For a long time I have been on the outside of many geek surfers, shunning firefox and pouring active scorn on it’s many failings.
Failings?! Yes, compared to my favoured browser of many years, Galeon, firefox (through to the last version2 releases) was slow in interface, memory intensive, and deficient in interface features. (session saving for eg was years ahead in galeon)
Unfortunately, galeon ceased active development several years ago, and while it was kept up to date with the latest of the firefox2 era gecko engines, there were otherwise no interface changes, updates, bugfixes, etc.
So with firefox3, I have jumped ship. firefox3 improves the major issues I had with ff2 – most notably memory usage. ff3 still uses more memory for the same 70 open tabs as compared to galeon, but this is more than offset by improved rendering, basic plugins (flashblocker especially, though tabfavicon is another favourite now), and mere ‘continued active development’.
ff3 nevertheless still fails in some aspects. Let me list the ways… all are relatively minor, so if you consider them nitpicking – that is fair. All are features I have appreciated from galeon. (in some cases I haven’t used them, but I appreciate the correctness and forethought of the options being there)
- middle-paste-URL creates new tab: in galeon this combined middle-click-load of ff behaviour, and middle-click-link=open new tab. ie, you would paste the URL and it would open in a NEW tab, not the existing. That was beautiful behaviour, and ff3 is limited by comparison. However, I’ve noticed it less than I expected as I switched from xterm to gnome-terminal at the same time.
- image context menu: I miss ‘open image in new tab‘
- tab-organising: no keyboard shortcut to move tabs? No ability to detach a tab into a new window? No ability to drag a tab between windows? Galeon had all these things back when ff couldn’t even move tabs by ANY method!
- no ‘clone this tab‘ option on tab context menu. This was surprisingly useful.
- no ‘up‘ button.
- returning from a crashed session gives me no option to save the session to bookmarks. It’s either try it again (and presumably trying to reload the page which crashed out last time!), or discard it all. I do like the more advanced saving of sessions (galeon was limited to only a list of windows and the tabs within them), but I am mildly concerned about what happens if a session file is corrupt (galeon was a relatively friendly XML file), or otherwise needs storing for future re-analysis. Expect a rant about this if it ever occurs.
- Smart bookmarks. Galeon knew to load the regular bookmark version of a page if there were no parameters passed to make it smart. Firefox? Not so much.
Firefox3. It works. But in some areas I am now changing my usage to accomodate deficiencies which were solved years ago in other browsers. I’m not really complaining mind you – on balance ff3 wins more than it loses, and it is a net gain. I would not have switched otherwise…
STOP PRESS: thanks to http://www.feelfirefox.net/blog/firefox-3-features-you-probably-dont-know/
…turns out some of my testing was biased by Galeon usage; so whilst these are not obvious within the UI (indicative of poor design?), they are at least possible!
- Cloning tabs – hold control when dragging the tab to clone it to any location
- Moving tabs between window – aim for the tab bar. This can be mixed with holding control to clone a tab to a new window
- Viewing image in new tab – hold control when managing context menu and selecting ‘view image’. Use ‘shift’ to get it in a new window.
this edit: 2008July09 09:52am