretty minor bump, with Flock going from 0.5.x to 0.5.11, but some really cool new features made it in. The Flickr browser topbar rocks. I mean, wow. That sucker is sweet. And a built-in Technorati info display topbar, to get a quick 10,000′ overview of a site as defined by external links. Very handy. They also updated the blog editor to use a local copy of TinyMCE, and it looks pretty darned nice (Categories aren’t sorted, though, and no Category search is implemented, making it a PITA to select one of my 304 categories for a new post…) and is FAST since it’s local. Feels like a native app. I thought it was a XUL thing at first, until I read the change log.

I’m getting really tired of constantly switching browsers every week, between Firefox, Safari Nightlies, Flock, Camino, OmniWeb, etc… All of this darned innovation is exhausting to keep up with! 🙂 

As an aside, as I was writing this, Wynton Marsalis’ "Quick Ate" was playing on my iPod (hooked up to my TV so I can crank out the music). Evan is up in his room for "quiet time" and he calls down "see it on your ‘puter!" – the only time he’s heard this song previously was when I was playing the video (on my ‘puter) that was included with the album via iTMS. Like 3 weeks ago. Why can’t my memory work like that? The iPod has since moved on to play some New Pornographers, so he’s gone back to "quiet time."

Update: Just realized how much I miss having bookmarklets in the browser’s favorites bar. Flock uses del.icio.us bookmarks to store everything, and I don’t have a burning need to populate my account with a bunch of personalized javascripts, nor links to pages within the inner workings of the various web apps I basically live in… The change log mentioned something about private bookmarks, so I’ll check that out. But, I don’t see a way to have folders of bookmarks in the favorites bar, never mind a way to open all bookmarks in a folder in new tabs simultaneously…

Sounds like a pretty minor bump, with Flock going from 0.5.x to 0.5.11, but some really cool new features made it in. The Flickr browser topbar rocks. I mean, wow. That sucker is sweet. And a built-in Technorati info display topbar, to get a quick 10,000′ overview of a site as defined by external links. Very handy. They also updated the blog editor to use a local copy of TinyMCE, and it looks pretty darned nice (Categories aren’t sorted, though, and no Category search is implemented, making it a PITA to select one of my 304 categories for a new post…) and is FAST since it’s local. Feels like a native app. I thought it was a XUL thing at first, until I read the change log.

I’m getting really tired of constantly switching browsers every week, between Firefox, Safari Nightlies, Flock, Camino, OmniWeb, etc… All of this darned innovation is exhausting to keep up with! 🙂 

As an aside, as I was writing this, Wynton Marsalis’ "Quick Ate" was playing on my iPod (hooked up to my TV so I can crank out the music). Evan is up in his room for "quiet time" and he calls down "see it on your ‘puter!" – the only time he’s heard this song previously was when I was playing the video (on my ‘puter) that was included with the album via iTMS. Like 3 weeks ago. Why can’t my memory work like that? The iPod has since moved on to play some New Pornographers, so he’s gone back to "quiet time."

Update: Just realized how much I miss having bookmarklets in the browser’s favorites bar. Flock uses del.icio.us bookmarks to store everything, and I don’t have a burning need to populate my account with a bunch of personalized javascripts, nor links to pages within the inner workings of the various web apps I basically live in… The change log mentioned something about private bookmarks, so I’ll check that out. But, I don’t see a way to have folders of bookmarks in the favorites bar, never mind a way to open all bookmarks in a folder in new tabs simultaneously…

How to configure a WordPress 2 blog in Flock

I just downloaded the latest build of Flock, and went to configure my blog for posting. But Flock’s handy dandy blog account configurator was hanging while trying to communicate with my WP 2.0 blog. A quick peek at the Flock forums revealed this is a known bug, but no fix was offered.

But… you can trick Flock into letting you manually configure a blog. When adding the account, just give a bogus URL (or, in my case, I tried to configure it with my http://…/server.php file directly. That will fail, and bring up a dialog asking if you want to try again, or cancel and manually configure. Click “Cancel” to continue (of course – I love intuitive dialog boxes…)

You are then given the ability to configure from scratch. I selected the MovableType API, blog id of 1, and provided the full url to my xmlrpc.php file as the access point. Provide your login credentials, and you should be off and running.

