Add simple browse-by-name option




9 years ago
9 years ago


(Reporter: davemgarrett, Unassigned)


({ux-consistency, ux-control})

Dependency tree / graph

Firefox Tracking Flags

(Not tracked)


Alternative to or addition to bug 593709.

Many people love browse-by-name (BBN). Others are confused by its results.

This feature was an established part of Firefox for quite some time, to the point that I have heard a few people call disabling it "ruining" Firefox. (not my words) Whatever anyone's opinion on this matter, this is a matter of concern one way or another. Rather than removing this feature outright I propose an option be added to let the user decide. This can be left off by default to allow for bug 565966 to not be reverted for users unless they so choose.

Currently, there are two routes for a user to turn BBN back on:
1) Muck with a confusing about:config pref (bug 593709 comment 25)
2) Install an extension to change one pref (bug 593709 comment 26)

I think this feature is important enough to get a new checkbox somewhere in the main Firefox options/preferences dialog. At far least, a simple boolean pref in about:config would be helpful, as the current pref for this is less user-friendly than usual.
Depends on: 593709
We don't have any appropriate place for a preference for this, and I disagree with the premise that it requires a visible one.
Closed: 9 years ago
Resolution: --- → WONTFIX
And about:config?
After a quick discussion with Ehsan Akhgari, he just streamlined his extension down to <1KB and added auto reversion on disable or uninstall. Looks like this will be the intended route. You can get Browse By Name 1.1 here:
During the Reddit AMA a number of comments brought up the subject or Browse By name. The one which most closely mirrored my own sentiments was this;

Personally, I had become highly familiar with using "wiki [article]" and "imdb [movie title]" in previous versions of Fx (along with various other useful shortcuts). So when I started using Fx4 beta and found that the behavior had changed, I assumed it was an oversight that would be fixed in due course. 

Obviously, I've found the fix for this now, but what about others who have become accustomed to this invisible feature of Firefox? I'm wondering whether there's any figures on just how many people would be adversely affected by the change and how many would cease being "confused by the
inconsistent behavior of the browse-by-name service".
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