Regressions, ah, regressions

There are few things I really hate. One of them is regressions. Regressions are bad because they usually take away things we are used to rely on, and leave us with the idea that perhaps the technical improvements didn’t really improve our lifes as a user, despite putting less burden on the developers. Software is made for users, after all.

As part of my work on WebKitGTK+, I always keep an eye on regressions, both from previous WebKitGTK+ releases, and those imposed on embedding applications on their migration away from Gecko, and try to focus some of my efforts into lowering their numbers, whenever I can.

In recent times I have worked on removing a few very user-visible regressions in Epiphany, which I see as the most demanding WebKitGTK+ user in GNOME, such as save page not working, missing
favicon support, failing to
perform server-pushed downloads (such as GMail attachments), and not being able to view source. An example of a regression from a previous version of WebKit also exists: in 1.1.17 we started advertising more than we should as supported by the HTML5 media player, causing download to be almost completely broken.

All of these are working if you are using WebKit and Epiphany from trunk/master, so should be on the next development versions of WebKitGTK+ and Epiphany. Other people have also fixed many other regressions; a few examples: Xan has reimplemented the Epiphany customization of the context menu, Frederic Peters provided a work-around for mailto: links while we don’t have SoupURILoader yet, and Joanmarie Diggs keeps rocking on the accessibility front!

If you find regressions, keep them coming! If you have a patch, even better! =)

Next week WebKitGTK+ team gets together to work furiously on improving WebKitGTK+ in a hackfest sponsored by Collabora, and Igalia, and hosted/organized by Igalia. While there I should also get my hands on one of these. Can’t wait! =)

5 thoughts on “Regressions, ah, regressions”

  1. Does the trunk version support the non-legacy version of gmail yet? Ever since epiphany switched to using webkit I’ve had to use the old html-only version of gmail rather than the default that uses javascript + html.

    I can fully understand esoteric regressions, but when basic functionality of a website that probably belongs in the top 100 sites in the world (since mail.google.com is a subdomain of google.com it’s a bit hard to know, since the statistics I find seem to aggregate all of *.google.com into one) breaks, then something is rotten.

    Too bad, since epiphany is by far my favourite browser.

    Anyway, nice to hear you’ve been fixing regressions!

  2. @David: I don’t really use GMail too much, although I have been concerned to test it, and make things I notice breaking work. I know that some people do use the non-legacy version of GMail with no trouble. Perhaps you want to report bugs on your specific issues, so we can know about them, and fix them? =)

    @Zack: yeah, this was not to be a full list of regressions, just a small list of ones we already tackled (which is why these two didn’t show up) – there are more, if you dig deep enough, but they’re on track to get fixed ;)

    @Frederic: \o/

  3. @David: Gmail works fine for me with Epiphany/webkit in Fedora 12.

    @kov: I still mean to file a bug about the seemingly random new window/new tab behaviour. Half the time I seem only able to open pages in new windows, and other times, only in tabs. It leaves me too baffled to file.

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