Feed Sidebar, Mozilla, Mozilla Add-ons, Mozilla Firefox

Feed Sidebar updated for Firefox 3

Firefox 3 introduced many new features for extension developers, and I decided to take advantage of some of them in order to update my Feed Sidebar extension. Version 3.0 of Feed Sidebar is now out, and these are the main features and changes I added:

  1. Look and feel: I updated all of the icons for the extension to blend in with Firefox 3’s new OS-specific look and feel. The sidebar’s toolbar uses the native theme icons, and the toolbar button is specifically designed to fit in on each of Mac OSX, Linux, and Windows. (The toolbar buttons for Windows, Mac, and Linux are shown respectively below.)

    Windows toolbar icon for Feed Sidebar Mac toolbar icon for Feed Sidebar Linux toolbar icon for Feed Sidebar

  2. Continuous updating: Feed Sidebar used to only check for feed updates when the sidebar was open; now it checks whether the sidebar is open or not (and notifies you when it finds updates). Big improvements in memory usage and performance were necessary to make this possible.
  3. Offline capabilities: the extension now caches all of your feeds, so if you go offline, you still have access to all of the data that was in the feeds, and you can read it while offline. When you go offline, Feed Sidebar goes into “Offline Mode”, and automatically opens the stored summary from the feed when you click on an item rather than trying to open the webpage the item references. This features makes use of the new online/offline events in Firefox 3.Here is a screenshot of what offline reading looks like:

  4. Places integration: when you add or delete a live bookmark in Firefox 3, Feed Sidebar will detect that via Firefox 3’s nsINavBookmarksService interface. When you add a new feed, it will instantly appear in the sidebar, and the reverse is true for deleting a feed.
  5. Caching: as soon as you start Firefox, Feed Sidebar will fill the sidebar with the feeds you were reading the last time Firefox shut down, even if you are now offline. This is made possible via the new JSON libraries that shipped with Firefox 3.

Feed Sidebar 3.0 is now available at Mozilla Add-ons.


11 comments on “Feed Sidebar updated for Firefox 3

  1. GoodThings2Life says:

    Great stuff with the new update– especially the background updates and the UI enhancements, but it still wants to thrash the hard drive and lock up the browser, and I notice there is still no option to always open in new tab. Any chance of these making their way into a future release?

  2. Benjamin says:

    I like the new look, and the new features. But I found one issue: Whenever I resize the bar, it scrolls back to the top. This was different in the last version…

  3. This has nothing to (really) do with this post but I had a question. Is there any way you can tell me how to set up my own RSS feed on my wordpress blog?

  4. GoodThings2Life says:

    I just installed 3.1… on the plus side– THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! for the addition of the “Always open in new tab” option! :) On the down side, what happened to the “Mark All As Read” option? Maybe if you make that a toolbar button for the people who said they accidentally clicked it in the menu?

  5. Ballenato says:

    I’m experiencing this strange behavior:

    When item links have a fragment part in URL (they end in “#something”), this fragment does not appear in Feed Sidebar. However, if you look for the item in your Bookmarks, you can see that the fragment is there. The main problem with this is that different items with URL’s differing just in the fragment are marked as read if you visited one of them.

    Hope I explained clearly.
    This seems to be a bug. Can anybody confirm it?

  6. Bruce says:

    Well I got frustrated by Feed Sidebar (because of 2 issues below) and tried every other RSS add-on. They all sucked, pretty much, in comparison with this one which, in terms of features and aesthetics is just fantastic. I mean, it’s a really great add-on, and I really appreciate it and use it constantly.


    1) Is there any way to organize the feeds once you’ve subscribed? (Posters on the Mozilla add-ons page have asked this question, too.) I tried moving them around etc. and nothing seems to work.

    2) Is there something wrong with how this add-on uses memory? This question was also raised elsewhere, and it does seem like Firefox keeps gobbling up memory with Feed Sidebar enabled.

  7. Thomas says:

    Great extension – makes reading feeds realy handsome. But I would love to see an option to store the history on some WebDAV/FTP server – for people using multiple PC’s like me this would be very helpfull…

  8. claire says:

    Hi Chris,

    I’ve been using Feed Sidebar with Zotero for the past 18 months or so, which have both been fantastic and make checking for content I want to clip so easy.

    I currently use your add-on Feed Sidebar (version: 6.0.1) in conjunction with Zotero (version: 4.0.22), both of which are recent upgrades I installed in the past week or so, along with a newer version of Mozilla Firefox, also recently upgraded on my computer (version: 24.7.0).

    One of the features of Feed Sidebar that I sometimes need to use is the ability to right-click over the feeds to open the “Feed Sidebar – Options” dialog box to toggle between already read/unread items (by clicking/unclicking the “Hide read items” box). For some reason, if I now unclick this box, it seems I am seeing everything – read and unread – as the list of feed items is very long, but no article headlines are greyed out. I need to be able to isolate what I’ve already read from those I haven’t, so I can, for example, re-open items I’ve accidentally closed down, and often haven’t caught the title, so can’t re-search via Google.

    I’ve tried deleting my collection of feeds and then re-importing them, but that hasn’t worked.

    Also, when I open the Bookmarks window from the main browser window (via to top menu: Bookmarks; Show all bookmarks), I no longer see the “OPML Support” right-hand icon at the top of the window (I re-added this add-on “OPML Support 4” recently when I upgraded all of the above) though I now see the choice to import or export OPML via the “Import and Backup” icon on the top of that page.

    I don’t know if the combination of any of the above is causing the already read items not to be greyed out in the Feed Sidebar but I really need this feature to work again.

    I don’t suppose you know how to fix this, please?

    Thanks very much, Chris.

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