Make Maxthon great again!

  • This text is my opinion only. You can agree or disagree. I'm not questioning any Maxthon Team achievements. But I see that Maxthon are losing "grounds" every year. It was great geek browser, but now... I don't know any reason to use it except habit. I don't use MX anymore, but as every who still do I want to help. And this is my attempt.


Make Maxthon great again!


MX2 was the best browser, this is still one of the best browsers for Windows XP. MX3 was... different, but MX3 was cool, light, simple, but functional. MX4 was strange: I still don't understand why this is the "next step" in Maxthon development. MX5 is too new to talk about its merits and demerits. But today not so many MX users like new generation of their favorite browser. And now we have time to change something to save the community. And maybe Maxthon will become great again!

I am not programmer, I am just user, ordinary user like any one other. But I used MX many years and I think I understand what other users need. I don't use MX anymore, so I know what other browsers users need from browser, I know what new MX users will wait from Maxthon. And I made a few simple add-ons for MX and ported a few extensions from Chrome. So I understand why MX does not have hundreds or thousands of third-party developers.


Forget your pride and don't be afraid to copy other browser's solutions


Maxthon invented so many popular features that some people call Jeff Chen a prophet. Maxthon is the first browser with ad blocker, it was own AdHunter. Maxthon is the first browser with AdBlock Plus too. Maxthon was the first who added popup window for video. And in MX popup work for Flash games too.

It was cool and it's still cool. Just look on other browsers: only today they add these features. But... Times change. Look on other browsers again:yes, they add features what MX has many years, but they make it better. Maxthon popup many years worked for Flash only, but how many website use Flash today? Opera popup works with HTML5 and has more opportunities. Maxthon invented this feature, but now MX is catching up. Don't be afraid to admit it!

Don't be afraid to admit it, because you already did it. You did it when killed own AdHunter and changed it to AdBlock Plus. I did not like this step, but I agree that it was a right step. Why? Because this is the easiest way, but now we are talking not about this.

We talk that now Maxthon has to catch up with those who once copied MX ideas. It's not pleasant, but you have to admit and accept it! You invented a lot of cool features, but you did not improved it for many years. Why? It does not matter already. Just understand and correct it.

Look on own browser: if you have something cool, think how you can improve it. Look on other browsers: if they have something cool, just copy it. And make it easier and better! And don't say that you never do this. We know that you already did: you added sound indicator and mute button on tab. Like in Opera! So you can do, you do and you have to do it! Don't be afraid to copy other browser's solutions!

Ghoose the easest way


When you changed AdHinter to AdBlock Plus I did not like this step, but I agree that it was a right step. Why? Because this is the easiest way. If you want to do something greate you should to choose the easiest way every time! Because it works! Don't waste your time for complex "things" that you can make easier.

Truth be told I like typical Maxthon extension. I like it more that extensions for Chrome, Firefox or Opera. I like it because it's the easest things what you can imagine. I don't need something else... notifications maybe, but... Maxthon extensions have elementary functionality, almost all Maxthon features work as extensions. And it's enough!

If you can not keep something don't waste your time to save it


One more time look on your browser (you have to do it if you want to make it better!). If you have something unnecessary, but difficult or complex, try to simplify it. But if it's impossible - just give up! Don't waste time to save things that you'll have to remove in future.

Remember about AdBlock Plus: so many people asked, but so many people hate you for this. Why? Because you used AdHunter for MX4, it worked, but you change it... in MX4! You should to do it in 2012, when MX4 has been released. But you keeped AdHunter for MX4... and you killed it in a few years. Great! That's why your users don't like this step. You have to added AdBlock Plus in the first MX4 release or keep AdHunter before MX5 release. And all you users would be delighted! But this moment was lost... Don't repeat these mistakes! So if you understand that you can not improve or support any feature, remove it! But...

Warn your users about your next step every time


Let's talk about SkyNote. In MX5 you changed SkyNote to MaxNote. And formally SkyNote is available in old desktop versions and as standalone application. But today SkyNote in Cloud Browser works locally only! It means that you can download old notes, but you can not save any changes online. It looks as now these servers are available for reading only. You can use SkyNote, but now it's useless if you need it for several devices.

What happened? What will you do with SkyNote? And what should we wait about this? Shoud we trust you? Or just make copies now and change notes serviced. Lack of knowledge is a big problem for your users now!

