Out in the Open

December 21, 2007

Lemme preface this all by saying that this ain’t the horses mouth. This is just me as a curious Flock user checking in on the tinderbox builds and posting my reactions in the form of a photoessay of sorts. I have pushed for more sneak peeks like this from the horses mouth, and I know that there are many things to consider when officially announcing features. If we had the superlarge base of folks who thrive off of the tinderbox builds like Firefox does, I am sure that these advances would have been all over the net by now. (Slightly me covering my bum/justifying why folks should be aware of this) I want Flock users to know what’s going on backstage, and while Evan and the Flockers figure out how to do that officially from a company stand, I’ll give you a tiny peek of what’s to come.

Lemme also say that everything I point out here is definitely subject to changing in some way, and that tinderbox builds shouldn’t really be used as your primary browser. You use it, then be aware that there are some bugs that are sure to be squashed yet.

Flock 1.0 has been out for some time, and 1.1 is in the works. It’s always been neat to see progression from underneath the hood, so to speak, and I thought I might share a bit of that here for now. I don’t know what my readerbase is, and I truly hope I don’t steal any thunder. I actually learned about some of the new features of 1.1 from scoping out Twitter for Flock. Seems like some other people have gotten their hands on tinderbox builds as well!

Let’s start from the top, eh?

Splash screens aren’t exactly my favorite, but I have a feeling folks are 50/50 on the issue. Some people used to have Flock loading up for what seemed like hours and wanted a way to know that it truly was loading. The splash screen was introduced, and some folks like it, some don’t. I don’t mind it, as it is up for a grand total of one second on my machine. For those who don’t like it, there’s this to help you.

Install is pretty normal. You definitely notice that this isn’t Flock colors. This is to let folks know that this is by no means an official release. Due to this, and the fact that changes are constantly being made to these builds, there’s got to be a visual cue to let folks know. In this case, yellow sulfur. Tinderbox builds won’t even install to the same location unless you tell them to.

Installation is over, Flock 1.1a1pre (gonna just refer to it as Sulfur from now on, aight?) loads up. The general release notes page is loaded in a tab, as usual, and My World, the aggregate of all your Sulfur activity is loaded in the other. Let’s take a gander shall we?

Hmm, there seem to be some strange buttons on the column headings. Let’s press them randomly for a while!

Woot! Things moved! I now have my feeds in the rightmost column, the way I want them. Maybe you can customize it some more?

Ding ding ding! You can indeed add and remove columns. Folks asked for this, and therefore, folks got this!

On to my favorite part of Flock 1.x so far: People.

I can post to Twitter with naught but a few slick clicks. Saweet. I am totally addicted to this feature. You can also set up Flickr, YouTube and Facebook to be usable in the People sidebar. Each has their own actions, so be sure to check them out!

This is the Media Bar. The official name is “Media Mini Bar” but I tend to assume that that means it will provide me snacks and beverages in packaging that will ensure I am unable to replace them before the staff notices and charges me for their consumption, so I just call it the Media Bar. I get lost in the Media Bar sometimes. I just keep reloading the recently uploaded pictures and see how many awesome things have been observed in our world.

Then there’s the Web Clipboard. I gotta admit, I used this a ton in it’s former life as The Shelf, but for some reason, up until today, I haven’t used it much. After playing with it for literally 45 seconds, I remembered why I used The Shelf all the time.

Here you can see that I have dragged a few items to the Clipboard on the left to be stored for later use. If I ever forget what one of them contains…

…I can easily view the item to remember. At any point in time, I can drag and drop this item in to a comment, email, or even blog posts. Super handy, super awesome.

Then there’s the photo uploader. It uploads photos.

Bet you didn’t see that one coming. Bet you really didn’t see this one coming…

I won’t speak too much as to how nice this is to have this integrated in to the browser, or what the driving idea behind it was. I will leave that to Mike, Dan, Evan, and all the awesome folks at Flock behind it.