First Impressions of Firefox 3 Beta 1

Album Cover: Vitalogy

"Wait for signs, believe in lies, to get by, it's divine."
Pearl Jam / Tremor Christ

Posted on December 08, 2007 1:42 AM 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.

I downloaded Firefox 3 Beta 1 tonight, and these are just a few of my first impressions:

  • I like the graphical touches they've put on the tab bar and the tabs themselves. In fact, the new look reminds me a little bit of GrayModern, which is kinda funny.
  • The full page zoom feature is fun to play around with, but still seems a little twitchy. Especially when trying it in Gmail, it took me a while to figure out if I was zooming the text or the page. It was a little easier to get a feel for it when zooming my blog, but it still doesn't feel as smooth as I remember Opera's version of the feature being.
  • The favicons loaded the first time you click on an item you've added to your Bookmarks Toolbar no longer persist indefinitely, meaning if the favicon on the server changes over time, so will the one in your toolbar (next time you click on it). This isn't true of Firefox 2, so it's good to see the progress made in that area.
  • The optional Dom Inspector is badly in need of a graphical update to match the look and feel of the rest of the default theme.
  • I'm not sure what to make of the Places feature. It looks like simple statistics around the pages you've viewed most often, etc., but I know it's meant to be more. Basically the feature isn't very intuitive out-of-the-box, even for a long time Firefox user like myself.
  • Gmail Notifier is the only one of my extensions that currently works with the beta. At the time of writing, Google Reader Notifier and IE Tab do not.
  • Making the jump from Firefox 2 to Firefox 3 Beta 1 is pretty easy considering the chrome of the browser hasn't changed all that much. Things are still generally located where they were in Firefox 2.
  • I noticed some weird red lines showing up in the Google Reader interface above the post titles. I'm not sure what that's all about. They sort of just come and go.
  • After firing up Google Reader, scanning through the Digg feed for a while, launching some tabs and watching some embedded videos, I now have the memory usage up over 100 MB. Business as usual in that department (even though it is apparently being worked on).
  • Finally, from a subjective speed perspective, Firefox 3 does seem a little bit snappier than Firefox 2 in some aspects, but certainly not as noticeably as Opera, for example. Fortunately, though, I have enough people wasting my time on a daily basis that the amount of time my browser wastes is completely negligible ;)

If you've been holding out on making the leap ahead to Firefox 3, feel free to come on in. The water's warm (and I'm sure Mozilla would appreciate any feedback you have).


Ian Clifton on December 08, 2007 at 11:14 AM:

I have been testing it out a little at work, but I haven't specifically been looking for anything different. My approach, this time, has been more of a "I'll use it like I use FF2 and see what I notice."

Overall, the changes seem a lot less exciting/significant than the ones FF2 brought. You're right about the extensions, though I wonder how much of that is really "true." When you make an extension, you have to specify in it which versions of Firefox it works in, so many of them might work in FF3 but simply don't say that they do. It's been rough not having Firebug! At times, the pages do seem a little faster to render, but part of me wonders if that's partly because I don't have any extensions other than Adblock Plus running.


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