~robcee/ more than just sandwiches

8 February 2012 @ 1pm

devtools, Firefox, General, Mozilla

TextArea Fallback for SourceEditor going away

Some time ago, way back in the heady days of Firefox 7, Mihai Șucan began work to incorporate the Orion text editor into our codebase and landed it in Firefox 8. At the time, we had some concerns around accessibility and localization: would Orion be up to the task of being an in-browser editor for the Scratchpad?

We discussed some possible ways to mitigate this and settled on including a TextArea-based fallback. Mihai’s done a tremendous job of providing a SourceEditor API in the browser that abstracts a lot of Orion’s own interface into a more general-purpose editor widget. In Firefox 10, we’ve enabled Orion by default in the Scratchpad for the first time. Cedric Vivier used the SourceEditor API for the Style Editor and it’s worth noting that it does not support the TextArea fallback at all in Firefox 11.

Now we’re trying to add some important new features to the SourceEditor component. Things like “Find in File”, “Incremental Search”, “Context Menus”… Y’know, things you’d expect from any normal text editor. The TextArea fallback has made that increasingly difficult to do and in some cases, impossible. The cost of maintaining this API has become untenable for future work.

So we’ve removed the TextArea fallback for Firefox 13.

This may have some unforeseen implications for us. We discovered earlier this week that at least one popular addon was using the SourceEditor and I wanted to broadcast this here just in case there are other developers or users who rely on the TextArea fallback. If you are one of these people and this is going to cause pain, please post here, to dev.apps.firefox or file a bug.