Firefox 3 Beta 3 – Its Looking Good…

Update: It might also be helpful if I provide a link to the Firefox 3 beta download page and the release notes….

I’ve been an avid fan of Firefox for many years and will happily admit to running some of the first milestone versions of the original Mozilla browser back when it looked something like this:

Mozilla Milestone 11 ScreenshotThis is a screenshot of the Milestone 11 build – if you like this and want to spend a little time reminiscing, take a look at the excellent ‘A Visual Browser History, from Netscape 4 to Mozilla Firefox‘ by Andrew Turnbull.

So, I’m really excited to see that the latest version of the browser, version 3, is making good headway with the beta 3 release. There is a bunch of enhancements over version 2, including:

  • Better memory management – opening lots of tabs still bloats the memory footprint, but several leaks have been addressed.
  • New themes – there is a bunch of new themes for Windows and Linux, with the Mac OS X theme looking almost identical to Safari.
  • Address bar – there are some really cool enhancements to the address bar (see the screenshot below) and bookmarks have been improved.
  • Plugins / Addins – a new plugin manager has been introduced which allows you to search for new plugins directly from the browser, rather than being redirected to a web-page. Unfortunately, most of the Firefox 2 plugins (addins) are not yet supported (I’m already missing the fantastic Google Browser Sync plugin), however this should just be a matter of time before they are updated.

I’ve been running the build for the last few days and it feels really stable (even though its listed as a developer test build only). One of the new features I find most appealing is the new address bar which provides an excellent layout for address suggestions – something I’ve yet to see in any browser (mind you, I’ve not used Safari or Opera all that much and yes, that is the Mac version – life without a right-click is near impossible ;-) (click for a larger image):

Firefox 3 Beta 3 - Address BarBut, the most important feature of this new version is the welcome page (click for a larger image). How cool is that?!?! Firefox 3 Beta 3 - Welcome Screen

2 thoughts on “Firefox 3 Beta 3 – Its Looking Good…

  1. Thanks for the mention, Nick! I ought to get around to revising those pages someday.

    Admittedly, I’ve been somewhat “out of the loop” lately as far as tracking Firefox development is concerned. One thing that strikes me about the above screenshots are the small, monochromatic toolbar icons: Given the effort that they’ve been putting into themes tailored for specific platforms, I’m a bit curious how representative that OS X interface is of Firefox 3 as a whole…

  2. Andrew,
    I agree – after moving from the ‘loan’ mac back to my Windows based laptop, I’m pleased to report that the chrome is much more appealing (that appears to be the case with Linux too) – the mac version just appears a little lacklustre. many thanks too for taking the time to produce those screenshots – it was fantastic to see just how far this browser has come from the bad old days of the Milestone 11 build.


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