Ancient Gecko widgets

On Linux:

  1. Why do Gecko / Firefox HTML widgets still look like non-native ones from 1995?
  2. Why has this been such a long-standing issue?
  3. When are modern widgets that look like the rest of the operating system (such as those in XUL) going to appear?

Just curious; it would be nice to have this fixed someday.

(Windows has had native looking widgets for a while and the Mac is finally getting them too…)

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22 Responses to “Ancient Gecko widgets”

  1. Raf says:

    This is bug 232553:

    Apparently (and unfortunately), the answer simply seems to be: “because no one has bothered implementing it yet”…

  2. Alex Graveley says:

    The most relevant bug I can find with a quick Moz Bugzilla search is here: Not much progress :-/

  3. Stoffe says:

    For the why’s, it’s probably just been low priority – can’t see why it should be more important than a lot of other features, including other native-fit ones.

    I just don’t see the point. On nicely designed pages, the widgets are redesigned anyways, on non-designed it makes the new widgets stand out, and on top of this, designers with poor technical understanding are creating non-portable pages that depend on a certain *native* widget sets already… (yep, it’s the Mac guys on Safari). It’s a mess. Use CSS instead, IMO.

    But, as for the when, it’s in the next Gecko already, and I think this means it’s coming with Firefox 3.0, which in turn should be out this year.


  4. Matt Michie says:

    Don’t you know that its against the law for OSS advocates to criticize Mozilla/Firefox in any way? 😉

  5. kiddo says:

    Yes! you nailed it! one of my most cherished gecko bugs!

    Please, please, please, someone be my hero and fix this gecko thing for good! Patching my firefox thingy to have epiphany display CSSed forms is certainly an ugly workaround

  6. Chipzz says:

    I’m surprised nobody pointed this out already, but if I’m not mistaken it has 2 reasons:
    1) You can use CSS to theme form widgets; how is that supposed to work together with native widgets?
    2) Some widgets actually allow HTML inside of them.

  7. anonymouse says:

    More importantly, when are they going to get rid of that stupid non-native tab bar they added in Firefox 2.0, and revert back to the native one?

  8. ak says:

    I think it would be nice if the default widgets follow the current GTK theme (or QT on KDE) and revert back to ‘old style’ when they are styled.

  9. Chris Howie says:

    Well, probably because the Linux community hasn’t been crying out about it. And probably because they don’t give a crap. When they click a button it does what it’s supposed to, and that’s the point.

  10. Brian says:

    This has baffled me for a long time. There was support for native looking forms in gtk+-1. I don’t see why Firefox looks perfect in Windows, Camino looks perfect in OSX, and we’re stuck with ugly forms in Linux, the home of open source.

    (I also remember there being a push a while back, and that’s how we got the scrollbar, but that’s it.)

  11. anonymous says:

    From what I know it won’t happen, definitely not for firefox 3 and probably never if we just expect the mozilla developers to make it.

    It seems clearlooks has something to do with that. Robert O’Callahan from mozilla has made it work but he had some problems with clearlooks and the way it handles paints the background of the widgets. Read the following post in his blog and the comments.

    Also check out in the screenshot that combo-boxes/dropdown-lists aren’t HIG compliant.

    And here is the bug:

    And check also this comment by him.

  12. MadMan2k says:

    there was an attempt back in the 1.6 development cycle but it somehow didnt land:

  13. hbons says:

    I really don’t know why this isn’t fixed yet, the whole firefox UI integrates nicely in Windows, KDE and GNOME, so theming web widgets shouldn’t be that hard.

    Garrett, if I remember correctly, you did Industrial widgets for firefox 1.0? Can’t this be done for firefox 2?

  14. erik says:

    “Windows has had native looking widgets for a while”

    What on earth are you mumbling about? Firefox does definitely look or feel native on Windows. Most of the GUI is XUL stuff that just does things wrong and there is no theme or anything to fix it. Only the form buttons etc are good, but only if you are on XP.

    On Vista there’s *nothing* “native” on Firefox. It’s plain horrible if you compare it to the a few proper WPF applications that are out there. It’s simply out of place on Vista. Looks and acts wrong on every possible spot. IE7’s GUI kicks the ass of it very easily on many counts. (And IE7s GUI is actually pretty much a failure so…)

  15. hans says:

    In response to Erik (#18),

    I believe Garrett is ‘mumbling’ solely about the embedded HTML form widgets.

    As an end-user, I too find it to be a bit of a thorn in my eye when I visit a site that has default widgets. I’d take native non-CSS themed widgets over what Firefox is showing right now anytime. Just to illustrate for those that don’t know what they look like:

    If the site I’m visiting has them styled, it’s less painful since at least the colors fit in better and maybe the borders are fully visible too. But as an end-user I have no control over that (well, I do with certain Firefox extensions, but that’s just not worth the trouble.)

    It’s not a big issue at all but it’s something I would love to see changed anyway. I did some googling on this too a while back and from what I understand it just can’t be implemented in a non-hacky way. I remember it having to do something with how GTK+ draws the backgrounds for its widgets (I don’t remember if it was something specific to ClearLooks).

  16. garrett says:

    One idea is making this this work for a majority of themes and then fix the themes that it does weird stuff with… perhaps with a workaround (for something like clearlooks), or even perhaps not.

    Either way, if there’s a technical reason why this isn’t working, let’s (as a community of developers) work on communication and fixing the technical reason, wherever it is.

  17. erik says:

    Okay, I see. I did not remember that they look that ugly. Thanks for the screenshot reminder. How about actually trying to use the actual gtk/cairo/whatever for it instead of going for yet another themeing scheme, in case it exists for the platform? Do the same for QT as well and on Linux it really will be native on every sense. Just an idea, perhaps too complex, but the outcome would be awesome.

  18. Robert O'Callahan says:

    For what it’s worth, this got fixed by Michael Ventnor and we will be shipping GTK-themed HTML widgets in Firefox 3.

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