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JohnBoyTheGreat
Making moves
Status: New idea

The average user saves web pages to
look at later or to send to someone else...
or if they don't currently, they want to save web pages to do these things.

Firefox only has one native method of saving a web page complete with all images and content: "Web Page, complete". This is an absolutely terrible solution:

  1. It doesn't save as a single file.
  2. It saves dozens or even hundreds of files for a single page. One sample page that I saved was quite simple, but had 160 separate files and a folder for that one saved page!
  3. Moving the saved web page can be difficult for typical users, since the necessary folder may not get moved.
  4. Sending the saved page to others can be difficult and confusing for non-technical users.
  5. Files are not compressed, which saves space.

Firefox used to have built-in support for the MAFF format, which was very useful...but it was removed several years ago for reasons which are unclear.

Most of the major modern browsers have native support for the MHTML/MHT format. Of leading Windows-based browsers, only Firefox lacks this major and important feature.

Firefox should provide the ability to save web pages with native support, in more than one format.

Why?

  • All other major modern browsers provide this support. Those browsers provide that support because it is demanded by users! Why is Firefox so far behind???
  • Users want to be able to save web pages which are important to them for many and various reasons. It's important to save things like filled forms, confirmations, pages with information of special interest, information of personal importance, etc. The list of reasons are endless!
  • Web pages saved on other browsers cannot be opened with Firefox, which means maintaining a second browser to open those saved pages. These pages can come from friends or work colleagues and can be very important in daily life. If we cannot open them, it puts us behind other browsers.
  • Typical users do not know how to move or to send "complete" web pages. They send just the HTML file and everything else gets lost, or they move it to another directory or folder and it doesn't contain the images or other function it had. For the average user, the "Web Page, complete" function is complex and useless.
  • Typical users do not want to go through the complexity of finding and installing an extension to do a simple and common task. The first problem is that they may not even know what they are looking for, so they either spend hours searching through extensions or they give up...and switch to another browser which can accomplish the task.
  • Firefox should be more compatible with file formats, not less. The primary value of Firefox among a field of other browsers is its feature set. Web Archive File format capability is an important feature which Firefox lacks and other browsers have. Firefox is incompatible with common standards in this regard--meaning that it is well behind the competition.
  • Due to the complexity of the "Web Page, complete" save method, users may lose valuable data, which they have saved for a particular reason. It is extremely inconvenient to move hundreds of files and folders to relocate a few web pages. Important files can be easily lost if a user fails to move the folder as well. It would be much better to provide a native single-file solution for saving web pages than the current Firefox solution, reducing the complexity of this common task for the average person.
  • It is difficult for the typical user to differentiate between single-page HTML and HTML pages saved as separate files. If they want to send an HTML file to a friend, they must either bundle up a bunch of files (which is beyond the technical expertise of many people) or point them to a website...or just give up. Most users don't know how to find an extension to save single-file web pages. If they do find one, it does not support the industry standard, so they cannot open similar files sent from others who do not use a Firefox browser.

 

What is the solution?

Add native Web Archive File save and read support to Firefox for the following formats:

  • MHTML/MHT -- This is the most common format, supported by all major browsers, except Firefox. Adding this function would make Firefox more competitive and more compatible, not to mention more useful.
  • MAFF -- This format was actually created by Mozilla and used in Firefox, but was abandoned years ago for no good reason. The advantage of this format is that it uses the ZIP standard to compress a web page, creating not only a single file backup of the page, but saving space as well.
  • Webarchive -- This format is used by the Safari browser on Mac computers. A lot of misguided and misinformed people use Macs. They may want to exchange web pages with their friends, family, or work colleagues, so including this format will allow that.

 

Later, support could be added for:

  • WARC -- This is the Internet Archive's "Web ARChive" format, which can be used for saving entire sites. It could be used to save an entire set of tabs, complete with contents.
  • HTMLD -- This is the "HTML Directory" format, which can also be used for sites and for web servers. It could be used to save tab sets as well.

These two formats would put Firefox far ahead of the competition and add a feature that would add tremendous value.

 

The minimum support for a native Web Archive Format should be MHTML/MHT because it is the most common format in use. I would also argue for the MAFF format, which would offer support for orphaned files created by Firefox in the past...and should be easy to implement if the other can be implemented... After all, Firefox already has the code on hand.

If security is a concern, then have this feature turned off by default, available to activate within Settings. No browser should ever be so secure that it is useless. Security should always be coupled with ability for software to have value.

 

ADDING MHTML/MHT AND MAFF SUPPORT SHOULD BE A TOP PRIORITY FOR FIREFOX!

13 Comments
Status changed to: New idea
Jon
Community Manager
Community Manager

Thanks for submitting an idea to the Mozilla Connect community! Your idea is now open to votes (aka kudos) and comments.

Jon
Community Manager
Community Manager
endolith
Strollin' around

(This would probably go over better if it weren't in 500 colors and header tags)

OG
Strollin' around

I really need this, I use SingleFile Addon and it doesn't always save the webpage properly like the .maff format.

I think Mozilla should not just implement a good opensource archival format but also use a good coding or technique to save the webpage in full fidelity. I tried to save a conversation on Reddit which  I had with a friend that I lost 😞 and because of, what I assume is, technique to save memory, I couldn't save the whole conversation. so what I did was to keep scroll down and saving the page using SingleFileZ addon.

 

 

Also, thank you JohnBoyTheGreat  for using a formatting that is easy to read, I don't know why, but usually long monotonous article are hard for me to read, I might have some sort dyslexia or something.

 

 

kbnm
New member

Many thanks for expressing our dissatisfaction/grouse so lucidly. Hope this catches the eye of Firefox people!!

mudhut
Strollin' around

Agree that mht and similar support is desperately needed.

Do not agree that the OP's use of colour and differing fonts is detrimental to the point being made.

Cwiffy
New member

I deeply agree with you on this...I don't save webpages frequently, but I do export MHT files from Microsoft Word for blog pages

Firefox has so much to benefit with MHTML/MHT support. I mainly use Firefox, so it becomes frustrating and annoying to use both Firefox and Edge at once whenever I need to read an MHT file.

X7
New member

Thanks for bringing this up!

Looks like the Mozilla folks are living in ICE AGE!! There is no single browser that doesn't have the page saving as a single file!!!

IT SAVES THE PAGES AS HUNDREDS OF FILES AND FOLDERS AND FILLS UP THE FILE SYSTEM!!!

COMMON TEAM!!!

I'M SURE YOU MIGHT HAVE USED THE WEB PAGE SAVING FEATURE, BUT ISN'T IS RIDICULOUS TO CREATE A GAZILLION OF FILES??

Recoil5804
New member

I've been forced to chose Chrome in Selenium Webdriver because Firefox does not support MHTML. +1 from me.

ron1001100
New member

same problem here mail webvieuw makes use of .mht , no option for in firefox.