Link from themes manager to personas gallery - Theme discrimination

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Aronnax

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Nov 19, 2009, 6:31:33 PM11/19/09
to
Hi,
this is a follow up to Bug 522571 - Link from themes manager to
personas gallery
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=522571

The developer want the diccussion here.
Ok, here we go again ;-)

> It is intended to have a page that is primarily personas, as you said.

Hi,

Why, please tell me why ;-)

I think a lot of themer are interested to know, why their stuff should
be hidden and why this limited background image change system should be
highlighted. Why?

Is it then as well intended to hide the normal extensions, when Jetpack
is later a part of the default installation?

And when you are still on the way to tell some reasons.
Why works Personas on 3.6 by default only with the default themes. Is it
still intended to change it with 3.7 or later. Why works the Personas
1.4 extension still only on Mac OS X only with the default theme and why
is there absolutely no progress in the last months to improve the
situation.

By the way,
i know a lot of themer, who think Mozilla want to kill the old theme
system. Some words as well about it would be very nice. It is hard to
find an example that something else is intended. This theme page
primarily for Personas is then only one example more.

Cheers

Mike Beltzner

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Nov 19, 2009, 8:30:55 PM11/19/09
to dev-apps...@lists.mozilla.org
Hi Aronnax,

I'll try to answer your questions in order; you asked many.

We believe that Personas are a better user experience than XPI Themes.
While not as robust or powerful, they are quick and easy for users to
install, can be activated without requiring a restart, and are simple to
create. Although not very old, the Personas Add-on has been downloaded
by more than 10M people and is very popular.

For that reason, we will be promoting Personas as a new, different type
of theme that requires less commitment to install and use. They will be
displayed on the first run page for Firefox 3.6 users, and the link in
the Themes panel will go to the Personas gallery.

Personas are still themes, though, just a different type. We hope to add
more capability (ability to change the appearance of buttons, work with
other XPI themes, etc) over time. XPI themes will eventually be
installed like extensions, which better represents their capability and
function; an XPI theme can totally change the "face" of the browser, not
just the skin.

We do not have any plans to remove support for XPI themes. We expect
that most users will prefer to use Persona-style themes and will be
investing in making those the preferred mechanism for quickly changing
the appearance of the browser. However it would be foolish and against
our values to remove the capability to customize the full appearance of
the browser.

I hope this helps,
mike

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> dev-apps-firefox mailing list
> dev-apps...@lists.mozilla.org
> https://lists.mozilla.org/listinfo/dev-apps-firefox

Pardal Freudenthal

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Nov 19, 2009, 11:43:11 PM11/19/09
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Hi Mike,

thank you very much for answering here and clarifying things. I'm sure
the theme developers community, like me, very appreciate to know that
third party themes or "old-style" themes will not be deprecated.

I think and have stated that Personas is a nice feature and the way it
works now (on the user's side) is almost perfect (technically it has
some problems to be solved). Easy to install, to manage, to try and
see the results "on the fly". Users have the opportunity to choose
which persona fits well with the theme they are using making the
customization an easy and nice experience. Many authors are making
efforts to support Personas and the reviews of my theme pointing this
support are very positive.

My concerns are about how the integration on Firefox is going to be
implemented.

I can see two constellations depending if Bug 520124 - Enable to
activate a 'heavy weight theme' together with 'lwtheme':
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=520124 will be fixed or
not:

1) Personas will work with third-party themes:
In this case, IMHO, it would be much better to have it where it is
now: on the menu. Independently of which theme are in use at the
moment, for the user is a lot easier to just click on the menu and see
immediately which effect a persona will have on the browser. The
persona's change on mouse over in the sub-menus is simply amazing! And
without needing to visit a site to get it..
The menu is also a lot more "discoverable" than the Addons Manager (I
know a couple people that has never opened the Addons Manager, but for
sure have opened the menus...).
In this constellation, although, I can't see how Personas would
implement buttons changes. This would not work with third party themes
at all...

2) Personas will only work with the default theme:
In this case I can imagine it as a feature from the default theme,
making sense to be listed at the Addons Manager as sub-items from the
default theme (see https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=529729).
In this constellation I can imagine that Personas could very well
offer the ability to change buttons. In this case, the Personas
extension could be further offered to be used with third-party themes.

I personally prefer the first option...

Actually I don't agree that Personas is a better user experience than
XPI Themes. For me it's more a different user experience (with the
same target), a kind of complement customization. The user choose the
preferred theme and "change" its background.
So, I can't see why compare one against another. They can live
together without (too much) problems just like they do now. This
document: https://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/Using+themes+with+Firefox
explains very well the differences from Personas and "full themes"
without any discrimination or treating Personas as a better user
experience as themes...

