When Firefox upgraded months ago from version 0.9.3 to 1.0, I installed the new version. Shortly thereafter, Typepad rolled out a few exciting new features, perhaps the most exciting of which was the rich text editor. I was intrigued by being able to see the formatting of your post as you type it. This helps tremendously if you do a lot of formatting (hyperlinks, photos, etc.) in your posts because it enables you to easily and immediately see whether you’ve coded and formatted things properly.
With a spirit of excitement and adventure, I configured TP to use the new editor. But all my excitement dissipated as soon as I tried to write my first post. After typing away for 30 minutes or 500 words, I clicked Save in Draft mode. Phhht! The entire post was gone. I tried it again, this time copying the text before hitting Save (just in case) and sure enough–phhht!–it was gone again. I tried typing individual words with formatting and they too disappeared. After that, all manner of weird behaviors happened. I began to feel that the rich text editor was somehow haunted!
Then I began writing a series of complaining Help tickets to Typepad complaining about the editor and asking why it seemed incompatible with Firefox 1.0. I started posting in numerous places where I thought people might have experienced the behavior I did. I was hoping someone might have an answer. I posted to the Typepad unofficial forum and found that several other Firefox users had similar problems (though other FF users said they had no problems). I posted to the Firefox forum. To some of my posts I received no response. I never received any responses that were helpful in understanding my problem or how to fix it.
Reluctantly and in utter frustration, I started using Ecto for all my blog publishing (except uploading mp3 files which apparently TP’s 3rd party upload settings prevents–when are you TP guys going to fix this?). Ecto’s really a great application and I congratulate Alex Hung for creating it, but it does mean working with a 3rd party app–forcing you to move among your browser, Ecto and whatever web (news, in my case)) pages you might be using to create your post. This can be slightly tedious if, like me, you often switch from one of these to another.
I don’t know what caused me to think of it this week, but I remembered seeing a link at the Mozilla site for MozSource paid e mail support. Desperate men seek desperate measures. I figured, what can I lose? So I set up my support account–the first thing I noticed that while in beta testing, Mozilla support is charging $5 per support ticket. Can you imagine solving the biggest headache you have with Firefox for only $5? What a steal. So I gave them my credit card info and wrote up my ticket and waited.
When Lee of the MozSource Support Team replied my heart sank a bit when I noticed what he suggested to fix the problem. Most were things I’d already tried (or thought I had). Update your Java software to the latest version; make sure you enable java-script in FF settings; and if all else fails, set up a new profile. I tried everything he suggested except the last one–nothing helped. Then I looked at his final suggestion and noted that even though I’d already tried setting up new profiles before, Lee suggested creating a new profile in a way I’d never done before. So I thought: "What the hell. I’ll try it just so I can say I exhausted every opportunity."
In case you’re experiencing this conflict, I thought I’d provide Lee’s instructions since they succeeded where all else failed:
Type "firefox.exe -profilemanager" in the "Open:" box (there is a space after the "exe")
Click "Create Profile"
Type a name for the new profile. Make sure to use a name that is easily identifiable. You should avoid trying to use the same, or similar names for profiles as it could become confusing while copying data from one folder to the other or selecting the correct profile to launch.
Start Firefox with the new profile selected and try again.
When I logged back into Firefox, I immediately opened my TP post edit box and configured it to display the rich text editor. I typed in words, formatted them and tried to save them. It worked. I went to two discussion forum sites with rich text editors which had previously failed for me (Democrats.com and Mamboforge.com) and tried using them. Democrats.com worked too (MamboForge’s WYSIWYG editor didn’t appear to work in either FF or IE, so I assume that’s a quirk of the site and not the fault of FF).
I couldn’t believe that fixing a problem I’d spent hours trying to solve and that I’d suffered with for six months or more would be so easy! God bless Lee and MozSource Support is all I can say!
One problem with creating a new FF profile is you have to move all your bookmark, cookie and password files from your old profile to your new. After posting to the Mozilla/Firefox forum, SCSmith replied with an extremely helpful set of directions:
To retrieve old bookmarks, cookies & passwords:
bookmarks.html <== your bookmarks!
cookies.txt <== cookie permissions
signons.txt and key3.db <== saved logins/passwords
chrome\userChrome.css and userContent.css <== custom browser appearance and behavior settings
Extensions and themes will need to be reinstalled.
All file copying from one profile folder needs to be done with Firefox closed.
I asked Lee what he tought might’ve caused the conflict. His reply:
A lot of problems come from the cache file, while others come from the file that saves the window settings (localstore.rdf). Occasionally the preferences file itself (prefs.js) is the root of the problem, while more recently, a lot of problems have been caused by extensions. So in many cases, it’s hard to nail down exactly what causes a problem such as this, which is why creating a new profile and moving over the bookmarks is the easiest and quickest method of solving the issue.
Finally, another good piece of advice (which perhaps I didn’t follow myself when I upgraded to 1.0)–uninstall your current FF version BEFORE you upgrade to avoid such conflicts.