Ubiquity 0.5 Announced and Released by Mozilla Labs
Article by George Norman
On 09 Jul 2009
The development team behind the Ubiquity project has announced the fact that they released Ubiquity 0.5 onto the waiting masses. This release, which follows ion the steps of Ubiquity 0.5 Preview Release and which focuses on making the process of instructing Ubiquity what to do a more natural and human one, has been deemed as a major upgrade by Mozilla Labs.

“Mozilla Labs is happy to announce the release a major upgrade to Ubiquity. This release, Ubiquity 0.5, focuses on making the instructions you give to Ubiquity feel more natural and human, as well as bringing Ubiquity’s power to many more languages. Ubiquity 0.5 requires Firefox 3.5. Also, note that you’ll have to download it to upgrade, we aren’t yet pushing the update automatically,” explained on behalf of the Mozilla Labs team, Jono Xia (formerly DiCarlo), Brandon Pung, and Aza Raskin.


Cutting straight to the chase, here is what you can expect to get from Ubiquity 0.5:
Giving Ubiquity instructions is a more natural, human and robust process: no more hyphens in command names, standardized command names
New language options in the Ubiquity settings page: Catalan, Danish, Japanese, and Portuguese.
New input parser that was rewritten from scratch so as to be able to provide support for more languages
New parser localization tutorial
Support for the localization of commands bundled with Ubiquity
New game-inspired interactive tutorial
Suggestions are fully asynchronous
Experimental smart suggestion

Those of you paying attention will surely have noticed that Mozilla Labs is not pushing the Ubiquity 0.5 update automatically. According to Aza Raskin, there is good reason for doing so – even though Ubiquity comes with some great changes, these changes will break compatibility with 3rd party Ubiquity 0.1.x commands. Pushing the update automatically will simply break the functionality enjoyed by users all over the world. And since waking up to find that what used to work yesterday does not work today is not a good thing, the team decided not to automatically push Ubiquity 0.5.

“Ubiquity is a Mozilla labs project that has around 400 thousand active users. As as leading-edge experiment we need to be agile and iterate quickly, and yet we don’t have the right to break the daily habits and work flow of so many people,” commented Aza Raskin.

If you would like to get Ubiquity 0.5, a download location is available here.

In related news, Mozilla Labs announced the launch of Open Web Tools Directory, a central repository of all the open web development sources out there that can be of help to web developers (details here).

Tags: Mozilla, Ubiquity
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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