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Unicode installer and updater available soon

Until now, localization projects which did not have a Windows code-page assigned to them were out of luck for localizing the installer and updater user interfaces for all Mozilla-based applications.  We all know that code-pages are evil; here are the main problems encountered with code-page based localization of these two applications:

  • Locales which did not have a code-page available could not localize the installer and updater files.
  • The installer and updater applications made for locales which did have a code-page available only worked if Windows was configured to use exactly that code-page, otherwise the users would see garbage text (see for example this screenshot which was taken from the Russian installer on an English version of Windows XP).

These two reasons had caused many locales not localizing the updater and installer applications.  And because the installer at least is the first part of the application a user needs to interact with, this was a big problem.

I found out about this when trying to find out why my Persian translations for the Firefox installer cause the build process to break.  Soon I found out that there are two bugs filed for Unicode support in the installer and the updater, so I stepped up and worked on them.  We are switching to Unicode NSIS, which is a heroic project of Jim Park, to teach Unicode to the NSIS Installer.  Thanks to the wonderful help from Robert Strong, we are nearly ready to land the Unicode support for the installer (Unicode support for the updater has landed recently).

I’ve tried to summarize what this means for localizers:

  • This will affect Firefox trunk (3.2) and 3.1, Thunderbird 3.0, SeaMonkey 2.0 as well as Sunbird 1.0.
  • If you have already translated the installer and updater strings for your locale, there is nothing special for you to do here – you can relax and enjoy the results (which would be that the installer and updater will magically show up correct on all Windows configurations)!
  • If you have not yet translated the installer and updater so far, this means that you can get started right now!  But please don’t land your translations until bug 305039 lands, otherwise your locale builds will fail until then.

Last but not least, here are some screenshots from the Persian translation of Firefox installer for your viewing pleasure.

Persian Firefox Unicode Installer

Persian Firefox Unicode Installer

Persian Firefox Unicode Installer

Happy localizing!

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Mozilla Wallpaper Collection

Here’s a precious collection of Mozilla related wallpapers.  I always wanted such a collection, and I thought I’d share this.  Thanks to Frederic who originally posted this.  Oh, and in case you’re wondering, here’s my new wallpaper.

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Find In Numbers now public

I just received an email stating that my Find In Numbers extension has gone public on AMO.  This means that now you can install it without having to log in, and you’ll be notified of any updates.  Thanks to all of those who had reviewed this extension.  This is my second public extension on AMO, after IranZilla (which I’m going to write about soon).  You can download this extension here.

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Find In Numbers: now available for Thunderbird, Songbird and Flock!

I knew that porting extensions from one Mozilla-based application to the other should be easy, but I didn’t know it was that easy!  Today, I updated my Find In Numbers extension to work in Thunderbird, Songbird and Flock!  It was mostly the process of finding the correct XUL file to overlay, find the GUID used for each application, and then editing the install.rdf and chrome.manifest files accordingly.

So, now Find In Numbers 1.4 is available, which, in addition to the above additions, fixes a bug in handling searches in pages with embedded frames.  You should go and get it while it’s hot!  This new version works in Firefox 2.0.0.x and 3.0.x, Thunderbird 2.0.0.x and 3.0 Alpha 1, Songbird 0.6 and above, and Flock 0.8 to 2.0 experimental versions.  You should now be thinking to yourself, why is this not available for SeaMonkey?  SeaMonkey does not currently use the Find Toolbar which is used in Firefox, Thunderbird, Songbird and Flock, and porting this code to SeaMonkey would require non-trivial effort.

Oh, and I was very excited to see that Find In Numbers has got some Japanese love.  Here’s the English translation of the page for those who can’t read Japanese (like me).  Thank you guys!  And make sure you post your reviews on AMO as well so that the extension can become public soon!

And because such a post is not complete without screenshots, here are some.  In each screenshot, note the number of matches being displayed in the right side of the Find Toolbar.

Find In Numbers, Thunderbird 2.0.0.14
Find In Numbers, Thunderbird 2.0.0.14

Find In Numbers, Thunderbird 3.0 Alpha 1
Find In Numbers, Thunderbird 3.0 Alpha 1

Find In Numbers, Songbird 0.6
Find In Numbers, Songbird 0.6

Find In Numbers, Flock 1.2.1
Find In Numbers, Flock 1.2.1

Find In Numbers, Flock 2.0a1pre, latest nightly build
Find In Numbers, Flock 2.0a1pre, latest nightly build

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How to test your Mozilla patch in RTL mode

I’m happy to announce the availability of the Force RTL extension!  This extension allows you to test Firefox and Thunderbird’s user interface in RTL mode, without needing to download a Hebrew, Arabic or Persian version, without changing the user interface language, and without restarting the application (if you’re running a recent version of the application).  You can read more here.

Kai Liu had the original idea for this extension.  He mentioned to me on IRC that he has an extension which he uses to test the browser interface in RTL mode.  I was eager to see this extension, and he was kind enough to share the extension on addons.mozilla.org.  I decided that it was inconvenient to restart the application each time one wants to switch the direction, so I started hacking the extension and added support for dynamic switching of the direction.  After a few emails exchanged with Kai, some small changes made by him and me to make the extension work better, I uploaded the latest version of the extension (2.0.1) to addons.mozilla.org.

Go install the extension and test how your Firefox and Thunderbird look and behave in right-to-left mode!  I also created a page explaining this extension in more details.  Here’s a picture of this extension in action:

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