Sorry, but I think that, in the way it is being implemented so far, it
is more difficult to use both, Personas and third party themes.
Just my two cents.

Aronnax

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Nov 20, 2009, 12:53:30 PM11/20/09
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Hi,
thanks but i think it it helps only to start a new discussion.

First of all:
Who is We? Who decide it? Who had talked for the theme system?

I can�t remember only one Mozilla developer, who ever talks about his
theme experiences and i read now many years Mozilla blogs, discussions,
wikis and so on - not one. I have my doubt that many even care about
theme stuff and the few who cares works then probably only for the
default theme(s) ;-)
Another example: The first edition of the last redesign from
addons.mozilla.org had not even a theme listing. They removed the point
and added themes below Appearance together with tab stuff, new toolbars
and everything else. The themes were completely hidden and obviously
thought nobody that this is a problem.
A Mozilla guy for example, who has full time job to advertise Firefox,
compares theme systems from different browser talks then only about
Personas - can�t be true
http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/asa/archives/2009/08/29_vs_7000.html

I don�t think that all these We, who obviously don�t care about themes
stuff should alone decide, what happens with the theme system, behind
closed doors somewhere in Mountain View California.

----

Who cares about themes?
We have many many themes with 2 millions, 3 millions � one (very old)
with 23 millions or the current most popular with 10 millions downloads ...
Personas on the other hand has after some years and a lot of advertising
in the last mounts only 10 millions. Just for the record: 10 millions
are not a high number, when we consider the hype behind it and the
themes has nobody who hype them. They are actually more or less hidden.
I think a lot of user still care , what happens with themes.

----

Mike Conner talks the first time many months ago about these themes
system changes leaves many questions open. Your post answer not really
these questions and added actually a few more. For example: How should
it works, when Personas change the buttons and a theme do the same. It
is exactly the reason, why Personas on Mac OS X works only with the
default theme. Ok, stuff like this can be fixed, but who works now on a
concept to prevent bugs like this. Likely nobody. I think nobody cares -
only Personas counts now ;-)

-----

XPI themes will eventually be installed like extensions.
- It is then only logical to remove these extension-themes from the
theme selection of the Add-ons manager.
- They will be hidden somewhere in addons.mozilla.org. and many user
will not even know that these themes exist.
- Under this conditions will be many themes aborted � the theme
community will slowly die .. the documentation will die .. bugs will be,
sooner or later, fixed without a consideration of theme needs.

Without a doubt would it be the end of the current themes.

-----

"We believe that Personas are a better user experience than XPI Themes."

Without a restart is nice ;-) - naturally - And? Is this all?

Personas can do some things better and themes can do other things much
better.
This will be never changed. Personas can have many new user and themes
have already much more � i still don't understand why themes should be
hidden.

-----

I think Mozilla treated currently themer like stupid fogs in a cooking
pot .. and slowly increase the temperature .. everyone knows what will
happen ;-)
Suggestions like the XPI extensions-themes are for example maybe
something for frogs, but surely nothing for the themes community.

Cheers

J M R

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Nov 20, 2009, 2:42:06 PM11/20/09
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Mike Beltzner wrote:

>
> Personas are still themes, though, just a different type.

That's just rubbish. They're nothing alike. Themes are whole house
decorations and remodeling and Personas are just window blinds.

Personas all in all is just a vanity project. Bragging about millions of
downloads but not about how many of them are really in use.

Personas images can be previewed by just hovering the mouse over them.
Does this count as a download?

Do users continue to use the images or they revert back?

How frequently do they replace their images?

90% of Personas images are an usability nightmare, do you have seen a
rise in usability problems?

How will Personas images fit with the new interface that has a reduced
surface in v3.6 and then further reduced in v3.7? How will Personas
images be justified if users can hardly see them?

This is how i used them: in the personas web site I experimented with 20
to 30 of them, concluded that most of them are just rubbish and the
other make using Firefox more difficult I reverted back. This alone
counted as 20 to 30 downloads.

I understand the appeal. It's easy and faster to just to loose 30
minutes of time with that but, it's just not that rewarding. It isn't.
It's a fad.

Dave Townsend

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Nov 20, 2009, 3:19:58 PM11/20/09
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On 2009-11-20 11:42:06 -0800, J M R <j...@jmr.eu> said:

> Mike Beltzner wrote:
>
>>
>> Personas are still themes, though, just a different type.
>
> That's just rubbish. They're nothing alike. Themes are whole house
> decorations and remodeling and Personas are just window blinds.

They both do basically the same thing, they change how Firefox looks.
Whether you want a low impact aesthetic change or a complete reworking
of the UI is a personal choice. The fact that xpi style themes can in
fact do a little as a persona means that they are lumped in the same
boat in my head.

