TenFourFoxBox Manual

Manual ©2016 Cameron Kaiser. All rights reserved.

Program ©2016 Cameron Kaiser. All rights reserved. ©2010–2016 Contributors to TenFourFox. All rights reserved. ©2007–2011 Mozilla Labs. All rights reserved. Includes Pashua © 2002–2016 Carsten Blüm. All rights reserved.

Distributed under the Mozilla Public License 2.0.

version 1.0 20151229

What does TenFourFoxBox do?

TenFourFoxBox allows you to create “foxboxes” – special site-specific instances of TenFourFox that run separately from the main browser just for single websites you specify. This allows you to keep their data private and, because it doesn’t have the full overhead of the main browser and isn’t running any other tabs, to view these sites with better performance. Just double-click them to start them like any other application. They can run at the same time other foxboxes and TenFourFox are.

How to create a foxbox

  1. Make sure TenFourFox 38.4 or higher is installed in your /Applications folder. No earlier version of TenFourFox will work. TenFourFox requires a G3, G4 or G5 Power Macintosh and either 10.4.11 or 10.5.8. Intel Macs are not supported. TenFourFoxBox will automatically use the correct version of TenFourFox for your machine’s architecture, assuming it is installed.
  2. Start TenFourFoxBox. The main window appears below.

  3. Click the “Choose…” button to select the location for the new foxbox and the name of the application. The name will also appear in the Command-Tab list, like any other app name.
  4. Enter the website in the next field. Be sure to include either http:// or https://, as necessary.
  5. Choose additional features for the foxbox. Select any combination or none, as you desire:
  6. Enter a brief title. This appears in the foxbox’s window title bar and in Exposé.
  7. Enter the default width and height of the window. You can resize it later and the dimensions and window position will be remembered from session to session.
  8. Click Create. After a brief pause, a dialogue box will appear indicating succesful creation. Click OK.

Starting and stopping foxboxes

Foxboxes appear to the Mac as a “regular” application. Simply double click the foxbox to start it. The foxbox will start a unique special limited instance of TenFourFox in its own window separate from the main browser, displaying the site you’ve specified.

You can have multiple foxboxes running simultaneously, even with TenFourFox running as your main browser at the same time. However, due to limitations of OS X, to run TenFourFox simultaneously you must start TenFourFox before you start any foxboxes, or you will not be able to start it until you have quit all open foxboxes.

Similarly, you cannot have multiple instances of the same foxbox running (like two sessions of Gmail), unless you make a separate foxbox for another instance.

To quit the foxbox, press Command-Q, choose Quit from the Box menu, or close all open windows in that foxbox. The last window position and size are remembered for the next session.

Life in a foxbox, or, what you can do and what you can’t

Foxboxes run using the same version of TenFourFox installed on your system. The menu bar will even say “TenFourFox” but with different pull-down menus, and, of course, a single window. Once the window appears, the site you have chosen automatically loads. A status bar at the bottom shows a progress bar as sites load and the destinations of any links, and if the site is secure, a security indicator will appear at the bottom right with the computed security level.

The Box menu contains basic navigation options such as back, forward, reload, etc., and the Edit menu is self-explanatory. You can print from a foxbox, too. A simple context menu is available for editing operations like cut and paste.

You can browse to any site via links you click on, but you can’t enter a URL directly (though you can select Home from the Box menu to go back to the foxbox’s home page). If you want to grab a URL to view in the regular TenFourFox, you can copy the current URL to the clipboard from the Box menu, or you can right-click a link to copy that link’s URL to the clipboard instead.

Foxboxes will display HTML5 notifications so sites like Gmail can alert you when you have new mail. Foxboxes will also let sites open additional windows if needed, but when all windows close, the application exits.

Foxboxes currently don’t allow bookmarks, multiple tabs, geolocation, password saving, webcams, add-ons or themes, nor any feature TenFourFox doesn’t support (such as plugins or WebGL), since foxboxes run in a private instance of TenFourFox. Although downloads are supported, there is no download manager; they run asynchronously in the background. If you quit a foxbox with downloads in progress, any unfinished download is aborted.

What makes a site good (or bad) for foxboxing?

Bad sites for foxboxing are those that:

Good sites for foxboxing are those that:

Adding a custom icon

Foxboxes have a default “foxbox” icon. You can change the icon as you would for any other application. Note that your custom icon may be lost if you rebuild or regenerate the foxbox.

Copying foxboxes

Foxboxes can be copied like any other application. They will automatically figure out the correct version of TenFourFox to run if you copy it to another Power Mac, assuming it is installed. Copying a foxbox does not copy any stored data it may have accumulated.

Upgrading a foxbox

Foxboxes run using the same version of TenFourFox you have installed on your system (the same executable, in fact). Thus, when you upgrade TenFourFox, you upgrade the browser core in all of the foxboxes on your system simultaneously. Quit all foxboxes before upgrading TenFourFox.

Occasionally the foxbox support code itself needs to be upgraded. When TenFourFoxBox builds a foxbox, it creates its own copy of the foxbox support code which stands alone. Periodically the support code needs upgrading for bug fixes, new features and compatibility. To do so, simply create a “new” foxbox with the new version of TenFourFoxBox over the old foxbox with the same settings; it will be removed and regenerated. Any saved data such as forms, cookies and so on is stored separately and will not be affected. Never rebuild a foxbox while it’s running. Quit it first.

Any time you upgrade TenFourFoxBox, you should regenerate any foxboxes you’re using as soon as possible to get the latest improvements. Check the TenFourFoxBox website periodically to ensure you’re on the newest release.

Resetting and removing foxboxes

If your foxbox starts acting strangely, the foxbox can be reset by going to the ~/Library folder in your home directory and then deleting the foxbox’s folder (named the same as the foxbox app) from Application Support and Caches. This resets it to the default window position and size and removes any other stored information. Note that rebuilding the foxbox doesn’t reset it. Never reset a foxbox while it’s running. Quit it first.

To completely remove a foxbox from your system, quit the foxbox, reset it as instructed above, and then delete the foxbox itself.

Special configurations

If TenFourFoxBox cannot find the correct architecture build of TenFourFox, it will then try a generic TenFourFox.app. However, if this application is the wrong version of TenFourFox or compiled for the wrong architecture, the application may not perform correctly or might fail to start altogether. To prevent this, if you have a version of TenFourFox you want to use instead of the default architecture build, rename it to TenFourFoxBoxRunner.app and it will always take precedence over any other copy of TenFourFox. This is global and applies to all foxboxes on that system.

You can build foxboxes from the command line – see the For Developers folder for a sample Makefile.

License compliance

TenFourFoxBox is written in Perl, with foxbox code (in JavaScript and XUL) embedded within it. Source code is available by simply viewing the executable within the application package.