Since switching to Firefox many years ago I’ve had to deal with the idiocy that is the lack of “Print” and “Print Preview” context menus. For those not familiar with the term “context menu”, I’m referring to what you see when you right-click somewhere on a web page that isn’t a link; you know, Back, Forward, Reload, Stop, Bookmark This Page, etc… Some of the Firefox developers feel that Control-P is sufficient (possibly the same developers who though removing Control-E to switch text input focus to the Search Bar was an intelligent idea?).
Every time there’s a release I have to go through the annoyingly repetitious process of finding an Addon that addresses the lack of said context menu. With the release of Firefox 5, there are absolutely none which work with it — except one, which I’ll save for last.
Edit: It appears that QuickPrint has been updated to work with Firefox 5, however there’s no indication of that change in the ChangeLog or on the addons site. Very, very mysterious.
All the Addons which have historically worked are nothing but copies of one another, simply because the previous author chooses to neglect the responsibility of updating the Addon every time there’s a new Firefox release. See for yourself:
- Print Context Menu; last updated 2008/10/15; works with 1.5 to 3.6.x
- Print Preview; last updated 2009/03/09; works with 1.0.x to 3.0.x
- Print Preview; last updated 2009/10/10; works with 1.5 to 3.5.x
- Print/Print Preview; last updated 2010/01/13; works with 1.5 to 3.6.x
- Print; last updated 2011/02/15; works with 1.0 to 4.0.x
- QuickPrint; last updated 2011/02/17; works with 2.0 to 4.0.x
Starting to get the picture? And as promised, I saved the best (worst) for last:
- Print/Print Preview (Update); last updated 2011/05/27; works with 3.0 to 6.x.x
The sad part is this one does work with Firefox 5, but where it decides to insert its context menu items is a complete disgrace. It’s almost like nobody bothered testing it. Sure, the general web page context menu looks great, but what about if you try to print a page while some text is selected?
…oh dear. It’s back to basic UI design school for you, bucko! Who thought it would be a good idea to put the Print context menu before Copy/Select All, especially when the item is further down the list when text isn’t selected?
Is the order customisable? Nope, and I’m not too surprised by that either.
Why do I care so much about the ability to print directly from the context menu? Why not just go to File/Print? Well, part of the annoyance stems from this absolute monstrosity of a bug where printing without doing a Preview first results in most of the text of the printed web page turning into gobbledegook. Supposedly that issue is due to “badly-written Windows printer drivers”, but if you skim the Mozilla bug you’ll see that tons of different printers, all from different manufacturers, all do this — including present-day mainstream printers. Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, nor Opera behave just fine. Makes you wonder just what’s “badly-written” doesn’t it? The priority of that bug should be P0 given that all it does is result in internationally wasted paper and aneurysms.
I always think it’s interesting how the severity of an (unrelated) bug can lead one on a quest to find workarounds/solutions that only induce more annoyances, lather rinse repeat…