> Personas all in all is just a vanity project. Bragging about millions of
> downloads but not about how many of them are really in use.
>
> Personas images can be previewed by just hovering the mouse over them.
> Does this count as a download?

No. Personas do update checks the same as regular themes do so we will
be able to get good stats on how many are in use, not just how many
have been downloaded or previewed.

> 90% of Personas images are an usability nightmare, do you have seen a
> rise in usability problems?

I've certainly seen more bug reports filed due to issues with xpi-style
themes than with personas, but that is only to be expected since the
xpi-style themes are such high impact it is easier to cause problems
with them.

> How will Personas images fit with the new interface that has a reduced
> surface in v3.6 and then further reduced in v3.7? How will Personas
> images be justified if users can hardly see them?

An excellent question, but I imagine personas will evolve to support
small areas pretty easily, they are after all just images. As for
justification, well we will have the usage stats to indicate if users
are no longer finding the feature compelling and can use that as a
basis for deciding whether maintaining support is important or not.

> This is how i used them: in the personas web site I experimented with 20
> to 30 of them, concluded that most of them are just rubbish and the
> other make using Firefox more difficult I reverted back. This alone
> counted as 20 to 30 downloads.
>
> I understand the appeal. It's easy and faster to just to loose 30
> minutes of time with that but, it's just not that rewarding. It isn't.
> It's a fad.

This is of course all subjective and has no real bearing on this
discussion I think so I won't bother to respond to it.

DonGato

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Nov 20, 2009, 6:37:46 PM11/20/09
to
I find funny how people say something is subjective while what they
say supposedly isn't. :P
Firefox is becoming bloated, slow and buggy; things that made me move
from IE to Firefox on the first place.
Instead of fixing bugs, making it more stable and improving
performance and resource usage the developers are wasting time in
vanity things like Personas or making it a clone of Chrome.

A lot of theme bugs are because Firefox doesn't work properly with
themes. There are many bug reports with 2 years of existence and still
no fix. If you want themes to work 100% fix those.

Shawn Wilsher

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Nov 20, 2009, 6:55:38 PM11/20/09
to dev-apps...@lists.mozilla.org
On 11/20/09 3:37 PM, DonGato wrote:
> Firefox is becoming bloated, slow and buggy; things that made me move
> from IE to Firefox on the first place.
What's slow? Have you filed bugs about it? Bloat is, of course,
completely subjective...

> Instead of fixing bugs, making it more stable and improving
> performance and resource usage the developers are wasting time in
> vanity things like Personas or making it a clone of Chrome.

Right, we haven't fixed a single bug and are only adding features and
making it a clone of Chrome...

The reality, of course, is that we have fixed bugs, and we have improved
performance. http://graphs.mozilla.org/dashboard/snapshot/ shows that
we are improving in terms of performance in general. We've also fixed
nearly 5000 bugs since Firefox 3.5. None of this is subjective.

/sdwilsh

Ed Hume

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Nov 20, 2009, 7:50:15 PM11/20/09
to
> > dev-apps-fire...@lists.mozilla.org
> >https://lists.mozilla.org/listinfo/dev-apps-firefox
>
>

OK. I see the reference to "XPI themes." It's been a long time since
XPI packaging was allowed for themes. Did you have something else in
mind?

Despite your lip service to third-party themes, I can see what you
have in mind for us. I just have one request: please make sure that
visually-impaired users can get big icons, and that your default theme
allows for extra-large text. Right now you are optimized for guys who
prefer tiny text and icons.

Ed

Jeff.tet

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Nov 20, 2009, 8:26:17 PM11/20/09
to
I just want to make note of a couple of things:

10 million downloads. If I had the resources or the ability to
advertise my theme on addons.mozilla.org start page my theme would
also have a significant download number. This brings me to one of
Arronax's comments that making it more difficult to view a variety of
heavy weight themes they will slowly die. I and probably most people
don't want to spend allot of time "searching" for a theme vs clicking
on a link and being brought to a page that lists themes that you can
scroll through. I don't know about everyone else but that along to me
is the beginning of the end of the use of heavy weight themes.

If Mozilla wants to promote Personas why not just add them to the
current themes section if they are just themes like heavy weight
themes?

How does one get involved with making an intelligent opinion about a
significant change such as the one we are discussing here?

I am also going to ask Why? I don't want a politically correct answer
or a comment that defends the current ideals instead of truly
answering the question.

Please re-think and consider that by including Personas with heavy
weight themes together is giving users more choices for their Firefox
Experience and not will say "masking" a choice to give the illusion
that we're starting to phase out Themes as users currently know them.

Remember its about progress not regression!

