New Firefox

Posted Sep 16, 2004 in Browsers.

This morning, I downloaded the latest version of Mozilla's Firefox web browser. Version 1.0PR (for Preview Release) appears to run more smoothly than the previous version I was running (0.92). A new button has appeared in the bottom right-hand corner called “RSS”, which allows you to subscribe to snydication feeds if they are available. Also, the bookmark icons appear to work a little better than they did before. Despite the generally positive feeling I have for this release, I have three major complaints already:

  1. The CSS style switcher, ingeniously positioned in the lower left-hand corner of the status bar, has disappeared.
  2. Many of my extensions and themes no longer work - I am now stuck with the dreadful default theme, instead of my preferred theme Qute.
  3. The “RSS” button is a poor choice, since “RSS” is Dave Winer's inconsistent little puppy. I would prefer “Feed” or “Subscribe” in colors consistent with the theme. “XML” would also be inappropriate, by the way.

On the positive side, Firefox was easier to install than ever before, and all my bookmarks migrated over nicely. I hope this browser will remain on the forefront of browser convenience and technology, and I will continue to recommend it to all of my friends and colleagues.


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    The style switcher has been ingeniously switched over to the right hand side, next to the RSS logo, apparently for no reason whatsoever execpt to confuse people ;)

    Other nice aspects is the display of the domain name in the status bar on https sites to reduce the efficacity of phishing attempts trying to build an XUL overlay faking the real interface, and the "Find in page" is simple and just brilliant (in real time as you type).

    Posted by RichardPW on Sep 18, 2004.

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    I too am in love with the switcher. It's amazing how much more advanced Firefox is when compared to other browsers, namely IE.

    Posted by Donnie on Sep 18, 2004.

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    I agree, 1.0PR does seem faster and more stable (if that's possible from an already stable browser). In regards to changing the feed bookmark button from 'RSS' to 'Feed' or 'Subscribe', that just makes sense.

    Posted by kartooner on Sep 20, 2004.

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    I have Qute back now, thank goodness.

    Erik, you somehow managed to get a bullet mark into your comment,instead of the "b" in "bookmark", and it managed to break my well-formedness. I've fixed it now, but I'm a little surprised, since I use UTF-8. Obviously something is broken, but I am not sure what. Hmmm.

    Posted by Simon Jessey on Sep 20, 2004.

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    Simon: I noticed. Last night when I submitted the comment your site spit back a message about the XHTML not being well formed. At that point I thought the comment itself failed and went to bed.

    It's nice to know it still went through, even if a stray bullet made its way into the text. Weird.

    Posted by kartooner on Sep 20, 2004.

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    I agree about the "RSS" button name. It's a nifty little feature but I think that a change in the name to "Feed" or "Syndicate" would be nice.

    I also don't like how it defaults the bookmark for the feed to a certain spot. They need to be more clear on how the feature works (maybe turn it off by default).

    The address bar turning yellow when you visit a secure site is a nice touch. As well as the fact that in the bottom right the name of the secure page is displayed. Overall I think this Firefox build is a decent improvement over .92.

    Posted by Stephan Segraves on Sep 21, 2004.

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    I'd have to agree with you, Stephan. The yellowing of the address bar for secure sites is such a simple enhancement, yet it instantly gives peace of mind to the user. I also like the new approach of having a small, clickable area at the top of the screen to indicate a blocked popup.

    I've been thinking about the stylesheet-switcher issue, and I think I've probably changed my mind about it. Firefox MUST do the core browser things REALLY well, and almost nothing else. Other features (including, I think, the feed reader) should be the realm of extensions. I also think it is a good idea that extensions created by the main Firefox development team should be distinguished from third-party extensions in some way.

    I'm going to post a blog entry about this a little later.

    Posted by Simon Jessey on Sep 21, 2004.

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    "RSS" is indeed a poor choice, though better than "XML" (for obvious reasons). I think, though, that "feed" could be confused by many as an action and "syndicate" could be confused for a noun. "Newsfeed" seems the best choice---and I'm not just saying that because that's the term Opera uses. :)

    Posted by J. King on Sep 21, 2004.