Australis Toolbar and Sidebar Buttons

Asa Dotzler asa at
Thu Aug 1 16:57:22 UTC 2013

On 8/1/2013 9:31 AM, Madhava Enros wrote:
> Hi all -
> I'm new to this particular issue, but I think there's some nuance here 
> about the differences.
> For the Bookmarks or History Sidebars, they are secondary or tertiary 
> UI for those purposes. In other words, people already have other 
> more-likely-used ways to get at their bookmarks and history. Having a 
> dedicated button to open them seems like overkill, given that we're 
> providing logically-placed menu items to do it.
> In the case of add-ons -- it seems like a sidebar or toolbar, if one 
> is added, is meant to be the primary way to use it, making it more 
> important. It's also, given that the user has gone to the trouble of 
> installing a given add-on (not always the case, I know, but...) likely 
> to be important enough to the user that we can make the case for 
> placing a button.
> I think history also tells us that add-ons will tend to show as much 
> of their UI as possible by default, so giving users a prominent way to 
> choose whether to show all of it seems worthwhile.
> Please tell me why I'm wrong here. All of this said -- I don't see a 
> huge downside to including (but not showing by default) buttons for 
> showing some of these built-in UI pieces in Firefox's customization 
> pane. Also, it may give flexibility to add-ons authors to put options 
> to show/hide sidebars and toolbars in an existing menu, or one created 
> by the add-on -- it's just that there won't always be a menu that is a 
> sensible location for items to do with all add-ons.
> Madhava

I'm with Madhava here.  This is something we should impose on /provide 
for add-ons but not for require bookmarks or history sidebars (which get 
next to no usage, I'm betting.)  In addition to the most common use case 
points Madhava raised, I want to add that we've got amazing usability 
resources at Mozilla, most add-on authors have none.  Asking them to 
adhere to some basic guidelines while ourselves sometimes violating 
those guidelines seems totally acceptable because we're considerably 
more likely to know when  it's correct to deviate and most add-on 
authors are not in the same position.

- A

> On Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 12:13 PM, Dave Townsend wrote:
>> You're missing context here. For the add-on SDK we've developed 
>> toolbar and sidebar APIs so add-ons can easily create these things. 
>> UX have instructed us that when an add-on adds a sidebar or toolbar 
>> we must add a button to the navigation bar to toggle it on and off. 
>> So it is surprising that we don't have the same requirement on them 
>> for the rest of Firefox.
>> On Thu, Aug 1, 2013 at 2:57 AM, Matthew N. 
>> <MattN+firefox-dev at 
>> <mailto:MattN+firefox-dev at>> wrote:
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> > From: "Marco Bonardo" <mbonardo at 
>>> <mailto:mbonardo at>>
>>> > To: firefox-dev at <mailto:firefox-dev at>
>>> > Sent: Thursday, August 1, 2013 1:43:37 AM
>>> > Subject: Re: Australis Toolbar and Sidebar Buttons
>>> >
>>> > On 01/08/2013 03:33, Erik Vold wrote:
>>> > > How about for toolbars?  I don't see a toggle button for the
>>> > > bookmarks toolbar nor do I see a bug for this.
>>> >
>>> > Open the bookmarks widget menu, go to Bookmarks Toolbar submenu,
>>> > toggle!
>>> The bookmark toolbar toggle is also still in the toolbar context menu.
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