Firefox, the Social Browser

Since we launched Performancing Firefox last year, the app has just gone from strength to strength. With the lastest 1.2 release and the integration of Metrics, I think we’re finally getting close to the blogging app nirvana we envisioned when Jed and I first talked about it.

Initially there was a lot of talk about it being a “Flock killer” (for those that dont know, Flock is a browser forked off of the core Firefox code with some good developers and some eager investors behind it). And in a way, though it was never intended to be, it is. I’ve done a lot of interviews and had a lot of conversations where people have bought it up, but i’ve never posted about it. Untill today that is.

Why People Hate Flock

I think part of the success of PFF was due to backlash aimed at Flock. Don’t get me wrong, PFF is an awesome app, I use it every day and Jed does a terrific job of continually developing it, it’s just that I dont think it would have taken off in quite such a large way initially if there wasn’t a lot of resentment out there already for Flock. Firefox users are an extremely passionate, loyal group (i know, i am one..), and they saw Flock as an insult.

When we launched, one of the Flock devs described PFF as “Firefox and ductape”, but at the end of the day, what could be more “web2.0″” than extending an already fantastic platform? I don’t want to switch browsers, I just want to be able to build my OWN browser, which is exactly what Firefox allows me to do.

Firefox is a social browser. Flock is a mistake.

What’s Next for Performancing Firefox?

I’ve been chatting to Jed and Chris, and there are a few things on the horizon, but we’ve not nailed anything down tight just yet except localizatoin. Bust so you get an idea of what we’re thinking, and so that I can start the ball rolling and get some feedback, here’s the list:

  • Localization – we’re looking for major language blog services to team up on versions of performancing for their languages
  • Going truly open source – it was always the intention to have others work on this, and now i think it might be the right time to start looking at the code, and options available to us to invite others in to work on PFF
  • Plugin architecture – PFF should be a platform not a plugin :)
  • General code improvements and bug fixes, naturally

Give us your thoughts, what do you want to see from PFF?

Bug reports and support requests will be nuked, there’s a forum for that. Thanks!

powered by performancing firefox

Comments

  1. Some native support for ExpressionEngine would be nice.

  2. Wayde Christie says:

    Although not native, I use PFF with EE flawlessly using the MetaWeblogAPI module.

  3. Markus Merz says:

    I also have tested Flock for a short period and I must say that you nailed it right on the point.

  4. graywolf says:

    Spell check, sometimes I spell like a monkey with three fingers and one eye. I was using the spellbound development edition, but when you did an update somewhere along the way it stopped working.

  5. Nick Wilson says:

    >>like a monkey with three fingers and one eye

    you and me both then. I’d love packaged spellcheck too, and i’ll bring the subject up once more for sure.

    Jed might be able to troubleshoot your spellbound issue, post it in the forum GW and see if we can get it sorted for now…

  6. “I use PFF with EE flawlessly using the MetaWeblogAPI module.”

    But you lose some EE features that way. I do it to, I’m just not thrilled with it. EE gets no love!

  7. greggles says:

    I don’t know much, but I’m pretty sure flock is not a fork. It’s the second faq at http://www.flock.com/about/faq.php#b

  8. Chris Garrett says:

    Jed did post an update recently on the spellbound issue, it got my spellbound working again

  9. Bill Drew says:

    I would like to be able to edit items already posted to my blogspot blogs. Also, the ability to add del.icio.us tags to my post in the way technorati tags are currently added. I use del.icio.us tags as categories on blogger.

  10. Tresler says:

    I like the concept of performancing.com I think that it fills a great niche, and I used to visit daily. One of the reasons I stopped was the rampant negativity I’ve seen here. I just came back this evening to check things out and this post is one of the first I see.

    Did Flock cast the first stone? Did you have any reason to try to drag them down other than to promote yourselves?

    What could be more web 2.0 than live and let live. If you don’t like it, don’t use it, but why try to hurt their venture…. what did they do to you?

    Performancing is about helping bloggers succeed. How does tearing down another blogging app do that exactly….?

    Sorry, but that was nothing but hateful.

  11. myiqis186 says:

    Since you want a platform. How about these ?
    Writely integration and Zooomr Photo Uploading. More del.icio.us support. Integration for Clipmarks.com

  12. dinesh says:

    I really don’t understand why everyone says Flock is a fork of FF…
    Its just that Flock is a powerful Firefox. I am extremely passionate towards FF too but I love Flock too, it has made everything so much easier….be it blogging or favorite sharing or photo browsing.

  13. Nick Wilsdon says:

    What could be more web 2.0 than live and let live. If you don’t like it, don’t use it, but why try to hurt their venture…. what did they do to you?

