Archive for the ‘Open Source’ Category

Fixing MoinMoin for Firefox 3

I’ve been trying out the Firefox 3 betas lately, and have been impressed. But I’ve noticed a big problem with the WYSIWYG editor in the MoinMoin wiki (which runs a small wiki I have on my home network). When I try to click the “link” button on the toolbar, the ensuing popup window is completely blank, instead of showing a nice dialog box as it should. This also happens with any other popup dialog box in the editor. Since Firefox 3 will likely be the standard browser around the house when the next Ubuntu upgrade comes in April, this poses a problem.

So I decided to find out what was going on, and if there was anything I could do about it. The first round of Googling was not encouraging. MoinMoin uses FCKeditor to provide its WYSIWYG editing capability, but it uses very out-of-date version. The FCKeditor folks did a bunch of fixes for Firefox 3, but MoinMoin hasn’t updated their copy to pick up the changes.  There’s a bug report for the issue on the MoinMoin site, but there appeared to be no activity on fixing it. Attempting to simply replace MoinMoin’s copy of FCKeditor with the new version failed miserably; there was a JavaScript alert dialog on practically every keystroke, and with little knowledge of the underlying code, there was no way I could figure out the problem.

After doing some more digging into what the exact Firefox 3 incompatibility was, I found that Firefox has an issue with a window opened with the JavaScript flag “modal=yes”. Further, the discussion in the FCKeditor bug tracker pointed me to a patch that fixed the problem. Unfortunately, there has been quite a bit of refactoring in the codebase, and I couldn’t simply apply the patch to the copy MoinMoin has (the file mentioned doesn’t even exist in the MoinMoin version); I had to backport it. After looking around the directory tree in /usr/share/moin/htdocs/applets/FCKeditor, I was able to find a similar spot in the code, and make the change. Here are the steps:

  1. Fire up your favorite editor and open $MOIN_HOME/wiki/applets/FCKeditor/editor/js/fckeditorcode_gecko_2.js. If you’ve installed MoinMoin from an Ubuntu package, $MOIN_HOME/wiki is /usr/share/moin/htdocs.
  2. Search on the string modal=yes. It should be on a line that looks something like this:
    var J="location=no, menubar=no, toolbar=no, dependent=yes,
    dialog=yes, minimizable=no, modal=yes, alwaysRaised=yes"+",
    resizable="+(G?'yes':'no')+", width="+D+", height="+E+", top="+H+", left="+I;
  3. Remove the “modal=yes,” (include the comma).
  4. Clear your browser cache.

After that, I was able to edit my MoinMoin wiki with all the Firefox 3 goodness.

Update 3/21: The MoinMoin developers have checked in the fix, so this won’t be a problem in the next version (1.6.2) of MoinMoin!

Update 4/7: With the fix, the link editor now inserts invalid links.  We’re not done yet.

Power Searching for Thunderbird

The volume of my work email has gotten so huge that I no longer manually tag messages or add them to folders; it’s just too time-consuming, and dragging things to a simple “archive” folder when I’m done is about the only thing from having thousands of message in my Inbox. I’ve been relying on the built-in search capability of Thunderbird (for one account) and Outlook (for the other) to find things. While mostly serviceable, it could be much better, especially since I haven’t mastered the art of finding The Perfect Search Term. Via Lifehacker, I found a new extension for Thunderbird called “Seek” that adds some very interesting capabilities. I watched the screencast, and it looks promising. The Mozilla Messaging people might want to look at this sort of thing to help differentiate Thunderbird from the pack (not just Outlook, but also various webmail services). I look forward to trying this extension out soon.