And You Thought Bugzilla was Bad?

Microsoft announced the opening of their new IE public feedback/bug database this week and I must say it makes our copy of Bugzilla look like a sexy, Web 2.0, AJAX-ified beast.

For starters, a Passport account is required to even get close to seeing the thing. Once you’ve completed that registration process, you should be able to view and submit feedback now, right? Wrong. Next you’re required to sign in to Microsoft Connect and specify that you want to enroll in the IE Feedback program. Now (after ignoring the invalid SSL cert dialog) you can at least view and submit feedback. Of course in order to submit, you must search prior to being offered a link to submit a report. Once through the initial search for a bug or after submitting one, you’ll be presented with a screen fairly devoid of what you’d really expect to see along with a bug report – it’s current status and a specific reason why that status was decided upon, all without having to dig through various other links.

Now of course it wouldn’t be fair to discuss how awful MS’ system is without discussing Mozilla’s Bugzilla. Which has a few usability faux pas of its own and can be pretty intimidating for the first-time user. But after a few months and a thousand or so triaged bugs later, I must say that it at least gets the job done without making you jump through an ungodly number of hoops.

XULRunner Rocks

For the past few weeks I’ve been using XULRunner to create an easy (no need to constantly reinstall) environment to develop extensions under. But I haven’t really used it to run anything useful up until now, tonight I just packaged ChatZilla and I must say I’m really liking the abiltiy to run my favorite extensions without a browser open. ChatZilla also seems to be quite a bit more stable under XULRunner (under Firefox, CPU usage would skyrocket).

Once XULRunner is officially released, I think it’ll become a great platform for creating various applications (XUL and XPCOM can be used greatly reducing development time). For the time being, if you want to run a great IRC client without having to run Firefox or Mozilla in the background, give XULRunner+ChatZilla a try.

This Planet’s looking sexy

No, not earth – TCChat’s RSS feed aggregator (a.k.a Planet TCChat) has just received a CSS makeover. At first I thought the dark blue/grey contrast would look like crap, but as I went along it grew on me. I personally think it’s one of my better simple designs. One thing that I’m really starting to like is the blockquote style. The regular side indention looked too plain (even for this layout) so I made a small, slate-colored image to repeat on the left-hand y-axis. The end effect is a simple yet effective way to make the quote stand out.

The aggregator was really an after thought to the whole TC blog site, but now it’s really proving to be a valuable asset. Not only is it indexed by various different search engines on a regular basis, but it gets blog entries out into the open so members are introduced to blogs they might not read otherwise.