    Personally I really appreciate the way our industry can tear down an obviously flawed business idea. Despite the Web 2.0. love-fest. It gives me confidence that the industry is maturing, and hope that future VC money will be better directed towards those projects that deserve to succeed. You have to understand that bubbles are bad for the industry and everybody who works in it, too many people lost their jobs/houses/families the last time one burst.

    Mutual back-slapping and funding all round does no one any favors.

  14. uncabled says:

    Original post: “…but we’ve not nailed anything down tight just yet except localizatoin.

    Yup, I would agree — spell checking is something *really* worth developing.

  15. Will Pate says:

    Hey Nick,

    Longtime reader of you here and on Threadwatch, but never a commenter (as far as I can remember) until today. I’ve read you long enough to know not to pick a fight, so please consider my response in sincere good spirt. I like you and respect you, I just humbly disagree on a few things you have said here. Let me help clear up a few misconceptions about Flock.

    Initially there was a lot of talk about it being a “Flock killer” (for those that dont know, Flock is a browser forked off of the core Firefox code with some good developers and some eager investors behind it). And in a way, though it was never intended to be, it is.

    Performancing is definitely not a Flock killer. We’re totally happy if not a single person using Firefox and Performancing ever switches to Flock. They already have something that works for them. Most people are still using Internet Explorer and most Firefox users simply don’t use extensions, even deservedly popular ones like yours. We’re trying to make a better browsing experience for the other 90% and up of people on the web.

    Besides, Flock is going to be about much more than blogging. Our first beta release, Cardinal, is coming out later this month. The really interesting thing about this one will be how we solve the problem of using your own and subscribing to friend’s photos on the web. In future releases we’ll tackle even harder problems.

    Fork means a lot of different things to different people, but under the generally accepted definitions we’re still not a fork.

    Firefox users are an extremely passionate, loyal group (i know, i am one..), and they saw Flock as an insult.

    I know this too. Firefox has been my main browser since Phoenix first came out, warts and all. I’ve personally converted hundreds of people to Firefox. I wear my Firefox polo shirt with pride. The problem we had was when we launched we were not clear enough that we were not trying to convince passionate Firefox users to switch to Flock. That was before my day, so I can’t take credit for that one, but it’s easy to see that passion doesn’t always translate into a clear message.

    When we launched, one of the Flock devs described PFF as “Firefox and ductape”, but at the end of the day, what could be more “web2.0″” than extending an already fantastic platform? I don’t want to switch browsers, I just want to be able to build my OWN browser, which is exactly what Firefox allows me to do.

    Just to be clear, it was Chris Messina, our former Director of Experience and Open Source Ambassador, that said that. I wouldn’t put it in exactly the same terms, but he wasn’t far off the mark for how many people see Performancing.

    You’ve exactly described why we think Flock isn’t a mistake or a broken business model; we think it’s quite needed right now. The overwhelming majority of people using the web do not want to extend a platform or build their own browser, as much as you or I may get a kick out of doing it. They want to download a program and have it make their experience better, end of story. The IKEA model does not work for most people when you take it to the software world.

    Hope that all makes sense.

    Cheers,

    Will Pate
    Community Ambassador, Flock

  16. Tresler says:

    So you want to tear down all Web 2.0 ventures that are taking VC money away from ….what exactly? They did the work, they got the money, and you think this is hurting you somehow. Go get your own VC money.

    Your definition of “deserve to succeed” so far tends to be on a very subjective/objective level.

    So, if our industry is so good at tearing down flawed business models; How do bubbles happen again?

    And, unless you read the future, without some sort of reason why Flock is bad, or, you know…logic, you can’t really set the next bubble bursting at their feet… cause it might be sitting at yours. Methinks someone is jealous that Yahoo bet on the dark horse.

    All said, I think you’ll find that attack ads might work in polotics, but definitely not in the Open Source community.

  17. Markus Merz says:

    Please let us (me) know when the new version is published. I am always willing to test again.

    The mission statement of Flock to build another monolithic new application for people who think they can live their life after a ‘One button backup and restore’ or ‘fire and forget’ philosophy might be OK but it is not social but a top-down approach. I am not knowing to much (literally nothing) about the Flock community but this ‘we know what you need’ approach seems hierarchical to me and not social.

    Side notes:

    • ‘One button backup and restore’ is in nearly 100% of the cases where a backup is needed impossible.
    • ‘fire and forget’ means to me that people don’t have to think about the impact or consequences of things they are doing – they just have to pull the trigger and can forget the rest.

