Wednesday, February 22, 2006

CookiePie an innovative Firefox extension released

Sebastian Wain from Nektra has submitted CookiePie extension to Firefox Extend Contest with great expectations to be one of the finalists, since it is an innovative piece of software and push beyond the standard capabilities of Firefox. Although it doesn't came finalist he waited for the announcements to release it publicly without publishing it on Internet until now.
Mauro Asprea from Nektra has been contributing on improving user experience.
  • What is CookiePie?
    • CookiePie is a firefox extension enabling you to maintain different cookies storage in different tabs and windows.
  • How I can obtain and use it?
    • Use the tab context menu to enable CookiePie
    • For example: Toogle CookiePie in three tabs, and login to different GMail account in both.
  • Where the idea came from?
    • We need to use it internally at Nektra, and finally decide to publish it for the community.
  • What does CookiePie means for the end user?
    • It means that you can for example open multiple GMail/Yahoo Mail/Hotmail accounts in different tabs and windows simulteanously.
  • What does CookiePie means for web developers?
    • Developers working on Web Software supporting multiple users or profiles can use CookiePie to simultaneusly test their software with each user without needing to open a different browser.
  • How CookiePie was made?
    • A first look at the FireFox extensions capabilities let us think this extension was almost impossible to do. One of the limitations was the unconnected parts between http transactions and UI being difficult to correlate an UI to a specific http request/response, more when AJAX/XmlHttpRequest (i.e: GMail) is involved.
    • The work involved mainly short term research and trying to push to the extreme FireFox capabilities without knowing nothing of Mozilla Extensions at the start of development.
  • What are the current known limitations:
    • Gecko 1.8.1 has some implementation errors: FireFox store cookies although our http observer changes the response header. This means the common cookies are changed in the FireFox extensions for every transaction on each tab. More information at: Mozilla Bugzilla
    • The reordering of tabs is breaking GMail account opened tabs.
    • GMail has added after we finish this extension, an alert we hope to repair it so GMail doesn't know about another connection on another tab or window.
    • User may experience problems with another Firefox extensions (for example Tab Mix Plus)
  • What are the features we would like to have in the future?
    • Listen to users feedback.
    • Complete Cookie commitment to standards/security
    • Compatibility to another extensions.
    • Add configuration options
      • Enable CookiePie by default
      • Cookies inheritance checkbox: If a user opens a new tab/window from a CookiePie tab, the new opened tab can inherit the cookie container.
      • Cookie pipeline handling: Have a configuration like the Firefox option to choose what cookies needs to be individualized and what cookies needs to be used from the firefox container.
    • Persist/Save/Load Tab Cookies
    • Code: better & cleaner.
    • Testing: Test & Fix in complex scenarios.
  • What we suggest for future versions of Firefox?
    • We suggest to have this capability embedded natively on Firefox and not as a third party addin. We know this will involve changing relations between objects in Firefox but it's an obvious step to do in the browser war.
  • What platforms are supported?
    • Currently it ran fine on Windows and Linux. We need to check why Mac is not supported because this software is standard JS code, not platform dependent.
  • Finally: