Firefox 2.0

Since I suddenly decided it would be a great idea to get a sneak preview of Firefox 2.0 (yay, new browser, my day is enriched!), I went to the effort of downloading and installing the RC1 version. This post will basically act as a place to put down my impressions as I use the browser, so expect it to be edited frequently.

Observations

  • The interface has that “let’s make all the icons shiny and 3D” look that always makes programs look like they must be using up more memory.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but Firefox seems to take longer to load now; I end up hanging around thinking “is it opening or isn’t it?”
  • I can’t say I’ve noticed a difference in memory usage; Firefox 1.5 was a memory hog but usually didn’t go much over 120MB unless I left it on for days. So far 2.0 has been running all evening with around 6 tabs open and is at 94MB via the usual progressive eating of resources.
  • There’s now a built-in session manager in options to let you reload whatever tabs and windows you had open when Firefox crashed (this is just as well, as SessionSaver and Session Manager aren’t yet compatible with 2.0). Recently closed tabs can be accessed from the History menu (the session managers I’ve been using always put them in the Tools menu).
  • There’s now an inbuilt arrow that brings up a drop-down list of tabs; previously I believe this there because of the Last Tab extension, which is incompatible with 2.0.
  • Search engine plugins have a new manager that lets you add and even delete them without recourse to the SearchEnginePluginHack extension.
  • Extensions are now called Add-ons in the Tools menu. An updates tab appears in the new Add-ons window if there are updates available.
  • Adblock, Filterset.G, IETab, NoScript and ReloadEvery all work fine with 2.0. As well as the above, Reload does not work. The install added the Talkback extension to report crashes to Mozilla.
  • Annoyingly, Alt+T, which I use to insert a “More” tag into a wordpres post, now opens the Tools menu.
  • I still can’t see any way to duplicate tabs (I never could do this with Last Tab because I don’t have a middle click function and my laptop refuses to define anything to act as one).
  • Extra: to put the close tab X back where it used to be, and get rid of those annoying scrolling tabs, refer to this post.

Overall impressions
I’ve yet to uncover or have need of a portion of the new and shiny features promised by Mozilla (such as the inline spellchecker) so thus far, Firefox has been much the same as it was before. The only real difference for me is that functions previously handled by various extensions are now part of the main program, which I suppose is less cluttered and more ‘elegant’. Nonetheless, it’s only been one evening, so I’m sure more improvements (or otherwise) will reveal themselves.

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