Apparently Firefox just recently pushed out their Firefox 4 beta, and for that I appreciate, it’s nice to change browsers every now and then, and I have to admit that Opera’s choice not to do automatic updates [IE download it’s executable on its own time and upgrade] is actually a turn off for me. I know a lot of people would much rather their browser not get a mind of its own and just start downloading updates, but as an average user it’s something I look to. Mostly because I don’t like to manually track trying to keep programs up to date, it’s tough enough when you have programs that will let you know they need to update and then give you a site to go to. I mean technically this is the way that you should do it I suppose, but as an average user I can’t stand going through that series of steps to upgrade a piece of software. And this is why I had no clue what Opera 10.5 looked like until a couple of hours ago. But anyway, I digress lets talk about Firefox’s new form.
Apparently whomever worked on the Google Chrome UI gets the “This is the way all browsers will be from now on” award, because Opera 10.5, Firefox, and Chrome all share this design theory. Basically their tabs are above the Basic menu bar. Firefox has finally jumped on this bandwagon and Firefox 4 jumps on the whole “minimalist” ideology. Now let me say this: It will be a while before most of the addons that I use catch up to even getting ready for Firefox 4… but in the meantime, I have no clue where in the world they will try to go. As it stands there is barely any room for the address bar, the home button, back and forwards, and reload. Adblock plus has set itself up as a box [which while I appreciate knowing it is active, it always seemed that this addon while important wasn’t important enough to deserve its own spot on the address bar] and that’s pretty much all there is room for. The other big addon I use [the 4chan addon] I’m not sure if it simply won’t work with 4.0, or if it just doesn’t want to. But even if it was working, I have no clue where in the world it would go. The whole File / Options / etc. menu items have now been stuffed under a Firefox button at the very top left of the screen. This button is of course orange because Firefox wants to be different or some nonsense. I have never had a bookmarks bar, so I don’t know if it would have one if I did.
All this leads of course to my basic problems with this. First and foremost, Chrome is Open source and spans all 3 major Operating systems, and Firefox still can’t figure out how to borrow some of that so that they can make use of Chrome’s fusion of the tab area with the usual window’s basic UI frame. It’s one thing that I’ve always really liked about chrome, because it feels like its own thing. Now that having been said Firefox 4 does “feel faster”, I can’t give you any hard numbers mostly because I’m a lazy kind of guy. But the browser does at least feel a little less bloated than firefox 3.6. There is also my issue with there still being a search bar. I don’t know why people still use that little box, but everyone I know does. The address bar, if you don’t give it a URL will create a search with your default search engine if you just type them in the address bar, this is how it has always worked. Why people still use that search bar is a mystery that I think will always annoy me.
Anyway, pick it up and play with it, I have no doubt that they will try to fix it so that it doesn’t completely fall behind Chrome and Opera in terms of browser technology. That and their mainstay of using the addons to secure themselves as the browser of choice outside of Internet Explorer for Windows.