Thank
Jeff

Chris Ilias

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Nov 20, 2009, 9:38:31 PM11/20/09
to
On 09-11-20 6:37 PM, DonGato wrote:
> I find funny how people say something is subjective while what they
> say supposedly isn't. :P
> Firefox is becoming bloated, slow and buggy; things that made me move
> from IE to Firefox on the first place.
> Instead of fixing bugs, making it more stable and improving
> performance and resource usage the developers are wasting time in
> vanity things like Personas or making it a clone of Chrome.

Hi DonGato,
Have you tried Firefox 3.6? -
http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/all-beta.html

Pardal Freudenthal

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Nov 20, 2009, 11:08:33 PM11/20/09
to
> If Mozilla wants to promote Personas why not just add them to the
> current themes section if they are just themes like heavy weight
> themes?
>

Can you imagine how the user reviews of Personas would look like? :-)

Looking at how things are being done, I understand this: "We expect
that most users will prefer to use Persona-style themes..."
like: "We are doing our best to integrate Personas in Firefox in a way
that we expect
that most users will prefer to use Persona-style themes..."

Dave Townsend

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Nov 21, 2009, 1:29:12 PM11/21/09
to
On 2009-11-20 16:50:15 -0800, Ed Hume <edh...@gmail.com> said:
> Despite your lip service to third-party themes, I can see what you
> have in mind for us. I just have one request: please make sure that
> visually-impaired users can get big icons, and that your default theme
> allows for extra-large text. Right now you are optimized for guys who
> prefer tiny text and icons.
>
> Ed

I believe the default theme's text changes size based on the OS font
sizing, if not we should certainly fix that. I guess the icons probably
don't right now but we should probably try to do that too.

Mike Connor

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Nov 22, 2009, 7:52:16 PM11/22/09
to Aronnax, dev-apps...@lists.mozilla.org

On 20-Nov-09, at 9:53 AM, Aronnax wrote:

> Hi,
> thanks but i think it it helps only to start a new discussion.
>
> First of all:
> Who is We? Who decide it? Who had talked for the theme system?

This was proposed a _long_ time ago, and I blogged about the ideas and
linked to the wiki doc you mention. Feedback was minimal.

> Mike Conner talks the first time many months ago about these themes
> system changes leaves many questions open. Your post answer not
> really these questions and added actually a few more. For example:
> How should it works, when Personas change the buttons and a theme do
> the same. It is exactly the reason, why Personas on Mac OS X works
> only with the default theme. Ok, stuff like this can be fixed, but
> who works now on a concept to prevent bugs like this. Likely nobody.
> I think nobody cares - only Personas counts now ;-)

Ultimately, the reason why we don't have <choose theme> + <choose
Persona> is that the UI starts getting harder to understand, and it's
largely a technical distinction. It also is harder to ensure a good
experience for users (many themes were poorly implemented).

If you had questions, did you raise them then?

> XPI themes will eventually be installed like extensions.
> - It is then only logical to remove these extension-themes from the
> theme selection of the Add-ons manager.
> - They will be hidden somewhere in addons.mozilla.org. and many user
> will not even know that these themes exist.

> - Under this conditions will be many themes aborted … the theme

> community will slowly die .. the documentation will die .. bugs will
> be, sooner or later, fixed without a consideration of theme needs.
>
> Without a doubt would it be the end of the current themes.

I think that we erred greatly in treating themes as somehow different
from extensions. They're just a type of customization, and I do not
believe that they are more or less interesting than any other type of
customization that users will do with current-style addons, except
that they're harder to build and maintain, in many ways.

> "We believe that Personas are a better user experience than XPI
> Themes."
> Without a restart is nice ;-) - naturally - And? Is this all?

Easy install/update, easy to create and tweak, very very sandboxed (no
chrome access, no trust decision required).

> Personas can do some things better and themes can do other things
> much better.
> This will be never changed. Personas can have many new user and

> themes have already much more … i still don't understand why themes
> should be hidden.

To turn it around, why should current themes get primacy over another
type of customization like tab addons, or toolbars?

-- Mike

Mike Connor

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Nov 22, 2009, 7:35:31 PM11/22/09
to Ed Hume, dev-apps...@lists.mozilla.org

On 20-Nov-09, at 4:50 PM, Ed Hume wrote:

> OK. I see the reference to "XPI themes." It's been a long time since
> XPI packaging was allowed for themes. Did you have something else in
> mind?

Nope. The idea of "XPI themes" was shorthand for taking the
limitations off what a "theme" can do and have them simply be a type
of extension, with all of the same privs for authors. Rather than
simply styling the elements (alternate CSS+images) we would enable
theme authors to do more radical changes, and even provide alternate
widgets (i.e. separate back/forward buttons, or even different UIs).
It's really more "stop treating extensions and themes as separate
things in the UI" as a concept.

