Tag: browser

Firefox 2 and IE7

It’s still early, but by this fall, Firefox 2.0 should be out. Right now you can download the alpha release, known as Bon Echo. Not to be outdone though, Microsoft has their most anticipated IE 7 beta release available for download. I decided to download and setup both on my WindowsXP laptop which is only an 850MHz machine with 256MB of memory.

Although both IE7 and Bon Echo have new rendering engine changes, primarily the most apparant feature that you will notice is the interface changes. Bon Echo which will become Firefox 2.0, has a much cleaner interface. For example the Tools menu no longer lists Extensions and Themes, but uses the term Add-ons for both. Bringing up the Add-ons option shows a new multi-tab interface for installing and managing Themes and Extensions. IE7 changes are evident right away, in that Microsoft has changed the toolbar and enlarged icons, which is reminiscent of Apple’s iTunes interface.

Although I use Firefox and Safari about 65% of the day, I still use IE6 for at least a third of my daily browsing. Initial impressions were that Bon Echo felt faster and nicer to use than Firefox 1.5. Even if the improvements are not much, the experience was overall better than the current release. For IE7, the results were a bit mixed. I found the interface hard to get use to and initially I kept wanting to re-enable missing icons that I seem to remember using in IE6. After a while, I got used to the IE7 interface and it did not bother me as much. The anti-phishing features of both browsers are a good idea for everyone, so definitely upgrading to these browsers in the future will be a must.

I still think that robust password management should be added to all browsers. Right now Firefox does a good job of storing your information for sites, but what we really need is a universal secure management system. Like most people, I seriously have too many passwords, security phrases, and numbers to remember. Apple’s Keychain is perhaps the best OS level answer to secure password management, but I have to actually open it up and use it for when I want to save something directly. It would be nice if browsers featured a secure information storage system that would allow you to save anything from the browser. Perhaps a popup that would allow you to enter three fields of criteria and let you save to an encrypted database. Lastly it would be great if it was open platform, so any computer could open the file from the browser, as long as you knew the master password. Like I said Keychain, but with a better interface.

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Firefox 1.5 Officially Released

After many months of hard work and a few weeks overdue, Mozilla has released Firefox 1.5 to the world. In the time that we have waited, a lot has changed. Opera went free, Safari had an update with Mac OS X 10.4.3, and even Microsoft promised a more feature laden IE 7 for Windows Vista. All the browser changes or talk of changes makes the 1.5 release of Firefox a little less underwhelming than when we were all testing it way back when as DeerPark Alpha, yet the 1.5 release does move significantly pass the 1.0 version to include such things as Javascript 1.6, an updated Gecko rendering engine, a much needed auto update feature, and overall improvements in speed. Somehow 1.5 feels just right for this browser, like it’s finally starting to feel like an actual competitor to the main stream IE. Definitely on Windows, Firefox is a definite alternative for users who want tabs, but don’t feel comfortable with Opera.

In the update process, many extensions were lost, and it has become clear that Mozilla has tightened up extensions to a point, where third party developers need to be a little more precise about what they want to add, and security has once again become a focus for Firefox development.

More importantly, the long process from 1.0 to 1.5 has not only made Microsoft put together a new IE, but it was made Mozilla developers take notice of how long their actual update cycles were taking, and they too are now pushing for shorter release cycles and security updates. We can only wait and see how long 2.0 or in between updates, like perhaps 1.6 will take.

In the meantime you can download Firefox 1.5 from any of these sites:

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Firefox 1.5 RC1

After an extensive alpha and beta process, Firefox 1.5 is getting closer to release. The first release candidate or RC1 is now available from the Firefox Project site. So now is probably a good time to throw out some compatible add-ons that work with 1.5.

ColorZilla is my favorite color wheel tool for web development and something which I have learned to depend on more than any other online color reference tool.

Google Pagerank Status is a must for webmasters who want to know their pagerank, but who do not want to use the Google Toolbar.

For more extensions, visit The Extension Mirror.

And lastly, my favorite theme is now 1.5 compatible too. Check out SaferFox Xpanded for an interesting Firefox makeover look.

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