Reviewing Firefox 2.0 RC3

Firefox2 RC3

Microsoft offically released the latest version of Internet Explorer 7, and we immediately downloaded and installed it on one of the test boxes here at Visual Lizard. Julian has posted his first impressions on the new browser, focusing on how websites render in the new browser. I’ll probably spend some more time with it next week, but I warn you now... it’s looking like I will not be a fan of it. Also, it seems IE7 still completely buggers up FTP through Windows Explorer (though, we had IE7 Beta3 running on the same machine and it might be that version’s fault.

So, in the spirit of things, I downloaded and tried out Firefox 2.0 RC3, the pre-release candidate of Mozilla’s excellent browser. It isn’t a major rejiggering, as in IE7, but rather a realigning of existing elements and addition of popular features. Here are a couple quick impressions:

  • Unlike previous versions, the tab bar is on by default; the option to have the bar disappear when only one tab was open has been completely removed. With IE7 supporting tabs, it looks like single window browsers are officially on the way out.
  • Speaking of which, each tab now has it’s own close button. Also, where the close button used to be in previous version, there’s a pulldown list of all open tabs... I guess for those power users that have a bazillion tabs open *shrug* :)
  • The search field comes with great defaults, with a "Manage Search Engines" option that makes it a breeze to add more. Also, if using Google or Yahoo, the search bar provides keyword suggestions while you type. Handy.
  • Also under "Options", extensions and themes have been grouped together under "Add-ons".
  • In the "Options", you can set Google Reader (my personal favourite reader) to handle RSS feeds.
  • Built in spell check for all input and textarea form fields. As anyone knows, my spelling is criminal... so thank god! :)
  • Unfortunately, the browser’s not 100% stable yet. Our Catalyst CMS system uses the excellent javascript FCKEditor, and Firefox 2.0 RC3 crashes almost religiously when it encounters it. I failed to get this post up three times before switching over to IE6 :/

Overall, I’m liking the latest version of Firefox. Familiar enough that you’re immediately comfortable with it, but sprinkled with many new "hey, that’s neat" moments. Unfortunately, the FCKEditor crash issue makes it near unuseable as my regular browser, but I’ll cross my fingers for a fix and be looking forward to the final release. :)

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