Next. You removed cloud downloads from MX5 and many your users lost all of it. You can say that you just change cloud downloads to MaxNote, but it's not true. All who had files in your cloud lost it. Because I'm not sure that I can find it in old versions of MX where cloud downloads was available.

You killed one of the main features of MX4. It's bad, but I can understand you. Maxthon is really small company. I don't think that you have too much money to keep all these servers for all these gigabytes of all your thousands users data. Cloud downloads were an ambitious project, but it did not "shot" or "fired" like we talk in Russia. If now you can not keep servers for cloud downloads, you have to disable and remove it from the new browser. But...

You have to understand: all you users have lost all of their files! Is it fair? What will they think about this? It was necessary step, but it's blow to your reputation. You should think about it! What could you do? Just warn you users about this, reported that you will have to disable the servers and all their cloud downloads will be lost soon. Give your users a chance to pick up these files. Make tool to replace files to other service and you users will call you a hero who tried to help. But instead this you just deleted cloud downloads from MX 4.9 with no warnings. Although formally MX 4.9 is still MX4, Maxthon Cloud Browser!

So if you know that you can not keep some feature, don't be afraid to remove it, but warn your users about it!

Try to save old features for users who liked it


There is no contradiction. Cloud downloads is not just browser feature, this is a service. And when I talk about cloud download, I talk about service, but not about button in browser. But look on nigft mode for example. You changed it in MX5. But many people like old night mode (form MX4) more, and now they can use old night mode as extension. And it's cool! This is a perfect example of how you should work! If you remove some feature from new versions of your browser, just release it as extension. Because I know many people who still use MX 4.1 because of old Quick Access.

But think in a different direction too. Now you have two stable current versions: MX 4.9 and MX5. And you know that not all you users in awe of all MX5 featuers. What if I don't like MX5 and I use MX 4.9, but I like new QA or MaxNote? You can not just add QA from MX5 in MX 4.9. It will be big mistake because many people like QA from MX4, they are used to it already and they will hot be happy! So just release MX5 QA as extension.

That's not so difficult. even I could do it, but... MX5 QA works as online service via website. It mean that any third-party developer can make extension and change standart MX4 QA to MX5 QA. But this website use local Maxthon user folder, not cash or cookies. It mean that it works in MX5 only. Even if I make MX5 QA extension for MX4, it will not work: just empy page without saving.

So this is you work. If you remove something, give you users the opportunity to return it as extension. You users deserve the right to choose! So...

Give your users the right to choose


We have earned the right to vote! You have to respect us and you will! Or you just lose all of your users... And I talk not about opportunity to ask something on forum and receive an official reply only. I talk about a real opportunity to influence the development process. 

Look on Vivaldi. They just asked users what thay want to see and gave them the opportunity to select several points in dozens of variants. Today Vivaldi Team know what their users want to see and Vivaldi users know that this is their choise. And everyone is happy!

Just ask your users what they want. Make big survey on a large website (without registration), not on your small forum. Add 50 or more points and give me 5 votes. And you will know how to make your browser much better! Because your users is your money. If I like your browser, I will use it and I will recommend it to my friends again! 

Be honest with your users


Now we do not know anything about Maxthon. We know that this is Chinese company. We know about a few other your projects: Trunx, Rober, etc. We know Jeff Chan, Karl Mattson and several Zhang. It's all. We don't know who make browser. We don't know how many developers, programmers, designers, managers you have. We don't know how you make decisions. We know about mythical "road map", but we don't know what is located on this road. We don't know anything! This is the browser and someone develops it!

Tell us about yourself. Tell us what's happening. Tell us what are you planning. Tell us about your successes and failures. Because we want to know and we deserve to know!

And be honest. You lost many users after Exatel report. But you can loose much more if you will be silent again! You have to talk with your users. Short publications about new iPhone or funny video on Facebook or formal comments on forum or blog are not enough!

Be honest with third-party developers


All browsers today need extension. That's why Chrome so popular. Maxthon doesn't have endless sea of add-ons. Why? Because of your relations with third party developers. Everything is so bad that today you have me. Me, Karl! What you have to do:

1. Regular approving. Now we are waiting for several weeks. Why? Because you are too lazy! This is the only reason. Other browsers extensions are waiting for moderation for a few week too. But other browsers have thousands of extensions and hundreds of updates, they approve many extensions every day. You do it once every few weeks. You approve all updates in one day! What are you doing all this time?

