Switching to Firefox 3

· by Steve · Read in about 2 min · (400 Words)

Now it’s out of beta, Firefox 3 has become my primary browser - it’s a nice speed upgrade and I like the little extras like the unobtrusive ‘remember password’ prompt, smart location bar and reduced memory usage. It’s a shame their servers went belly-up on the planned release day, but then they did paint a bullseye on their face.

There were a few hiccups- I have a few add-ons I generally feel I couldn’t live without and a couple of them didn’t want to work immediately.

  • Firebug won’t upgrade itself, you have to switch to the beta 1.1 version if you want it to work with FF3. Seems to work fine.
  • Google Browser Sync doesn’t work and Google have apparently dropped future development support for it - because they never released it as open source (why?) it’s essentially a dead product. Foxmarks is a nice quick alternative, although it does only synchronise bookmarks and not open tabs, cookies or passwords. It does have the advantage that you can sync it to your own server if you want though. Long term Mozilla Weave looks like it could be the best option, but it seems a little young right now.

Also oddly, I had no back / forward button block to begin with. I don’t know if that was linked to the fact that I’d been running the beta beforehand, but I had to customise the toolbar to add it back in.

Still, overall it definitely feels faster and slicker, so it’s a useful update to a major staple of my application toolset. I haven’t tried the native look and feel on OS X yet, I’ll be updating next time I’m on the Mac to see what it’s like.

Opera is still the fastest browser of course, but IMO they really missed the boat by holding on to the concept of being able to sell a browser for a little too long, and I’m not sure they’ll ever catch up in terms of the sheer breadth of available add-ons. I have Opera installed on my machine too (for testing) and although it’s good I always gravitate back to FF just because of all the useful add-ons & the more active community - the same applied to Safari on the Mac.

Whatever your preference, with all these options there’s really no excuse to still be using that buggy piece of trash called IE!