How And Why To Bring Back The Border On The Firefox 8 Reload Button

TL;DR: Install this userstyle.

After about a week of delay (not bad), Gentoo Unstable finally offered up Firefox 8 and, much to my dismay, the removal of the border on the in-address bar reload button wasn’t just another graphical glitch to be fixed before it left Aurora and Beta.

You may wonder what the big deal is but, to me, it’s as big a deal as things like “Tabs on Top” and preserving the distinction between browser-scoped actions (toolbar buttons) and page-scoped actions (address bar icons).

There are two main reasons:

Aesthetics and Consistency
It feels sloppy and confusing to not have the drop-down arrow the right-most thing in a combo-box and the awesomebar is intuitively understood to be a very fancy combo-box. (Also, without the line, I think the spacing between the icons looks inconsistent with padding to the left and right of the drop-down arrow seeming unbalanced)
Intuitiveness and Predictability
While Firefox doesn’t use the “Page/Browser Action” terminology that Chrome does, the distinction is an apt one. The presence (or, in the case of the bookmark icon, state) of icons within the address bar depends on the content of the tab while icons outside it are either stateless or dependant on the state of the browser chrome. (eg. The toggle-button for the history sidebar)
Integrating the button into the address bar but using a border to separate it is an apt design decision because it implies that it’s a mixture of the two: Stateful relative to the current page, but always present and more a browser action than a page action.

Thankfully, this is Firefox, so with a few lines of CSS, the Stylish extension can fix things.

Here’s my solution: Firefox 8 – Restore left border on reload button

Update: Switch “preserving” link to an extension that uses the proper RSS icon which fits in with things like the Share icon, rather than the borderless variant.

CC BY-SA 4.0 How And Why To Bring Back The Border On The Firefox 8 Reload Button by Stephan Sokolow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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2 Responses to How And Why To Bring Back The Border On The Firefox 8 Reload Button

  1. Mardeg says:

    You’ll be pleased to know from my link that they plan to have the dropdown marker disappear completely in Firefox 12.

    • I’ll have to wait and see. It may turn out to be something I grumble about because I have to use a full-blown extension to bring it back.

      (Like the RSS icon, which I find much more intuitive as an in-address-bar icon than as a toolbar button that’s been forced “display: none” when disabled via a XUL userstyle. See Chrome’s “Page Action” vs. “Browser Action” distinction.)

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