    The not beta but stable application Firefox on the opposite offers a rigid platform which can be extended to whatever you (the user!) want it to be. And to compare the readily delivered Firefox browser to the ‘”flat-pack” – take home and assemble it’ IKEA philosophy is simply wrong. Firefox does not come in a carton box which contains single pieces which must be assembled together – taking in account that you are ‘community ambassador’ who should know the facts and the words your comparison is pretty much wrangling the facts and the philosophies (you may want to have a look at Wikipedia: IKEA). The social aspect is that FF gives you the choice and freedom to expand the features but you don’t have to to make it work.

    Comparing Flock and FF this way I have to support Nicks “Firefox is a social browser. Flock is a mistake” conclusion.

  18. Nick Wilsdon says:

    Your definition of “deserve to succeed” so far tends to be on a very subjective/objective level.

    I’d completely agree, it is a subjective opinion. However any project without a sound business plan these days doesn’t seem to have learned much from the mistakes of the last 10 yrs.

    So, if our industry is so good at tearing down flawed business models; How do bubbles happen again?

    It really wasn’t before – IMO it’s getting better at that. That’s A Good Thing. It’s not hateful, vindictive or even personal. It’s about having the maturity to look beyond the hype and being able to question the business model.

  19. Tresler says:

    Final a useful opinion grounded in something other than pure conjecture. No problems with that. There’s a vast difference between saying.

    ‘I question the business model of Flock and don’t think they are doing Web 2.0, or the internet as a whole any service.’

    and starting a paragraph

    “Why people hate Flock”

    The first is something we can actually discuss, the second is inflammatory and hateful. Furthermore, the first makes me want to check out PFF, cause they are insightful and have sound reasoning, and the second makes me think this site must be run by immature people who like flamewars.

    For the record, I use Flock and Firefox, depending on what I need a browser to do. Neither takes up all that much harddrive space.

  20. Anonymous says:

    It’s always a little confusing when the two of us are in the same thread. Just a heads up to others to check the names carefully

    Sorry ive been away for a bit on this one, been messing around with code a lot lately and just getting a bit caught up with it all heh..

    >>enemy

    Nice to see you here Will. I dont consider flock my enemy, but i maintain that it was a mistake.

    >hate

    The fact is, whether you think it deserved or not, people do hate on flock a LOT. I speak to a lot of bloggers, and a lot of folks “in the industry” (what an arsey phrase, you know what i mean though…) and it’s a pretty common sentiment.

    I outlined why i think this is so above.

    Ok, back to the code….

  21. Nick Wilsdon says:

    It’s always a little confusing when the two of us are in the same thread. Just a heads up to others to check the names carefully

    Yes it does make life a little confusing, sorry.

    If it helps though Tresler, you can simply remember me as the handsome, funny and intelligent one 😉

  22. Markus Merz says:

    Wouldn’t it be possible for one or both of the Wils(d)ons to change the username a tiny little bit? Like ‘WilsDon’, ‘DonWils’, ‘Wilson (no D)’, ‘Wilsdon (as in wisdom)’, ‘Wilsdon (call me Don …), ‘wilSON’ …?

    Why should I (the poor reader) be the one to know a) the difference and b) to check the names carefully? It’s up to you guys …

  23. StackError says:

    Well i don’t really know what the big deal is about; whether Flock or FF is better, and i don’t really care….
    I switched to Linux a few years ago to maximize my desktop publishing efforts, and what i have noticed is that there isn’t much difference is either browser in Windows… but my experience using Flock on Ubuntu Linux has been very positive… Flock loads and runs faster, and i can use all of the extensions i used in FF. Additionally, I was drawn to Flock because i absolutely hate the idiotic bashing i have seen in past years over which OS is better..(some of my colleagues still contend that Linux is superior to Windows… etc),and I see the same crap going on with Flock and FF. I found Flock when setting up my Mothers PC. She isn’t computer savvy, and just wants to point and click her way thru doing things on the Internet, and Flock meets all of her needs. I actually discovered PFF when i was searching for extensions for her. I publish content for 5 commercial blogs, and all i want is a simple, easy to use platform to do my work on my Linux workstation. It seems to me there weren’t as many readily available choices and technical advances in today’s computer software and platforms, then we would all be stuck using Windows 3.11 and Mac IIc, and we wouldn’t even have time to bitch and moan…. we’d all still be working……slowly!!!!!!!!
    As for PFF i like it alot..what i would like to see to more publishing features like in Bloggar, and individual blog settings for each blog. internal spell check, and the ability to insert Ping service URLs.

    Keep up the awesome work!!

    SE

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