Tip for Mac Firefox users

You're reading Mikko Saari's blog Life and opinions. This entry was written 05/25/2005, at 09:26.

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I've found Firefox's behaviour on Mac very annoying: by default, pressing tab jumps only between text fields. It doesn't move the focus to links or what's worse, dropdown menus or checkboxes. That's rather annoying, when you're trying to fill a form.

It seems it's not a bug, but intended Mac behaviour. It's bloody annoying, nevertheless, but fortunately there's a solution. Right now the Mozilla folks are debating whether to add this as something users can change themselves (I vote YES YES YES), meanwhile there's a cryptic solution.

Go to Firefox config by typing "about:config" on the address bar. Find "accessibility.tabfocus" (should be near the top). It's value should be 1. Change that to 3, and the tab key starts to work the way you expect.

It still won't move the focus to links (which is fine with me); if you want that enabled, setting the value to 5 causes tab to move to text fields and links and setting it to 7 causes it to move to everything.

See Bugzilla for more details.

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Did you check Camillo? I tried Firefox for mac, but it just didn't seem to work as it should and seemed buggy too. I might check it again though, it's been ages since I tried it.

Posted by: Reko at May 28, 2005 8:25 PM

Camino has three flaws compared to Firefox:

1) The tabs. They are centered, not aligned to left. They shift when their amount changes. That's annoying, when you're trying to close several tabs with mouse and have to move cursor around instead of clicking a stable button. Slightly annoying, but small things matter.

2) No ad blocking. I'm so used to Adblock I'm having hard time coping with flashy ads.

3) No form memory. I find it very annoying when the browser doesn't remember stuff I've written on forms. For example, buying train tickets on Firefox takes little typing as I always enter the same phrases (which are "Tampere", "Helsinki", "Mikko Saari", "+35841469014", "msaari@iki.fi") and the browser remembers them.

Small things, but enough to make Firefox better than Camino. Also, I had Camino crash on me few times, which Firefox hasn't done even once so far. I'm using the latest Firefox, so perhaps there have been some improvements since you last tried it? It's quite fast-evolving.

The form movement issue was my only problem with Firefox, but with that little change, that's fine, too.

Posted by: Mikko Saari Author Profile Page at May 28, 2005 11:16 PM

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