Pre-release versions of Firefox 3 are now available, and they are looking pretty interesting. Here are a few warnings though if you are tempted to try upgrading now:
- Existing add-ons in the form of extensions or themes will probably not work anymore if you upgrade.
- It doesn’t yet ‘look’ polished. Firefox 3 will have a new visual appearance, which the pre-release versions don’t have yet.
- There are some annoying bugs, but aren’t there always. For instance you can’t yet drag and drop a bookmark into a bookmark menu.
- If you don’t like it and decide to downgrade to Firefox 2 again, you’ll lose access to bookmarks you created while you were using Firefox 3 (there is a way around it though).
With those warnings aside, here are some of the neat things I found.
- Rendering pages is faster due to the new rendering engine. If you have a decent enough internet connection you’ll probably notice the benefit.
- The address bar lets you search your browsing history, and shows titles and URLs of results. You can also bookmark things in one click using the ‘star’ in the address bar.
- You can resize the search box (ie the Google search box) so it’s bigger.
- There is a list of automatic bookmarks which contains your frequently visited pages.
There are lots of changes to the way bookmarks and history are handled, and thankfully lots of these changes are not noticeable at all. There are also changes to the way secure connections are described, to avoid the implication that a site can be trusted if it is using a secure connection. There are also thousands of other bug fixes.
I really like following Firefox’s development because anyone can see how bugs are fixed and how patches to the code are accepted, and it somehow works – it creates a good product.