-- Mike

Mike Connor

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Nov 22, 2009, 7:23:39 PM11/22/09
to Dave Townsend, dev-apps...@lists.mozilla.org

There's a bug, somewhere, on solving this better as higher-dpi screens
start coming out. One shouldn't need to install a third-party addon
to get sanely-scaled icons.

We didn't blow up with Extra Large fonts on Windows last I mucked with
themes, but that's a good 18 months ago. If we don't now, a bug
should be filed.

-- Mike

Aronnax

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Nov 23, 2009, 5:49:36 AM11/23/09
to
Hi,

Am 23.11.09 01:52, schrieb Mike Connor:


>
> On 20-Nov-09, at 9:53 AM, Aronnax wrote:
>
>> Hi,
>> thanks but i think it it helps only to start a new discussion.
>>
>> First of all:
>> Who is We? Who decide it? Who had talked for the theme system?
>
> This was proposed a _long_ time ago, and I blogged about the ideas and
> linked to the wiki doc you mention. Feedback was minimal.

Some themer asked therefore the same questions (i as well) some months
ago, if it is intended to replace themes and the answer was no.
From a themer point of view was this minimal feedback enough. And we
have still no detailed plans, how themes and Personas should work in the
future together, or?

>
>> Mike Conner talks the first time many months ago about these themes
>> system changes leaves many questions open. Your post answer not really
>> these questions and added actually a few more. For example: How should
>> it works, when Personas change the buttons and a theme do the same. It
>> is exactly the reason, why Personas on Mac OS X works only with the
>> default theme. Ok, stuff like this can be fixed, but who works now on
>> a concept to prevent bugs like this. Likely nobody. I think nobody
>> cares - only Personas counts now ;-)
>
> Ultimately, the reason why we don't have <choose theme> + <choose
> Persona> is that the UI starts getting harder to understand, and it's
> largely a technical distinction. It also is harder to ensure a good
> experience for users (many themes were poorly implemented).

I read for example some blogs from Personas guys and they talked in
particular about time problems to get everything ready for 3.6.
Therefore only now with the default themes and later will it be maybe ..
probable .. who knows .. expanded. What should someone say against
(about) these time arguments? Not easy ;-)


>
> If you had questions, did you raise them then?

I talked with Myk M. about special Mac Personas problems and asked D�o
G. from time to time, how he build it for 3.6 (He build it in a kind of
way, that every theme could use it - now, or later)
When i read then on the other hand only about time problems .. What
should i asked more? I thought there are now only other questions for
the time after 3.6.

>
>> XPI themes will eventually be installed like extensions.
>> - It is then only logical to remove these extension-themes from the
>> theme selection of the Add-ons manager.
>> - They will be hidden somewhere in addons.mozilla.org. and many user
>> will not even know that these themes exist.

>> - Under this conditions will be many themes aborted � the theme


>> community will slowly die .. the documentation will die .. bugs will
>> be, sooner or later, fixed without a consideration of theme needs.
>>
>> Without a doubt would it be the end of the current themes.
>
> I think that we erred greatly in treating themes as somehow different
> from extensions. They're just a type of customization, and I do not
> believe that they are more or less interesting than any other type of
> customization that users will do with current-style addons, except that
> they're harder to build and maintain, in many ways.

Yes, correct.
But there is one difference.
Themes have a very weak lobby and will be from time time forgotten.

>
>> "We believe that Personas are a better user experience than XPI Themes."
>> Without a restart is nice ;-) - naturally - And? Is this all?
>
> Easy install/update, easy to create and tweak, very very sandboxed (no
> chrome access, no trust decision required).

Yes, as well correct ... and you had for example forgotten to mention
that many many have a very very bad usability .. and they can not
replace the other themes, when someone want more ;-)

>
>> Personas can do some things better and themes can do other things much
>> better.
>> This will be never changed. Personas can have many new user and themes

>> have already much more � i still don't understand why themes should be


>> hidden.
>
> To turn it around, why should current themes get primacy over another
> type of customization like tab addons, or toolbars?
>

Themes do not need or earn a primacy.
A fair treatment is enough. For example have themes not even anymore an
own name and must share it now with these Personas background images.

By the way,
what is now the official name of these themes?
For example: Old rusty heavyweight XPI extension themes, or what? ;-)


> -- Mike
>

Aronnax

Aronnax

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Nov 23, 2009, 8:01:19 AM11/23/09
to
Hi,

We have for example alredy some theme-extentions
Brand Thunder https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/user/37347

Even my Mac OS X only themes have higher download numbers ;-)
They are hidden somewhere in Appearance Add-ons + Toolbars Add-ons
and this is probably one of the reasons.
When you want to kill themes, when treat all the other themes in the
future like these theme-extentions ;-)

On the other hand have we more and more themes, which includes
additionally an extension.
For example: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/10674
I think many themer would be happy with possibilities, but not when they
are then hidden in nowhere of the Appearance selection ;-)

Cheers

>
> -- Mike

Pardal Freudenthal

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Dec 17, 2009, 1:43:51 PM12/17/09
to
> > Nope. The idea of "XPI themes" was shorthand for taking the limitations
> > off what a "theme" can do and have them simply be a type of extension,
> > with all of the same privs for authors. Rather than simply styling the
> > elements (alternate CSS+images) we would enable theme authors to do more
> > radical changes, and even provide alternate widgets (i.e. separate
> > back/forward buttons, or even different UIs). It's really more "stop
> > treating extensions and themes as separate things in the UI" as a concept.

