Classilla 9.2.1 released

After returning from my summer holidays, it’s been a bit difficult to readjust to the usual incoming information flow from the Internet. During my most-needed holiday, in fact, I connected sporadically and only when I had to. This morning, while I was reading the messages backlog in the Mac OS 9 List, I realised that a week ago Cameron Kaiser released Classilla 9.2.1.

With his permission, I report here his announcement:

Classilla 9.2.1 is released.

This is primarily a bug fix release for the browser; there are no specific layout or JavaScript changes, so if a site did not work with 9.2 it will probably still not work with 9.2.1, and there are relatively few new features this go-around.

That said, there is a big one, and that is Script-B-Gone. While I could never confirm these myself, I got enough complaints about the whitelist getting zapped, or not keeping up, or missing entries, that I hatched a scheme for a more reliable way of tracking sites (and at the same time improve the rather primitive interface for this older version of NoScript, specific for the limited XUL controls in this version of Classilla).

Because this solution is intended to mitigate the problem with corrupted whitelists, your white list is not copied to the new format: you start from scratch when you update to 9.2.1. You might want to note the important sites you need JavaScript for so you can transfer them over by hand. You can switch back and forth from 9.2 to 9.2.1 (I don’t recommend this, but you can), but any changes you make in 9.2 are not seen by 9.2.1.

When you visit a site, click on the S as usual. Instead of NoScript, however, Script-B-Gone appears and offers to add frames from the same domain (the default), the URL site only, or all frames, or let you visit the manual options window so you can add and delete sites as usual. For most sites, enabling JavaScript is two clicks: one on the S, one on OK. The page will automatically reload with JS on. That’s it.

SBG keeps your whitelist in two places: the active whitelist used by the browser to block scripts, and a shadow whitelist that SBG and NoScript modify, and which SBG keeps in sync. SBG will adjust the active whitelist and log errors if the active list does not match the shadow list, which will help if there are deeper errors afoot.

If you activate SBG on a permanently whitelisted page like about:, it won’t let you delete it, and if you activate SBG on a page you have already enabled scripts on, it will tell you and let you go to the options window if you still want.

There are various other sundry small new features and bug fixes, such as better tab management (open in background tab; ⌘-⇧-T to open the last tab closed), more user agents, smoother socket timeouts, better support for Unicode and updated libpng; see the releases page for all the issues that have been fixed or mitigated. This version also adds the MRJ Plugin — make sure you merge your current plugins folder with this one if you have any special plugins you are using. The MRJ Plugin requires MRJ 2.2.4 or higher (2.2.6 is recommended). You only need it if you need to run Java applets, which is still discouraged.

With this release, 9.2.1 is now localization-ready: all the strings are now frozen and will remain frozen through 9.3.1. If you want to work on localizing Classilla for your home language, look at this page.

If this seems doable to you, I want to sign up people for this project. There is already a Japanese locale and I will integrate that into this release; Mathias W. is working on German, and I particularly would like Spanish.

9.2.2 will mostly just be language packs except for any key regressions, which I will fix in that release — it will have no new features. I am internally forking the codebase into the 9.3 branch so I can work on it in parallel while the translators do their thing. I have not yet decided if the packs will be separate or integrated into 9.2.2.

9.3.0 will be a lot of work, as it will involve hand-rewriting layout and DOM. I don’t expect to have this done for several months, but I am committed to doing it.

I’m thrilled to see this ongoing development (read: labour of love) on Classilla, and I wish I were an old-school programmer to lend a hand to Cameron. For now, I’ll try to provide an Italian localisation for the browser and, if time permits and the process is smooth enough, I may even try a Spanish localisation.

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