OK. You don't have money to pay special "person" who will work with extensions only and this is one of you developers / managers. This is not his main work. So just choose one day for this. What about friday? Every friday he will check updates. Because you users wait for updates, third party developers wait for approving. I would not like to make updates for next extensions until previous update has not appeared in Extensions Center.

Or... You can update Extensions Center and add notifications about new extensions and updates for your moderators. So...

2. Update Extension Center. It's too old! I (as a third party developers) need any notifications about comments. Users need any notifications about replies, because in many cases this is answer. Where is this? Now your Extensions Center works for developers who have 1-7 extensions only. I have much more and existing feedback does not work for me!

Update Extensions Center. It's 7 years old already! Add really necessary functionality and forget about auto update of add-on icons if it's too hard. Remember: everytime choose the easest way! Or just teach your browser to install .mxaddon files from any websites and maybe we will make own "Extensions Center", who knows...

3. Finally make Skins Center! Are you remember about this? You close it because the earlier versions of MX4 did not support skins. It was 2012. But after 5 years MX4 support skins, MX 4.9 and MX5 too! And where is Skins Center?

Is it so difficult? You have no idea how to teach your browser to understand what version of skin is needed? OK. Just make several section: MX4, MX 4.9 and MX5, - three independent skins galleries. And add link to MX3 Skins Center, because many people still prefer this version.

This is the question of your respect for skins developers! I don't know anything about Chinese community, maybe you have Yoyoako and many add-ons developers there. But outside of China you have Wilser only. But... Forget! You had Wilser, you lost him. You lost the main skin developer. And this is only your attitude to your third-party developers.

Just make new gallery for skins and extensions. After all these years you have to do it. Because you lose persons who tried to help you in you work!

Show third-party developers how to work with your browser


What do developers think about Maxthon? Nothing. When you ask them to port extension on Maxthon, thay ask: "Does Maxthon support extensions from Chrome? Can we just upload our extension in Maxthon gallery?". They are not interested in development of another extension for another browser. But you still have a chance!

Just show third-party developers how to work with your browser. А few years ago I did not think that once I will begin to make extensions. But the lack of extensions made me, and now many people think that I'm developer. And this is about person who knew nothing about development. Think what can do real developers who know what they do.

Just show how to work with Maxthon, show what your extension are able to. Just make a few extension to show it. Now you have two only, you need more. I wrote guide about simple extensions (I planned five parts, but I wrote three only), and after reading anyone will be able to make own extensions of MX. You should make the same for serious third-party developers. Show them what they can do on you browser and how to port their extensions. That's not your problems, but now almost all add-on devs are not interested in your browser. You have to change this situation!

Save old products, don't hide it


I want you to understand: your users are you money, but not all your users are delighted with the new version of you browser. They like old versions more. And if you don't give them what they want, they will leave and you will lose your money. Old versions of your browser is better for you than other browsers. You have to understant it!

Now you change main page of official website hid old version, you hid old versions changelog and archive from forum. And this is very big mistake! You have to return it! Just make special column at the bottom of the page - Old generations of our browser - MX, MX2, MX3, MX4 and MX4.9. There must be installed and portable versions!

I understand that many users everyday will ask about something that does not work in old versions and you don't want to answer that "This is because of outdate. This is old browser and we don't support it many years". But you can just release little updates for latest version of each generation and add notifications about this in "About" for example. Why not?

You have to do it, because if I don't like MX5 I can use MX4.9... or leave you and go to new Opera. If I don't like MX4.9 I can use MX4... or leave you and go to Vivaldi. If I to old for this and I never liked your cloud browsers I can use MX3... or leave you and go to any other browser!


Conclusion


I think, that's all. I tried to talk not about technical issues, but about philosophy. Eventually you made MX2 and you know how to make cool browser. But I'm afraid that you are not able to work with your audience. You don't understand what your users want from you and you don't understand why they want something from you. And this is typical Chinese view: there is only China under the sky and there are barbarians around China. This philosophy will not lead you to success. If you want to become a truly global company, you need your users. These users, not "other"! You have to respect us!

That's all...
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