So what’s the big deal about Firefox 3? Well, many people who try new versions of Firefox (both version 3 and previous releases) complain that there aren’t any major new features. But that’s the thing with Firefox: It is constantly being refined and tweaked to improve your web browsing in subtle but great ways.
Here are some examples: (Copied from the official what’s new list.)
- Easier password management: an information bar replaces the old password dialog so you can now save passwords after a successful login.
- Simplified add-on installation: the add-ons whitelist has been removed making it possible to install extensions from third-party sites in fewer clicks.
- Resumable downloading: users can now resume downloads after restarting the browser or resetting your network connection.
- Full page zoom: from the View menu and via keyboard shortcuts, the new zooming feature lets you zoom in and out of entire pages, scaling the layout, text and images.
- Save what you were doing: Firefox will prompt users to save tabs on exit.
- Find toolbar: the Find toolbar now opens with the current selection.
- Star button: quickly add bookmarks from the location bar with a single click; a second click lets you file and tag them.
- Location bar & auto-complete: type the title or tag of a page in the location bar to quickly find the site you were looking for in your history; favicons, bookmark, and tag indicators help you see where results are coming from.
Firefox 3, alltogether, will be a huge improvement over Firefox 2. In my eyes there are two killer features:
- Rendering updated to Gecko 1.9. (If that can be called a feature.)
- Bookmarks and History combined into Places.
Once Firefox 3 has replaced most of the Firefox 2 installs (which should be sometime in april, thanks to Firefox’s sleek update feature) web designers can seriously start playing around with semi-transparent colours. Also, soft hyphens will work in all the major browsers. (Although it is rather embarrassing that Firefox is the last browser to implement ­.)
Places is a very nice semi-revolutionary change in Firefox 3. If you want to, you can keep using bookmarks in the same old way you always used them. But if you have lots of bookmarks, chances are you will have a go at using the new tagging feature and use the location bar for searching your bookmarks and history.
Right now though, Places doesn’t seem to work very well. The searching is slow, and sometimes doesn’t find bookmarks that I just added a couple of minutes ago. This could be because I use a nightly build of Firefox which is newer than beta 1. (Can someone tell me if this works in beta 1?)