User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.7.5) Gecko/20041107 Firefox/1.0 Build Identifier: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.7.5) Gecko/20041107 Firefox/1.0 The find toolbar should be undockable, the way it was in 0.x versions and the way it is in IE. I would even go so far as to say it should be undocked by default, and you can dock it if you want. Users are already used to this behavior from IE and Netscape, and it's less constraining as well. Reproducible: Always Steps to Reproduce: 1. 2. 3.
This would also help if there isn't enough space on the toolbar to put the "match whole word only" option (see bug 269442).
This would be pretty difficult to do right, and doesn't offer any obvious benefit, other than for users wanting a modal dialog for some strange reason. WONTFIX.
Can we get some more feedback first before we quickly brush this off? I've explained the obvious benefits: IE/Netscape users are already used to a floating search dialog, and it's less constraining to be able to move it around than to have it at the bottom, where it's harder to see. If it's hard to make undockable, then I still think it would be better to have just the original floating dialog rather than the search toolbar at the bottom of the window. Most other applications besides web browsers work this way too (e.g., Microsoft Word). I see nothing strange about this.
The entire point of the Find Toolbar was to replace modal dialogs with a flexible find setup that was more powerful than the simple find dialogs. Overall user reaction is extremely positive, and we're not going to revisit this decision any time soon. Just because something used to work a certain way doesn't mean its the best solution. We feel that the Find Toolbar is vastly superior to previous Find incarnations, and most users agree.
I don't see how a fixed toolbar is more powerful than a floating dialog. Both can provide the same search functionality. In fact, the current toolbar is less powerful than, say, the IE find dialog, because it doesn't have a "Match whole word only" option (bug 269442). The highlight functionality can be achieved in IE if desired through the Google toolbar. (And incidentally, installing the googlebar in Firefox causes the Find highlight feature to stop working (bug 260036).) But the point of this bug isn't the find functionality that is or isn't currently provided, it's the placement of the find box. I agree that just because something has been done a certain way doesn't mean it is the best way. However, I believe from a UI perspective a floating find dialog is better, and I was hoping to see some discussion on that point (for example, are there any other applications that do it that way, why they do it that way, why the new way is considered better, etc.).
You're not giving examples why a floating dialog is better. You're just saying it is, without providing any details why. Despite my better judgement, I'll give you details, although it won't make a difference in the end. As I've said, user feedback has been extremely positive, changing back would be considered a regression by a majority of users. Reason #1 why the toolbar is considered better that the traditional solution is that it doesn't block content, ever. Find boxes, especially bigger multifunctional ones, can block significant parts of the content area. While on a sufficiently high-resolution monitor you can move it out of the way, that's not an option for most users. Reason #2 is that it is tab-independent and doesn't have to be recalled/dismissed to interact with content. Modal dialogs are generally poor UI unless its absolutely essential that the rest of the app not be accessed while the dialog is up. This certainly isn't true for a search function. Reason #3 is that it allows search terms to remain visible while interacting with content/using find again shortcuts. Having the ability to access content while using highlight/next/previous is more flexible and powerful than recalling a dialog and finding again. Yes, keyboard shortcuts allow this either way, but users generally don't use them. Now if you really want to continue discussing this, feel free to refute my points and provide arguments where the tradition modal dialog is superior. Yes, there are improvements to be made, but having a big modal dialog isn't the answer either.
OK, here goes. The dialog is superior in control and flexibility, as explained below. (By the way, I think you're assuming that the traditional find dialog is modal. It isn't and shouldn't be--see 2 and 3 below for more.) 1. The toolbar does block content by shrinking the size of the visible page. A floating dialog blocks content but conceptually it preserves the size of the visible page. Also, a toolbar does not have a fixed size. Its size depends on the browser's current size (and indirectly on the monitor's resolution). If more functionality were to be added (like "Match whole words only"), would the find toolbar be expanded to two rows (thereby doubling its size and the amount of space it takes away from the current page), or would the additional functionality just be added to the right of the current features? Currently, if you make your browser window small enough, part of the find toolbar gets cut off and there is no way to scroll it. There isn't currently enough functionality for this to be an issue on even low-resolution browsers (I assume), but it may very well be an issue with new functionality (especially if the text "Reached end of page, continued from top" is present). This is just not an issue with a floating dialog. Its size is 200 x 150 (or whatever) when it comes up, and it always stays that size, regardless of how you resize your browser window. (This is one of the drawbacks of the Google toolbar--if you have a search phrase with more than one or two terms, they will disappear off the right side of the toolbar (where you click them to find their occurrences on the page) on all but high-resolution monitors with the browser maximized.) If there really is too much functionality to fit into the basic size (200 x 150 or whatever), then there can a button or checkbox that says "More/Less" or "Advanced" that expands the size of the find dialog (MS Word currently does this). Indeed, all the advanced find functionality in MS Word would just not be able to fit onto a single-line (and perhaps even double-line) toolbar. It may not all be applicable to a browser, but the point is that the toolbar is less flexible when it needs to be expanded. 2. Actually, the IE find dialog is not modal (same for MS Word). You can interact with the page while it's up. I would expect a find dialog to not be modal, so I don't think this is a valid point. 3. I think this point is also based on the assumption that the find dialog is modal. It isn't and shouldn't be. You can and should be able to select text from the web page and paste it into the find dialog, or otherwise interact with the current web page. (You can currently do that in IE and MS Word.) I think the dialog is superior in the control it gives you. The toolbar forces you to look/go to the bottom of the browser in order to see/type/click on buttons. The dialog is flexible--it lets you put it where you want to put it--at the bottom, on the side, even mostly off the monitor if you want. A well-designed dialog could even, for example, move itself or scroll the page if the next match would be under the dialog. (I thought the IE find did this but I can't make it do so now. It's also annoying that it closes if you navigate away from the current page, but a better find dialog could stay up while you navigated pages or tabs.) Find has to scroll the page anyway if the next match is out of the visible page, so this wouldn't be unexpected behavior.