If you're the kind of person who walks away from the computer thinking, "That was pleasant! Let me bake some cookies for those kids at MIT," neither Firefox nor this book is for you.
Firefox was created for people who hate computers; who are fed up with popup ads and an Internet that takes regular coffee breaks; and who are baffled by software that seems to have a mind of its own. In short, Firefox was created for people — not programmers.
The reason a mild-mannered author can make such a bold claim is that underneath this cool exterior, I'm not only an author — I'm also a founder! I helped start Firefox — not to make money (it's free), or sell a company (it's non-profit), but for the express purpose of making your life easier. The other developers and I want every Firefox experience to feel like your first foray onto the Net. We want to take you back to a time when the Web was new and exciting, when spam was lunch meat and advertisements were found only in books, on television, throughout public transportation systems, on people … you get the idea.
But we wouldn't turn down cookies.
If Firefox is your time machine, Firefox For Dummies is your H.G. Wells. The goal of this book is not just to show you Firefox itself, but to help you have a more enjoyable and productive online experience with Firefox. Remember your high school science fair? We're not here to blow up celery. We're here to blow up celery to test the effects of explosives on vegetables. It's a very strong practical focus, and one I strive to maintain throughout the book.
Along the way, I offer a behind-the-scenes look at Firefox development through sidebars that don't distract from the main content. Some of these sidebars offer insight into why we made certain product designs. Others are lighthearted anecdotes of the growing pains that occurred as Firefox evolved from a tiny hobbyist project to an international success. (Note: This book is written for Firefox 1.5.)
One great thing about developer-authors is that if anything goes wrong with your Firefox experience, whether the error lies in this book or in the software, it's my fault. You don't have to spend any time figuring out who deserves an earful. It's me, all me. See? Firefox is making your life easier already!