what I like about Firefox2

September 7th, 2006

Firefox 2 is in beta currently, beta2 release candidate 2. So that means it's going to be some weeks before v2.0 goes gold for public consumption. I was a little hesitant about installing the beta, knowing that in the past upgrading Firefox has brought with it bugs and certainly shut off popular extensions.

What most attracted me to it was whispers that the memory leaks have been greatly reduced, and performance improved. Firefox (originally Phoenix) started out as a nice stripped down version of Mozilla. Then gradually, it accepted so many features that it became rather heavy, especially on slower machines. It is a good thing that performance is being addressed continually, even though I doubt Firefox will ever match up to Opera in that regard. I haven't run any benchmarks to verify, but the new Firefox does seem a little faster. Noticeably, scrolling is faster.

A welcome new addition is a built-in session saver. I have been using the SessionSaver extension since the dawn of man basically, finally it is a built-in feature. When you close Firefox (or it crashes), it will restore your tabs and pages opened in them (new option in the settings).

Tab handling has improved. Every tab has a close icon, but you can also close tabs by middle-clicking on them. I thought this was a bug to begin with, I accidentally closed a window while filling in a form, but it's just a quick way of closing tabs. If you do close a tab accidentally, use History > Recently Closed Tabs to bring it back.

A new feature is a built-in spell checker (supporting a range of languages) for all form input. It highlights typos as you write, with the familiar red underline. While this isn't something I consider a major breakthrough, I'm sure a lot of people will love it.

Finally, a bug fix. in Firefox1.5, when you have the bookmarks drop-down menu open and you scroll with the mouse wheel, it will cycle between tabs. In Firefox2, it does the logical thing - scrolls the drop-down menu.

Extension wise, Adblock and Flashblock both work, Dictionary lookup doesn't yet.

:: random entries in this category ::

4 Responses to "what I like about Firefox2"

  1. erik says:

    would you recommend it for *my* laptop, tho? :D

  2. numerodix says:

    Sure, why not. :D

  3. ash says:

    Btw, I'm running Firefox 1.5 and the middle click/close tab and scrolling bookmarks menu have always worked in this version. Maybe the Linux version is different.
    The SessionSaver would be handy for crashes but I think the built in spell checker interests me much more. Hopefully it'll work with the Blogger posting form, because Blogger's built in spell checker is terrible - slow, US spelling only, missing words you'd expect it to know (i.e. blog comes up as a misspelt word!) and sometimes it even alters your text for no good reason.

  4. numerodix says:

    Yeah, someone else told me the middle click thing already is in 1.5. Maybe that was just in a minor update. To me it's new though.

    I imagine the blogger posting thing is 'rich text'? I.e. you don't write html, you can select text, click on the 'bold' icon and it will appear bold in the editor? All rich text editors are unbelievably buggy vis a vis different browsers and stuff you want to with the code. The simplest things get totally messed up. I believe this is the reason why there IS no way to make a text processor that truly does a great job. It's either writing in rich text OR writing the markup in code, no compromise. Anyway, that's about the blogger thingy.

    The firefox spell checker comes in many different languages (20-ish or so) and it even has British English ( ;) ). In the US version, 'blog' is not marked as a typo. :D