Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Firefox 3 released, Next gen browsers arrive

As you may have noticed, the blog has been a little slow this week. Reason: I'm "camping" at 9,000 feet (about 2.75 km) in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I use the word "camping" loosely because it's cabin camping with (amazingly- and new this year) WiFi access, so it's not really "roughing it." And while I'd be perfectly content to leave the laptop in the bag and enjoy the mountain air, I figured WiFi in the mountains is a sign that I should give you, dear readers, at least a couple of posts to read this week. So...

Did you hear the news? Yesterday the Mozilla Foundation officially released Firefox 3. That brings an end to the 50 beta/RC releases and ushers-in the beginning of the "next generation" browsers (IE8 being the other "next gen" browser waiting in the wings to hit the world late this year, maybe early next). If you haven't been following Firefox 3's development, you may have missed what's new in the junior release. Among the key improvements:

  • Better performance
  • Better performance
  • Better performance
Sure there are some other UI improvements in FF3- a new address bar, a new bookmarking system, and an updated chrome- but they are all insignificant when compared against the performance improvements in this new version. In my own tests, the FF3 betas loaded pages many times faster than FF2, so this version should be a welcome change for developers concerned about page performance.

I've been using FF3 full time for several months now and I find it to be every bit as good as FF2, especially now that the add-on developers are starting to update their tools to work in FF3. The most critical developer add-on- FireBug- was updated several weeks ago to work with FF3. Others, like YSlow, are also starting to support FF3, and I expect a tidal wave of support in the next couple of weeks.

The only serious problem I know of in FF3 is that it is occasionally crashing when certain plug-ins are used on a page, like Silverlight 1.0 and Java Applets. If you're a developer using either of these technologies, you may want to do some regression testing with FF3 right away to make sure your users don't experience trouble with your application. Otherwise, this is a good, if only incremental, update to Firefox that you should adopt right away.

And, of course, Telerik is fully supporting FF3 now that it is out. Any lingering problems with the final release of the browser will be addressed this week in a quickly approaching SP2 for the ASP.NET controls.


Asit said...

The biggest disappointment for me has been the lack of FireBug.