Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Firefox 3.0

Firefox 3.0 makes it's triumphant debut today, with a hyped up attempt to break the world record for most downloads in a single day. They're expecting the number to easily surpass 5 million. Go get it.

The location of the download was actually leaked to me yesterday, but on their server was a friendly note politely asking people who stumbled upon this secret trove not to start downloading until they say that it's time. Being a considerate bloke, I complied with their wishes.

I like to think of Firefox as an example that successive improvements can bring software infinitely close to perfection. I've been using the browser since before version 1.0, when it was still called Firebird. With each successive version they've fixed bugs, closed memory leaks, corrected annoyances, and added features (while consciously avoiding adding too many features!) until it's arrived at the sleek, polished product it is today. Firefox 2.0 has the bar set so high that I could hardly see what could be changed with a new version without approaching feature bloat or having change for the sake of change.

So anyway, what's new in 3.0? The biggest noticeable change is to the new location bar, informally dubbed the awesome bar, which now lists page titles above their addresses in the pull down menu. It looks clunky compared to the old URL list, but it may just be something that takes some getting used to. More impressive was the improved auto-complete feature that suggests pages based on page title rather than just the address.

Other noticable changes from my first impressions:
  • The back button is strangely bigger than the forward button.
  • The rest of the buttons have slightly different icons, not necessarily better.
  • History opens in a window rather than a sidebar.
  • There's an extra seperator line in the Boomarks menu of the menubar, so two lines seperate my personal bookmarks from the rest of the menu
  • The icon for broken images is different.
  • The Firefox icon is exactly the same.
  • The "About Mozilla Firefox" says 3.0 instead of
Ok, that's all the changes there are in Firefox 3. At least that's what I could detect from a few minutes of using it. Well yeah I'm sure there are thousands of backend changes and improvements too.

Also, most of my Firefox extensions are incompatible with Firefox 3.0, with no currently available update. With that, I switched back to Firefox 2. *toink*