Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Firefox 1.5 review

Okay, I installed Firefox 1.5, looks good and most of my extensions worked as well. And the ones that don't work, it is showing them as disabled so that I don't lose track of them. There is also an find update option on each extension so that if a future release of the extension is compatible with it, it would be downloaded and installed. I also found this useful link to tweak Gcache extension to work with it.

First impressions, I didn't find much difference between the older version and this. The options screen has changed and it has this really cool setting of "Force links that open windows to open in new tabs". I always find it annoying when clicking on a link opens up a new Firefox window. I liked the way opera had everything contained in itself. Now firefox supports the same feature.

Other than this there is nothing tangible that I can point out, and I still have to figure out some of the extensions stuff, but the web surfing just seems cooler ;-)

Update: Jus tnoticed that upgrading made it lose the search engines that I added. Also, there is no direct way of deleting those search engines (there is an extension though, but I am feeling lazy to google right now)


  1. Hey Shakti! Whats up ... Its been a long time!

    I have been a (small time) contributor to mozilla over the last several years, and its always glad to see someone I know appretite Firefox.

    Check this out to see what is new in this release.

    However, note that the significance of this release is beyond what you see in the UI. It represents almost a couple of years work on the guts of the gecko rendering engine. I personally believe is the most significant browser release in many many years if you consider the new APIs made available that allow developers to build new types of applications.

    This is a good place to check some of those features out.

    As a small example of what I am talking about consider this cool demo of canvas, which is done wholly in html and javascript (without any flash or applets!).

  2. Hi Harshal!!! Its absolutely amazing to have a comment from you on this blog, that too within couple of hours of writing this post.
    I rememeber you started contributing to mozilla right during college and I really appreciate that an open source community has been able to give a company as big as M$ a run for its money.
    This review is more of a first impressions stuff highlighting things that improves my browsing experience rightaway, and "Force links..." feature fits well there. However, I clearly understand the significance goes much beyond the UI with better speed,security and more importantly, better support for standards. Just like this canvas demo, you can also check out this demo of svg, that only firefox supports as of now. Such features with a cool API for developers to write their own extensions, we can have many great killer extensions in near future.
    Firefox is the only topic on which I have written 5 posts so far which in itself shows how much I love this app.

  3. This is what I've switched to for the time-being : Built on top of IE; has one click gecko rendering support. Pretty useful for the average user.

  4. When I first looked for an alternate browser 3 years ago, I was mainly looking for a browser for web surfing as I had to close all IE windows/clear cookies etc every once in a while for my application testing. Hence I didn't try browsers based on IE as they shared the same cookies and stuff. Opera seemed a good choice then but a lot of websites including bank sites didn't work on it.
    But ever since I started using firefox, there has been no looking back and even though browsers like opera are free and much better these days, I feel no need to switch.
    But there is certainly an advantage using Maxthon as many sites are still IE only (sadly many Indian sites) and maxthon can help a lot there, though I am still skeptical whether it makes IE more secure.
    Other similar browsers based on IE are My IE2 and Crazy Browser.

  5. I think, Maxthon is the same as MyIE2 and I liked it. Even though it looks sucky with all those icons.

    Apart from the fact the existence of IE only sites, there are a few irritating issues with Firefox which would make me switch to Maxthon if I start liking the look of it.

  6. Also, these new cool features would remain demos until

    1. Firefox gains a significant market share ~50% or so
    2. IE also implements them

    The first looks impossible at the moment. Second, if its in pipeline kills the Firefox "coolness" factor, and I am sure if MS was to introduce similar features in IE they would have their own proprietary extensions :)

  7. There might be a few crappy issues with firefox, but if those are crappy enough, chances are that some developer would have already written an extension to fix it. Thats the power of releasing the API to public, google knows it best :).

    As for the cool demos, I agree with you. But their are 2 points on advantage to firefox. First, these are demos of latest web standards rather than proprietory stuff so chances of other browsers implementing them are relatively higher ...
    Secondly, firefox is now in a position where IE sees it as a threat(whatever bill might be saying, the fact is that IE 7 development is getting pushed), so IE will have to make itself more standards compatible so that it doesn't lose its edge over firefox.
    IE need not be better than firefox to retain its market share, but still it has to be atleast as good.

  8. Yup, and IE has one big disadvantage, it is not going to work on anything more ancient than Win XP. Btw, some firefox issues that haven't been fixed

    1. Site icons get mixed up on bookmarks toolbar - i guess its an array index off by one sort of error
    2. Fonts especially the Indian variety.
    3. Allowing Microsoft JVM to run applets or is there a plugin for that?

    Other than that except for a few sites (StanC is the worst) Firefox suits me just well enough.

  9. 1. I haven't really faced the site icons issue in bookmarks. I don't use bookmarks anyways, use
    2. The devanagri font used to mess up in firefox, but it seems fine these days on my firefox 1.5 atleast.
    3. I didn't know there are still applets on the web that work only with MS JVM, now that its not supported by MS anymore. I don't know of any extension for that, but maybe IE view or IE tab can help you for all those *IE only* sites.

  10. 1. Somehow the idea of online bookmarks never appealed to me, anyway I think the issue is gone with the 1.5 update

    2. Not sure if the issue is with Firefox or Win2k but the fonts still don't display properly on my m/c with FF 1.5, not that I care too much.

    3. Dude IE Tab rocks. Goodbye Maxthon

  11. btw. IE Tab uses the IE rendering engine, so any applet is also rendered via IE -> I can use MS JVM with FF.

    Another good thing, Standard Chartered, at last, seems to have fixed their site to work with FF. Thats what the popularity of FF has done :)

  12. Great ... Maybe I can take up as a firefox support volunteer :-) ... Able to give advice to a power user, however small it might be, is immense satisfaction :-)