The State of the Browsersphere - Part 4: Firefox

Album Cover: Plans

"And it came to me then that every plan is a tiny prayer to Father Time."
Death Cab / What Sarah Said

Posted on October 08, 2005 8:22 PM in Browsers
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

As you might recall, version 1.0 of Firefox was released in November of last year. Since then, a whole lot of work has gone into developing the next version which, until recently, was going to be version 1.1. Because so much has gone into the next release, the Mozilla folks have decided to bump the version to 1.5. The official release of Firefox 1.5, which still holds the "Deer Park" code name originally held for the 1.1 release, could and probably should be released in the next month or two. In fact, Firefox 1.5 Beta 2 was released for testing purposes only two days ago.

So what can we all expect when Firefox 1.5 drops later this year? A ton of things. In my opinion, the most visible changes to average users will be those made to the update mechanism and the new fast back and forward functionality. The new preferences window should stand out as different as well.

From a web developer's perspective, Firefox 1.5 will be chalk full of new goodies to play with. The new release will support CSS3 columns, CSS2 counters, Scalable Vector Graphics, Canvas and JavaScript 1.6. For more on these and other upcoming developer-related features, I highly recommend reading New Web Developer Features in Deer Park Alpha 1, Firefox 1.5 developer highlights and Canvas demos.

And because of my history with the GrayModern theme, I also have to mention that I'm pretty excited to see that Firefox 1.5 will ship with support for translucent windows. Speaking of GrayModern, now that we're getting closer to a 1.5 release I suppose I should get busy on updating that theme for the new version.

So don't fall for the hype when you read things about the honeymoon being over or the momentum slowing. There are obviously cool things coming down the pipe, and as one recent switcher to Firefox notes, there are still many improvements to be made. Now is as exciting a time as ever to be a Firefox user, and things are only going to get better.

If you're at all interested in the road ahead, I recommend reading the Firefox roadmap and keeping up-to-date with The Burning Edge, a site dedicated to tracking all the changes going into Firefox.

And if you're a developer, now is probably the best time to get on board. The Mozilla Developer Center, or "DevMo," has recently gone live. This is something I wish would have existed when I started working on GrayModern. The site covers all kinds of topics and technologies that you can utilize, learn or explore all while helping to make Firefox the best browser it can be.

Oh, and if you think I saved Firefox for last, you're wrong. I'll be covering more in my "State of the Browsersphere" coverage very soon. I'll leave it to you to guess which browser (or browsers?) I'll be covering next time around.

See also:
Part 1: Safari
Part 2: Opera
Part 3: Internet Explorer
Part 5: The Minor Players

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