The category selector is a bit awkward for me – I’m used to just entering tags as if I’m tagging in del.icio.us, but Flock provides an apparently randomized list of my 200+ categories for me to check off…

If you can read this, that means the config worked, and Flock is now posting to my blog. If you can’t read this, I just had an exercise in typing Dvorak, which would have been filed into /dev/null…

I just downloaded the latest build of Flock, and went to configure my blog for posting. But Flock’s handy dandy blog account configurator was hanging while trying to communicate with my WP 2.0 blog. A quick peek at the Flock forums revealed this is a known bug, but no fix was offered.

But… you can trick Flock into letting you manually configure a blog. When adding the account, just give a bogus URL (or, in my case, I tried to configure it with my http://…/server.php file directly. That will fail, and bring up a dialog asking if you want to try again, or cancel and manually configure. Click “Cancel” to continue (of course – I love intuitive dialog boxes…)

You are then given the ability to configure from scratch. I selected the MovableType API, blog id of 1, and provided the full url to my xmlrpc.php file as the access point. Provide your login credentials, and you should be off and running.

The category selector is a bit awkward for me – I’m used to just entering tags as if I’m tagging in del.icio.us, but Flock provides an apparently randomized list of my 200+ categories for me to check off…

If you can read this, that means the config worked, and Flock is now posting to my blog. If you can’t read this, I just had an exercise in typing Dvorak, which would have been filed into /dev/null…

Thoughts on Flock

My first reaction to Flock was “holy crap!” – after using it for awhile, I’m still very impressed, but also a little surprised. I’d thought that the tighter integration to my blog, del.icio.us and Flickr accounts would have totally changed the way I worked with those tools. I suppose there is still the potential for that, but there isn’t really anything that I couldn’t replicate in other browsers using some decent bookmarklets. My del.icio.us account is already one click away on any browser I use (for adding, querying and viewing), as is my blog (again, for all CRUD tasks), Flickr, and lots of other handy tools. And my current blog posting utility (using the popup window in any browser) doesn’t give me the crappy-HTML-code-generation problems, or disappearing-post problems that Flock’s built in editor appears to suffer from.

After stepping back a bit, I realized that part of what was impressing me so much about Flock was the Firefox core beneath the custom code. The extensions I’d added are pretty sweet (GreaseMonkey, the Web Developer Toolbar, etc…) and already available for Firefox. And “stock” Firefox doesn’t have some of the perceived performance problems I’m having with Flock (some of which are, I’m sure, due to the synchronization with del.icio.us).

So, after saying I’d give Flock some time to try it out, I waffle on that, and am moving straight to Firefox for a week or so. I’ll be keeping my eye on Flock though – it’s got a lot of promise, and will only be getting better as the code gets massaged.

My first reaction to Flock was “holy crap!” – after using it for awhile, I’m still very impressed, but also a little surprised. I’d thought that the tighter integration to my blog, del.icio.us and Flickr accounts would have totally changed the way I worked with those tools. I suppose there is still the potential for that, but there isn’t really anything that I couldn’t replicate in other browsers using some decent bookmarklets. My del.icio.us account is already one click away on any browser I use (for adding, querying and viewing), as is my blog (again, for all CRUD tasks), Flickr, and lots of other handy tools. And my current blog posting utility (using the popup window in any browser) doesn’t give me the crappy-HTML-code-generation problems, or disappearing-post problems that Flock’s built in editor appears to suffer from.

After stepping back a bit, I realized that part of what was impressing me so much about Flock was the Firefox core beneath the custom code. The extensions I’d added are pretty sweet (GreaseMonkey, the Web Developer Toolbar, etc…) and already available for Firefox. And “stock” Firefox doesn’t have some of the perceived performance problems I’m having with Flock (some of which are, I’m sure, due to the synchronization with del.icio.us).

So, after saying I’d give Flock some time to try it out, I waffle on that, and am moving straight to Firefox for a week or so. I’ll be keeping my eye on Flock though – it’s got a lot of promise, and will only be getting better as the code gets massaged.