It’s been a long journey, but Firefox 1.0 is right around the corner. The 1.0 Preview Release was pushed on September 14th. As of press time, 502,659 copies of the browser have been downloaded by the public since then – a spectacular number to be sure, but still far below the estimated 94.16% Internet Explorer browser market share as of the middle of July.
I’m posting this in Firefox, and while it’s very similar to version 0.9.3 for the most part, there are some notable differences, most mentioned in the Release Notes:
- Live bookmarks – Sites that advertise RSS feeds (like Waileia) can be added as a folder of bookmarks, which will update automatically. It’s a neat idea (similar to Safari’s upcoming implementation), but since I don’t use bookmarks generally, I don’t think it’ll be of much help.
- Find Toolbar – Mozilla’s Find as You Type feature is simply extraordinary – it’s one of those simple things somebody just stumbles upon, and makes life dramatically easier. I’m not happy about the new Find bar that comes up, however. I haven’t actually done any objective analysis, but it feels slower than it was when the text showed up in the Status Bar. Hopefully they’ll clean it up soon.
- SSL Highlighting – This is probably 1.0 PR’s best new feature. The address bar turns gold when you’re viewing a secure site, and the status bar plainly displays the host you’re talking to. A quick mouseover of the padlock icons tells you which CA signed the certificate. Browser users have always asked what the best way to implement SSL notification is, and I think the Firefox team has the right approach.
- Popup Blocker Enhancements – It’s nice that you can now manually open blocked popups, but I don’t know how I feel about the new user interface, which looks like a direct rip from Microsoft’s enhancements in Internet Explorer released in Service Pack 2. It doesn’t feel ethical to me.
- The theme – “Winstripe” hasn’t gotten any better since the Mozilla team blatently ignored the public’s demands and ripped Qute out of the default distribution. Luckily, Arvid is still maintaining the best Firefox theme ever as an add-on. It’s a pity I have to go through the motions of installing it every time I upgrade.
Despite my misgivings about some of the changes, I can still wholeheartedly recommend Firefox over any other browser with any market share today. You should go get it now. No, really.