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Mozilla: the URL Bar Has To Go


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A few months ago, Google caused quite a stir when it was revealed that they were considering removing the address bar in a future version of Google Chrome. Many people were up in arms at the idea of navigating the web without this seemingly-essential UI element and now it looks like Mozilla might one day follow suit, if a blog post detailing some browser concepts is to be believed.

The location bar has to go. It has many problems. For one, it's always visible and constantly takes up a large amount of space. Secondly, it's hard to read, since people don't really understand URLs. Moreover, it's
modal
: it has a mode for displaying the current page's location and a mode for entering your next destination. It's not always immediately obvious which mode you're in and what the current text is indicating, and switching modes is not easy either.

While this move will certainly polarise the Internet, author David Regev makes quite a good case for dumping the much-loved URL bar. However, the blog is interesting because it's less about removing features from the web browser and more about designing it from scratch.

A big part of the redesign is Ubiquity, a currently experimental addon for firefox that allows users type in natural language commands to perform various actions. This has the immediate benefit of letting you add extra functionality to the browser without having to add new UI elements and the theory is that it could be used to navigate web sites just as effectively as the URL bar while at the same time adding a lot of extra functionality.

The case for removing the URL bar is certainly a compelling one, however everyone at least agrees that although it may be a bit clunky, it serves an essential purpose and all that functionality must be retained somehow. Mozilla's proposed solution differs from Chromes in this regard. Rather than having the URL drop down from the tab, the proposition is to have page information inline, at the top. When you scroll down, the information is hidden, much like how modern mobile browsers work to save screen real estate. The side effect of this is that you've got a lot more room to play with, meaning you can have much richer and more detailed page information. Even cooler is the idea that your browsing history can then be part of this tab as well. Scroll down even further and you'll see the previous page you were on, or the item you downloaded from the page you're currently on.

At the moment, this is all purely concept so don't expect any major changes to Firefox just yet, but it's certainly an interesting debate and the author encourages people to join in with any criticisms or suggestions they may have.

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No, just no... 'People don't understand URLs...'

*Look at the sign. No, just look at the sign. Does it say: 'I give a damn?'. No, it does not.*

People, pfff.

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Okay so yes I love the way mine looks without it with LessChrome HD.. LOVE IT.. but this is absolutely ridiculous... I do absolutely give a damn if it goes completely away.. I may autohide the damn thing..but removing it all together is out of the question..

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Leave the damn URLs visible, they're important... :mellow:

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I like seeing the URL info, plus I use the URL bar quite frequently.

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..Not to mention the only way to GO anywhere is going to be to search.. Probably with google.. because how else are we going to get to another provider.. without the ability to type in url's.. Really making it more customizable is great this is just monopolization .. and.. and.. it' s just silly.. poor UI..

One-word.. autohide options... and more control or the bar.. thats all they need to do.. Might as well revert back to using Windows Explorer to get to Internet Addesses..

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No open source software maker can get away by paying a deaf ear to the community, lets see where it goes, doubt that people will ignore the negatives.

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..Not to mention the only way to GO anywhere is going to be to search.. Probably with google.. because how else are we going to get to another provider.. without the ability to type in url's..

You've misunderstood. When you open up a new tab or window, the "browse" action will be available and you can type in the URL you want to go to. You can also edit the URL at any time by invoking the command. You don't need to search for everything, you can still type in URLs directly.

Really, it doesn't make any sense to display the URL at all times - it doesn't really contain any useful information. Say my current URL for example:

http://www.nsaneforums.com/index.php?app=forums&module=post&section=post&do=reply_post&f=5&t=87x36&qpid=30157x
I know I'm on the Nsane forums - the titlebar is enough to tell me if I had forgotten. Having the URL bar there does not give me any useful additional information. I only need to see the URL bar when I enter or edit a URL, so this move makes sense.
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Now, if we can just get someone as observant and studious as yourself to explain that to people who 'don't understand it' as stated above.. LOL.. and a reason they state they are projecting to go this way... ( I smell something.. :shit: ) Not to be offensive... but yeah I had mah Troll_Face on.. One thing.. What about people who hide their TabBar?

...I did read that.. what I wrote, it is actually is a statement about the state of things and some of the continuing things that happen to go on in this world... Like forcing a default search from the URL Bar to Google.. and of course other elements concerning Chrome itself... I think its a horrible idea truthfully because if I have to see my tab bar to browse.. the appearance is literally cut up more, more icons and junk... more close buttons.. labels .. you get the picture though..

I simply like more control over the URL Bar and like the idea of being able to AutoHide and so on.. call it up when needed or keep it up to show links and load progress.. I have quite a few things changed in mine at the moment and I like it.. a few small glitches.. but they will work out ..I hope.. :)

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