Firefox 3, Woot!

11:10 am PHT

In lieu of yet another Mozilla Firefox 3 review (there are thousands out there if you want) and instead of encouraging you to download it (I’m sure I would’ve been preaching to the choir here), I’ll just give my first-time impressions of the latest version of the browser that I’ve come to love. (If you’re curious about this article’s title, you should check out my blog posts for Firefox 2 and Firefox 1. Hehehe.)

It’s a good thing that I slept last night instead of waiting for 1 a.m. to download Firefox 3. Apparently, the release got delayed to 11:16 a.m. PDT (San Francisco time) (2:16 a.m. Philippine time) as over-enthusiastic fans piled on Mozilla’s server as the original 10 a.m. PDT release time drew near. After I woke up a several hours ago, I downloaded and installed Firefox 3, thus joining the more than 2.6 million people that have already downloaded Firefox 3 today to help set a new Guinness World Record for the most software downloaded in 24 hours.

The installation was pretty painless—I was done in less than a minute. Upon opening Firefox 3 for the first time, it helpfully let me upgrade two of the three add-ons I have that were incompatible. Unfortunately, the vital Firebug extension (a must for web developers!) currently has no compatible version for Firefox 3. Boo! Good thing that I’m not doing any web developing at the moment and in case I need it, the Web Developer toolbar extension still works!  :D

Browsing around with Firefox 3, visiting various websites and AJAX-y ones like Gmail and Plurk, I found the browser to be quite fast and snappy and so far a vast improvement performance-wise over Firefox 2. On the other hand, my first experience with the much-hyped Awesome Bar (i.e., the location bar) was less than stellar; I’ve gotten used to typing ’g’, pressing down and then the return key to get to Gmail (and doing similar for other sites) that not getting that behavior in Firefox 3 was extremely jarring. I guess I have to “retrain” Firefox 3 from scratch to make the Awesome Bar live up to its name.

The interesting keyhole-shaped Back and Forward buttons (which I believe is a good user interface element) only appears when you customize the main toolbar to the default setting of “Icons.” I set mine in Firefox 2 to “Small icons” and so in Firefox 3 it was not the keyhole shape but was a swivel double button instead. Also, if you select the “Icons with text” option, the Back and Forward buttons become separate. Well, that’s just a random tidbit in case you don’t see the characteristic keyhole-shaped buttons of Firefox 3.

I must say that I’ve gone from early adopter to mainstream consumer with regards to Firefox. I first started using this browser back when it was still called Phoenix 0.3. I could’ve tried the various beta and release candidate versions of Firefox 3 that came up over the last several months but I refrained from doing so because Firefox has become such a vital application for me that I now prefer getting very stable releases. Oh well, that’s how things go.  :-p

That’s it for now for my first impressions. I’ll probably highlight some neat things I see (or rants) about Firefox 3 on my Plurk profile. How about you, how do you find Firefox 3 so far?

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On 1:00 p.m., 18 Jun 2008, Mike wrote:

Firefox 2 has the bar set so high already that I can hardly see what could be changed with a new version without approaching feature bloat or having change for the sake of change.

I downloaded and installed Firefox 3, checked it out and played with the noticeable new features, then switched back to Firefox 2 because my extensions were broken.  :p


On 7:31 p.m., 18 Jun 2008, Jeff wrote:

You’re not the first person I’ve come across who didn’t quite like the Awzum Bar and I’m guessing it has something to do with how you’ve exploited the previous version’s address bar. Fortunately (for you) there’s add-ons that let you revert to the non-awesome version

I’ve become accustomed to it (the awzum bar) already and when I once tried to go back to Firefox 2, I missed it badly. It’s the Fx equivalent of Vista’s Start Menu search


On 8:16 a.m., 19 Jun 2008, jhay wrote:

FF 3 is awesome. Though the new “awesome bar” annoys me a little, but FF3 still rocks!


On 10:21 a.m., 19 Jun 2008, seav wrote:

@Mike, well, only the Firebug extension that’s not compatible so Fx3 is still usable for me. What really sold me is the performance enhancements. Fx2 crashed, hanged, and leaked memory on me too often. So far, I’m liking Fx3 a lot.  :-)

@Jeff, I’ve been giving the Awesome Bar a chance to show its awesomeness. So far, it’s learning good and I am quickly getting the old one-letter-down-enter combo for several site already. And the most-visited Bookmarks folder is a godsend.  :-D

@Jhay, good for you!


On 1:41 p.m., 19 Jun 2008, mae wrote:

I downloaded and installed Fx3 but I had to go back to Fx2 because as you mentioned, the Firebug extension isn’t working  :( I hope they could fix it soon!


On 2:54 p.m., 19 Jun 2008, Ferdz wrote:

I really enjoy using FF 3! I’m sure gagayahin na naman yung new features nya. Especially on the URL bar. I can feel the new speed as well when it’s loading. Great work for them


On 2:06 a.m., 20 Jun 2008, benj wrote:

being the geography geek that I am, I had to check to map.

Hmm…Vietnam had more downloads than us… AND IRAN HAD almost 7x our total! What’s up with that?!


On 9:55 a.m., 20 Jun 2008, seav wrote:

@Mae, well, you could try using the Beta version of Firebug specifically geared for Fx3.  :-D

@Ferdz, the enhanced location bar is actually a simple obvious next step; I’m sure other browsers will implement or improve upon the basic idea. As Jeff said, it’s similar to the Vista Start Menu search.

@Benj, take note that the location seems to use IP geolocation. Of course you’ve noticed that my comments to your blog seem to come from Australia so there are certainly some inaccuracies in the statistics.


On 4:20 a.m., 14 Jul 2008, Jacques Krause wrote:

I’m a complete new user 2 ff. I find it very interesting how u can add all the extras n addons. Just need2get used to it. I find the browser VERY stable and reliable, but for me personally its noticable slower than Safari, which ive been using for a few months before getting ff3. I dont know why this is though, but all the sites i frequent are loading a bit longer!


On 8:34 p.m., 16 Jul 2008, seav wrote:

@Jacques, good luck on your Firefox surfing!  :D

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