Switching to Firefox 3

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!

  • http://www.opengameengine.org Chris Jones

    i also didn’t have the back/forward buttons when i upgraded. Also, my bookmarks were old, missing more recent ones. i uninstalled it, deleted left over files and installed fresh, seems fine now, except not having my bookmarks..

  • http://www.stevestreeting.com Steve

    Ah, yeah I was missing some recent bookmarks too but I assumed that was caused by switching sync plugins. Very strange…thinking about it I think I lost the bookmarks I’d added since installing the beta, so maybe the beta uninstall removed them.

  • Paul Evans

    Personally I use firefox in preference, but calling out IE as a buggy piece of trash is a bit harsh. I’ve seen the “restore session” dialog of Firefox too many times on 2 and 3 to think of it as anything better stability wise.

  • http://www.stevestreeting.com Steve

    The only time I’ve had FF crash on me is when a plugin goes bonkers, Quicktime is the usual culprit but occasionally a Flash plugin will. The same thing is usually at fault for IE7 crashes too, except that when it dies it occasionallyl takes more of the system with it (explorer.exe), being as it is still too entwined in the OS.

    But in terms of buggy I’m mostly talking about my frustration with its CSS support. IE7 is significantly better than 6 but still well below par. I’ll write a style that works perfectly in FF, Opera and Safari and then waste the rest of the time making IE play ball without bastardising things too much that it starts to break other browsers. Kinda pisses you off to bash your head against that for a few years.

  • http://blog.ciarang.com Ciaran

    Thanks for the firebug tip – that was holding me back from upgrading.

  • Kentamanos

    I’m sure it’s been a hectic 24 hours for their IT people :).

    It’s been interesting to watch the map tracking downloads per country. I wonder who the ONE person is that downloaded it in The Falkland Islands for instance…

  • ASpanishGuy

    http://sixrevisions.com/tools/faster_web_page/ if you’re a web DEV, this link will help you a little.

  • WhiteKnight

    I’ve been using Weave for a few weeks and its been great although I’ve only been using it mainly on one computer, but installed it onto another yesterday. I’ve needed to clear the server contents one though when doing an upgrade to get it to work again, but you don’t lose anything. The new version that should come out soon should have these features: http://labs.mozilla.com/2008/06/weave-status-update/. Also check out this link for Firefox Mobile: http://labs.mozilla.com/2008/06/firefox-mobile-concept-video/.

  • http://www.stevestreeting.com Steve

    I really like the new native look & feel on OS X now I’ve tried it, and Foxmarks did a very good job of merging in my bookmarks and thus restoring the ones I’d lost (I wasn’t using the beta on this machine, so the problems with lost bookmarks and the toolbar button didn’t happen).

    I will certainly look at Weave again when I have chance.