Ohh. It sounds wonderful, but NO THANKS.
As Aronnax! has pointed, we have already such possibilities in those
two ways: the "extension-themes" (and that example "ruins" another
themes with their "wonderful skinned" toolbars; and looking for the
number of "themes" they produce (82?), one can imagine the propo$e$
from them...) and the bundles (that also need some guidelines to avoid
missing up other themes). So, we have already the possibilities (with
the bundle) you are talking about.

The great advantage from themes against extensions is the way they
register the skin providers and how they are selected. The skin
providers brought from themes substitute the originals. This is a
great feature, since if the user has installed a crap theme, he/she
must only to select another theme and will have no annoying side
effects.

Styles brought from extensions that are made only looking for the
default theme will still living there even if the user choose a third-
party theme. This could be simply avoided, we have enough
documentation and guidelines for it. I can say I spend 70% from my
work on my themes repairing things that extensions break that should
never get broke...

Again, we have already a great theme system, that really makes the
difference comparing to the boring models from the others. Why kill
it?

And what about the link to the real themes on personas home page? It
still not existing there.

Cheers

Mike Beltzner

unread,
Dec 17, 2009, 2:50:47 PM12/17/09
to Pardal Freudenthal, dev-apps...@lists.mozilla.org
----- "Pardal Freudenthal" <par...@gmx.de> wrote:
> Again, we have already a great theme system, that really makes the
> difference comparing to the boring models from the others. Why kill
> it?

Nobody has ever stated that we are "killing" anything. Also, the uptake and ease of development, application and deployment of Personas fix real problems with the existing theme system. This is win-win.

I'm sorry you feel differently, but don't think there's much point to discussing this further.

cheers,
mike

Aronnax

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Dec 17, 2009, 3:39:45 PM12/17/09
to

>
> ... deployment of Personas fix real problems with the existing theme system. This is win-win.

Currently have some Personas user as well some difficulties to see this
win-win ;-)
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/reviews/display/10900

Or they have maybe as well another opinion about a real win-win ;-)

Cheers

CatThief

unread,
Dec 19, 2009, 8:57:57 PM12/19/09
to
Pardal Freudenthal wrote the following on 12-17-2009 1:43 PM:

> Again, we have already a great theme system, that really makes the
> difference comparing to the boring models from the others. Why kill
> it?

I'm with you, Pardal.

--
Regards,
CatThief

To reply privately, please PM me at MozillaZine...
http://forums.mozillazine.org/ucp.php?i=pm&mode=compose&u=25774

Alfred Kayser

unread,
Jan 4, 2010, 10:05:36 AM1/4/10
to Mike Beltzner, Pardal Freudenthal, dev-apps...@lists.mozilla.org
I am sorry, but I don't see this as a 'win-win'.
A win-win situation is where both Personas and 'xpi' themes can live
together.
But currently, FF3.6 with and without Personas 1.5 extension:
1. doesn't allow a theme together with a personas. It even switches back
from a selected theme to the default theme.
2. doesn't point to the addons/theme site.

Especially 1 is an active method of disabling/removing existing theme
usage: or 'killing' it.
Killing is never a 'win-win'...

I don't understand why the mozilla organization thinks that
'heavy-weight' themes are such a trouble.
They are 'sandboxed' and cannot do the harm that normal extensions do.
Allowing (or even forcing) the existing themes to become an XPI
extension, just paves the way for new issues...

Introducing Personas as a type of theme is fine (even with the extra
competition),
but locking out the old type of themes in the way as described above,
is considered 'unfair' in terms of competition (see the IE case in the
European open market issue).

Shawn Wilsher

unread,
Jan 4, 2010, 10:59:59 AM1/4/10
to dev-apps...@lists.mozilla.org
On 1/4/2010 7:05 AM, Alfred Kayser wrote:
> I don't understand why the mozilla organization thinks that
> 'heavy-weight' themes are such a trouble.
> They are 'sandboxed' and cannot do the harm that normal extensions do.
This is hardly true. It's trivial for a theme to do extension-like
things. It wasn't the original intent, sure, but it is certainly possible.

