Today was the launch of Mozilla’s long awaited Firefox 3. There was a slight hiccup when their servers all fell over due to the demand, but it seems to be ok now and I have just installed it on my Macbook Pro.
I have been a fan of Firefox ever since it first came out, taking every version as they came out and enjoying discovering the new features.
It has not been an entirely smooth journey. There have been memory leak issues, strange CPU behavior, flash was very resource intensive (especially in early versions) but all in all it has been all the time better than IE. I dislike IE for political reasons as well as how MS has made our (the web design community) lives more difficult in terms of cross browser standards and site conformity. That said, I do try every new browser that comes out and try to keep an open mind.
So, back to Firefox 3. I have installed all the Beta’s and the Release Candidates so it’s hard to think back to Firefox 2, but casting my mind back the main differences are the history, the address bar and the back/forward buttons. RSS and bookmarking had been smartened up as well.
Speed has supposedly been increased in v3. To be honest I have not noticed it as I don’t think it’s ever been that slow for me, but the general consensus is speed has been improved.
The address bar works in a much more intelligent way now. Start typing anything about the site you are wanting, the title, the url etc, and it cleverly matches what you type to what it thinks you want. That may sound primitive but it works so much better now. The drop down history list is also better, keeping a clever list of just visited and frequently visited sites.
There are a few security features that have been thrown in. When you visit sites with SSL certificates, like Paypal, the beginning of the menu bar turns green. Hopefully as people get more used to this it will be more apparent when someone visits a site without it and encourage them to think twice before entering their details.
If you are currently on Firefox 2 go and get Firefox 3 now, it’s worth it. If you are using Internet Explorer then I honestly feel sorry for you… go on, try Firefox, you won’t regret it!