Via PCWorld. Flock, a Mozilla-based browser, that's getting a lot of buzz lately just went Beta this morning so I gave it a run. I'll say up-front that I'm not a social bookmarking freak, meaning I don't do the " Dance" very often, though I do have some favourites stored there. Social bookmarking and tagging are really quite popular (,,, but the problem as I see it is that there are many many sites out there for that sort of thing. You either have to monitor all of them or you feel like you're missing out. Nonetheless, I do blog so I thought I'd give Flock a spin.

Some comments about my Flock experience thus far. This is a very handy page to try out some of the new features available in Flock:

  • It failed to correctly import my Bookmarks from Firefox.  This may be because it did not detect that I'm running Firefox 1.5 Beta, but the PCWorld article mentions that it's not fully supported yet. Anyway, that's definitely something that needs to be fixed before the final release.
  • Their blogging tool is far from release-quality. I use WordPress so I tried to blog this entry using Flock. The worst part was that I lost my cursor part-way through editing and had to blindly type. The rich editing options are few (Bold, Italic, Font Size, Lists, Indenting and Links). Clicking the bulleted list button made an indented list with a bullet, but pressing enter failed to put the next bullet as it does in most word-processing applications.
  • I also don't like the Blog Editor because I lose editing control since I can't put titles in my hyperlinks, make definitions, do strike-outs or underlines, or include special sections of text (like code fragments) and other niceties (sometimes editing the HTML source is the only way to go). There should be a HTML source view...
  • Also, when I wanted to save my entry, I clicked "Save as Draft" but it was not clear that I first have to configure my blog account first before doing anything. I basically lost the entire entry without warning (luckily I had copied it into my clipboard because I had a suspicion I might run into problems). Once I configured my blog and made sure it was selected, I was able to save it as a draft to my blog. Not bad...
  • By far, the worst part was the actual formatting that is included with the post. Before I published this entry I went to my blog website and looked at the entry that Flock had saved. Carriage returns are submitted at the end of each line breaking up the text in odd places. Lots of unnecessarily <br /> where there should have been paragraphs and   where there should have been simple spaces. And a lot of "/&gt;" scattered all over the place in weird locations. Basically I had to thoroughly clean up the HTML before I posted it costing me more time than it would have been had I just entered the entry directly using the web interface. Not good...
  • Personally, I prefer logging into the web interface for my blog and writing the entry in the browser page made for that. I haven't had any issues and it's pretty convenient for me. Since the browser remembers my login credentials, the Flock blogging tool saves me only a single step by not having to click "Write" when I get to my Admin page of my blog. It may be useful for some, but for those who want ultimate control I recommend sticking with the WordPress interface itself.
  • On the other hand, the "Blog This" feature is nice: Highlight some text in a web page, right-click and choose "Blog This". A new blog window will pop up with the text highlighted and automatically linked. I could see using this feature often. My only complaint here is that "Blog This" is stuck under "Properties". It should be higher in the right-click context menu.
  • Another couple marks against the Blog Editor: I can't tag my entry to the categories I've configured in my browser. That's a big one for me since I tend to write entries on a few diverse topics. I also can't break my entry into more than one page with the <!--more--> feature in WordPress.
  • I haven't been able to try out the Flickr and Shelf features of Flock yet, but I'll get around to it eventually.

Anyway, I like how the browser wars are broadening. Mozilla definitely has had a big hand in this with their open source code base. It's interesting how we now have Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Netscape, Opera, Seamonkey, Mozilla Camino, Safari, Konqueror and now Flock on the scene. Five of those browsers are based on the Mozilla codebase. All of them are now free as in beer, (though three are not available for all operating systems, can you spot which three?). I also like how Opera, Flock (Beta) and Firefox (1.5 Beta) ship with native SVG support with the next version of Netscape joining the fray and Safari surely not too far behind. Anyone know if Camino comes with SVG support yet? And when will Konqueror automatically include KSVG?

§170 · October 21, 2005 · Software, Technology, Web · · [Print]

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