Cheers,

Shawn

Pardal Freudenthal

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Jan 4, 2010, 11:38:07 AM1/4/10
to

Ok! I agree with you that the idea to "kill" the theme system is quite
absurd.
Such a decision could only be done as a long time target, with a lot
of discussions. Killing the theme system now, would mean that this
decision was made a long time ago.
So, which kind of people would encourage a lot of developers to work
without any payment sacrificing their free time (and believe me,
making themes demands a looooot of work and time), having in mind to
"kill" this work after a while? What would these people say to these
developers now? Some of these developers are working on this for more
than 5-6 years now!
No, this is impossible.

So, I suppose the document from Mike Connor:
https://wiki.mozilla.org/User:Mconnor/PersonasUplift#Deprecation_of_old-style_themes
contains a typo. "Deprecation of old-style themes" must be read as
"*Depreciation* of old-style themes".
This is exactly what is happening now. Themes are going to be
"depreciated", pushed to the status of second-class citizens.
Maybe having seen the issue in this way, it serves as a basis for
further discussions?

Themers have already a lot of issues to deal with. like changes on XUL
that kill backwards compatibility, lack of classes and ID's that would
be helpful for other UI approaches than that from default theme, style
rules living on content, hard codded images, inline styles, poor
written stylesheets brought from extensions and so on... With this
"depreciation", the chances for solving these issues are minimal.
(Maybe are exactly these issues the reason for "depreciating" third
party themes?)

I don't think that theme developers deserve "depreciation". They
deserve just a little respect...

Boris Zbarsky

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Jan 4, 2010, 11:46:14 AM1/4/10
to
On 1/4/10 10:05 AM, Alfred Kayser wrote:
> They are 'sandboxed' and cannot do the harm that normal extensions do.

Would that it were so. It's not. The false perception that this is the
case is a huge problem from a security standpoint. The obvious solution
to that is to make reality match expectations, by either changing
reality (a lot of work in core code, breaks some nontrivial fraction of
themes, makes themes less useful than they are now) or changing
expectations (e.g. eliminating the distinction between XPI themes and
XPI extensions)...

-Boris

Mike Connor

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Jan 4, 2010, 12:31:38 PM1/4/10
to Boris Zbarsky, dev-apps...@lists.mozilla.org

We've changed the install flow so it should be the same for XPI installs
in general. I don't know if there's still an education problem, but I
think the reality is that XPI themes shouldn't be sandboxed at all.

-- Mike

Alfred Kayser

unread,
Jan 4, 2010, 4:53:25 PM1/4/10
to Pardal Freudenthal
On 4-1-2010 17:38, Pardal Freudenthal wrote:
> I don't think that theme developers deserve "depreciation". They
> deserve just a little respect...
Indeed, so if we are indeed talking about depreciation here,
it would have been nicer to introduce this to the 'old' theme authors
in a much more nicer way. At least by telling why this happing,
the timing of this, and by supporting these authors in converting and/or
migrating and/or bailing out of this...


Philip Chee

unread,
Jan 5, 2010, 12:09:34 AM1/5/10
to

Also please note that "Heavy Weight" XPI themes are *not*
deprecated/depreciated in SeaMonkey. I very much hope that when you
disable these themes in Firefox you don't remove the underlying
toolkit/gecko functionality that other applications expect.

A bit of consideration for other consumers will be gratefully appreciated.

Phil

--
Philip Chee <phi...@aleytys.pc.my>, <phili...@gmail.com>
http://flashblock.mozdev.org/ http://xsidebar.mozdev.org
Guard us from the she-wolf and the wolf, and guard us from the thief,
oh Night, and so be good for us to pass.

Mike Beltzner

unread,
Jan 5, 2010, 12:39:56 AM1/5/10
to Philip Chee, dev-apps...@lists.mozilla.org
On 2010-01-05, at 12:09 AM, Philip Chee wrote:

> Also please note that "Heavy Weight" XPI themes are *not*
> deprecated/depreciated in SeaMonkey. I very much hope that when you
> disable these themes in Firefox you don't remove the underlying
> toolkit/gecko functionality that other applications expect.

I don't know how many times I have to say this, but this will definitely be my last contribution to this thread which shows little evidence of people actually listening, but lots of people desperate to speak "truth to power."

There are presently no plans to delete, dilute, deprecate, disable, destroy or any other d-verb "heavy weight" themes. There are also no plans to invest deeply in developing that technology, but (and this is important) there weren't every such plans in the works in the years that I've been involved with the project, really.

There are plans to move the primary UI mechanisms for theming towards "Personas" style lightweight themes which can be designed, developed, and delivered more easily to users. That's all that's happened. We think that they provide a better user experience for the majority of users, and so we've added them in 3.6, and are trying to figure out how to enhance them (add styling to buttons) so that they displace (not *replace*) Themes in the primary customization UI in a future release. Beyond that we've made no firm decisions.

We may, at some point, decide that we need to stop supporting classic themes. That decision would be made based on the costs vs. benefits, but we're not there yet.

> A bit of consideration for other consumers will be gratefully appreciated.

I don't mean to pick on Philip, but as someone who has spent literally years doing my absolute best to gather input, weigh costs and benefits, and guide the project in ways that are most beneficial for not only the Firefox product but the overall community, I find the implication in this comment to be hurtful.

I think everyone needs to be much more careful in the way we discuss these sorts of decisions. These are not arguments that need to be "won" or "fought." They are decisions that need to be debated on their merits and with respect.

cheers,
mike

Aronnax

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Jan 5, 2010, 6:31:10 AM1/5/10
to
Hi,
thanks

We have still the question, if a theme should work (again) together with
a personas in future versions of Firefox.


Cheers

Pardal Freudenthal

unread,
Jan 6, 2010, 11:22:43 AM1/6/10
to
Please, we are not discussing about what was planned or not, what you
said or not. I don't care about words, neither d-verbs nor l-verbs. I
believe on attitude. The facts are clear enough and we provide a lot
of examples from what we are concerned about.

To make things easier I will try to list the complains:

1. WE DON'T WANT Personas being treated as "themes". They are not!
Personas are "skins". Don't suppose our users are not "smart" enough
to understand the difference between them. Of course they are smart!
They use Firefox ;-)

2. WE DON'T WANT a "Get Themes" link pointing to the "Get Personas"
page. This is quite offensive (not only for us, theme developers, but
also for our users). For more than two months ago we talked about this
on Bugzilla and the talk was about "primarily" Personas page but with
a link to the themes section. Until now nothing happened... And this
is also not really something that would satisfy us....

3. WE DON'T WANT Personas listed as Themes on Add-ons Manager. This is
confusing and will bloat the UI. 1. and 2. explain why.

4. WE WANT that the new feature, to change skins (personas) at real
time, also works with third party themes. (Could you imagine if
Microsoft would allow the "feature" Glass only for Microsoft
Products?)


For kind of feedback on the above points, look at the few reviews to
Personas from people using the 3.6 betas. Also this comment on MZ is
very enlightening: http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?p=8385025#p8385025


5. WE DON'T WANT Themes working as Extensions. The benefits of the
actual system, concerning chrome registration, how themes substitute
the skin providers for the main packages and how the
general.skins.selectedSkin key works are enormous.

6. WE WANT that themes will be listed like they used to at AMO, not at
the end of the list. (Interesting that everything there is listed on
alphabetically order but Personas...)

So, please treat these complains seriously and with the respect they
deserve. Please explain us why these decisions, that obviously
displease the whole theme community, were taken.

Mike Beltzner

unread,
Jan 6, 2010, 11:48:28 AM1/6/10
to Pardal Freudenthal, dev-apps...@lists.mozilla.org
I believe I have actually spoken to all of these concerns previously in the thread. The core answer, though, is that while we are *not* removing the functional capabilities that enable "heavy" themes, we are definitely migrating the user interface towards promoting "lightweight" themes, starting with Firefox 3.6.

I would like to move towards a point where lightweight themes can work with heavy themes, allowing users to skin and theme in completely flexible ways. So far no solution has presented itself, but I think that it would definitely be functionality that would be advantageous to users and developers, so it should be investigated.

I am sorry that this will leave you unsatisfied and upset, but it is a Firefox product decision based on our belief that lightweight themes are closer to what the majority of Firefox users are looking for in terms of visual customization of the browser. This is supported by metrics, user feedback, and comparing experiences with other browsers.

cheers,
mike

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> dev-apps-firefox mailing list
> dev-apps...@lists.mozilla.org
> https://lists.mozilla.org/listinfo/dev-apps-firefox

Aronnax

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Jan 6, 2010, 12:37:31 PM1/6/10
to

> I would like to move towards a point where lightweight themes can work with heavy themes, allowing users to skin and theme in completely flexible ways. So far no solution has presented itself, but I think that it would definitely be functionality that would be advantageous to users and developers, so it should be investigated.
>

D�o G. has already build the lightweight themes system inside 3.6 in a
kind of way that every theme could use even now.
(By the way, he asked therefor the themer, what we want and need and
build it then - very obliging ;-) )

We have only the problem, that the 3.6 Add-on manager not approve it and
has some missing features to choose a themes and a Personas together.
All we have to do is to find therefor an easy to use solution and add
these changes to the Add-ons Manager.

Themes on the other hand must only add some code changes and everthing
is fine again.

Cheers

Mike Shaver

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Jan 6, 2010, 1:25:26 PM1/6/10