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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Firefox 3: nice job guys!

A couple of days ago, at the insistence of the lovely Janice (her son Mike Shaver is a chief thingy at Mozilla) I downloaded Firefox 3. I don't normally do stuff like this on release day, but what the heck - if it broke something I have other machines to use. Actually nine of my add-ons stopped working, including the JavaScript debugger (aargh!) but today I see that the update for that was automagically installed, so I wasn't without it for long enough to matter.

In all, things went smoothly and it has a few nice features (although the upgrade went so well that I didn't notice them at first) including a silly Easter egg that I found amusing as a sci-fi fan: type "about:robots" in the address bar...Gort!

I've been using Firefox for a long time (the first on my block to use it). It has really set the standard for browsers, has lot of great features that I just expect to work now. And the addons! Well, you can get anything you want...

Because I do web development I still use a number of other browsers for testing; IE, Safari, Opera on as many platforms as I can find. I do have Netscape Navigator 9, but that's strictly a nostalgia trip now. (Remember Mozaic, folks?)

IE* - well aren't you the tedious one to program for? Talk about working with the undead. Die you b*astard! However we have to test on it...people like my 78-year old mother use it because it was pre-installed. But then again, she thinks Yahoo has a search engine.

Safari (for Windows) - very pretty (all those brightly coloured glassy bead-like buttons and bars), adherent to standards, occasionally slow and buggy (the latest release I downloaded 3.1.1 fixed a bunch of broken stuff, including crashing within 20 seconds of login to Facebook, lol). Frustrating when it takes over and ignores input when one is typing into the browser bar. Hey who's in charge here? Very different look and feel. And very pushy of Apple products and services. No, I don't want to download iTunes, cheeky! The Help looks likes it's using WinHelp or some such, it's ugly and doesn't appear to be integrated in the browser.

Opera - nice crisp feel, very easy to use, some pretty features...the speed dial thing is interesting. I like the thumbnail views of the pages opened in the tabs. It has a nice kiosk mode that we found useful to lock students into their training. They did have a browser for the Nokia hand-held N770, but for some reason (probably Nokia's fault) they had to completely reimplement when they went to the N800. So some stuff that had been working was a bit buggy.

There are some other nice browsers on Linux but in my world we only test on Windows and Mac right now.

* no, I'm not including a link to this d*g, rough!

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