Tag Archives: firefox

Firefox 4 Beta 10 is out – it’s time to upgrade!

Firefox 4 Screenshot

Firefox 4 Screenshot

I downloaded Firefox 4 Beta 10 yesterday on my Mac.

It was released just days after Beta 9 and I’m not sure what all the differences are between Beta 9 and Beta 10 are but I had been using Firefox 4 Beta 9 since it was released and I really liked it, so I downloaded Beta 10 to stay up-to-date.

Firefox 4 Beta 9 was the first version of Firefox 4 I tried out. Previous to that I had been running on 3.6.13 and I found it quite buggy. It would quite often freeze up completely, requiring me to force-quit it and it is not like I have a huge number of Add-ons installed.

Adding a link in Firefox 4

Adding a link in Firefox 4

Adding a link in Safari 5

Adding a link in Safari 5

Anyway, Firefox four is a huge improvement. It runs extremely quickly, is very stable and from an aesthetic point of view it is a really gorgeous browser (not often you hear me say that!).

Even things as mundane as adding a link in WordPress look fabulous compared to the same dialog in Safari (v 5.0.3).

There are other cool features associated with Firefox 4 as well (like the ability to sync tabs etc. across machines, new Add-on management, tab organisation – I really needed this one! and more) and they are all outlined on the Firefox 4 Beta 10 features page.

Many of them you’ll probably never use but for me, the beauty of this browser and its stability are enough for me – I’m not going back to Firefox 3 again.

Media buttons not displaying in WordPress.com Add New Post screen in Safari

I’m new to WordPress.com (though been a WordPress.org user since 2004) so forgive me if this is old news but the WordPress.com New Post dialog box doesn’t display properly in Safari (version 5.03 on OS X 10.6.6, at least).

If you look at the image below you can see that the Media buttons normally to the right of Upload/Insert are missing – in fact the only button displaying there is the Add Poll button.

WordPress.com Add New Post in Safari

WordPress.com Add New Post in Safari

Viewing the same screen in Firefox (version 3.6.13 on OS X 10.6.6) does display the buttons. Note also that under the Media menu item on the left, the Library and Add New items are correctly aligned in Firefox, but they are not in Safari.

WordPress.com Add New Post in Firefox

WordPress.com Add New Post in Firefox

One thing that the Safari screen does get right however is that it displays the Alt text for the buttons on rollover, whereas Firefox doesn’t.

One other thing I did notice (which is non-obvious, but helped by the appearance of the Alt text) is that while the media buttons don’t appear in Safari, if you rollover the space between the Upload/Insert and the Poll button, the functionality of the buttons is there, it is simply that they don’t display!!! How bizarre.

As I said at the outset, I’m new to WordPress.com, so if this is a well worn topic, forgive me – it is just new to me.

Firefox 3.0b4 review

Firefox 3.0b4 was released overnight and it is a significant improvement over the already superb 3.0b3!

The browser space is really improving of late, what with the release of the surprisingly good Internet Explorer 8 beta, the nightly Webkit releases, and now Firefox 3.0b4.

I ran Firefox 3.0b4 through the Sunspider browser speed test and it completed the test in an amazing 4,683.6ms on my OS X MacBook Pro! That is spectacular performance compared to the already extremely zippy Webkit which comes in at 5,744.8ms and Firefox 3.0b3 which comes in at 9,822.4ms. Flock 1.09 lags waaaaaay behind at a laggardly 16,945.0ms

On trying the Acid3 test (Firefox 3.x passes Acid2) it scores a creditable 65/100, up from 61/100 for b3 but still seriously lagging behind Webkit’s 87/100.

The full release notes comprehensively detail the many updates in this beta version of Firefox and are well worth a scan. Noteworthy improvements include:

  • Improvements to the user interface: better search support in the Download Manager, ability to zoom entire page or just the text, continuing look and feel improvements on Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac OS X and Linux.
  • Richer personalization through: location bar that uses an algorithm based on site visit recency and frequency (called “frecency”) to provide better matches against your history and bookmarks for URLs and page titles, as well as an adaptive learning algorithm which tunes itself to your browsing habits.
  • Improved platform features such as: support for HTML5’s window.postMessage and window.messageEvent, JavaScript 1.8 improvements, and offline data storage for web applications.
  • Performance improvements: changes to our JavaScript engine as well as profile guided optimization resulted in significant gains over previous releases in the popular SunSpider test from Apple, web applications like Google Mail and Zoho Office run much faster, and continued improvements to memory usage drastically reduce the amount of memory consumed over long web browsing sessions.

I have been using Firefox 3.0 as one of my main browsers (along with Webkit) since 3.0b1 and despite the warnings

Firefox 3 Beta 4 is a developer preview release of Mozilla’s next generation Firefox browser and is being made available for testing purposes only

I have found it to be rock solid and a much better browsing experience than Firefox 2.x

The only downside to Firefox 3.0bx is the lack of working plugins but once you try it for a couple of days, you will find it difficult to go back to Firefox 2.x – even with all your plugins!

Internet Explorer 8 (Beta) released

Microsoft released Internet Explorer 8 Beta yesterday and, surprisingly, it seems to be quite a good browser! I say surprisingly because Microsoft don’t have a track record in the good browser market ;-)

I wrote a post a few weeks back comparing the speeds of various browsers and Microsoft’s current browser, Internet Explorer 7, was the slowest browser by a long margin.

Opera’s CTO HÃ¥kon Wium Lie was quoted recently making some very valid criticisms of Internet Explorer 7.

However, Microsoft seem to have addressed many of those issues in Internet Explorer 8.

I downloaded and installed it on my Mac last night (in the Parallels partition with XP as the OS).

Internet Explorer 8 Beta on Mac

It seemed to work well enough so I loaded up the Acid2 test and was surprised to find that it rendered correctly! This was a good sign!
IE8 Beta passes Acid2

So then I tried running the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark tests on it and it completed the test in an extremely respectable 9.9 secs. For comparison, Firefox 3.0b3 took 16.9 seconds to complete the same test.

There is still a lot of work to be done on IE8. It crashed several times on me when I was using it and it fails the Acid3 test miserably (17/100 compared to Firefox 3.0b3’s 61/100 and Webkit’s thoroughly respectable 87/100!).

Still, this looks like Microsoft are finally taking a step in the right direction with IE8. I am looking forward to seeing the final release.

UPDATE – I installed Internet Explorer 8 on my Vista laptop this evening (the same one where Webkit runs the test in 9,094.2ms) and IE8 completed the test in 19,906.4ms. This is roughly the same as Firefox 3.0b3 and is a vast improvement on the 66,870.6ms which IE7 took.

Screaming fast browser II

I wrote a post the other day giving speeds of various browsers running the SunSpider JavaScript Benchnark tests.

Since writing the post Firefox has released Firefox 3.0b3 and Robert made me aware in the comments of the previous browser speed post that Opera 9.5 beta was released so I decided to check those two browsers as well.

on Vista the performance times came in at:

Opera 9.5b – 16,293.6ms

Firefox 3.0b3 – 19,345.4ms

WebKit r30123 – 8,920.2ms

While on OS X:

Firefox 3.0b3 – 9,822.4ms

Opera 9.5b – 8,953.6ms

WebKit r30123 – 5,744.8ms

So while the Opera 9.5b browser is the second fastest browser tested and is showing very respectable times, it is still taking nearlt twice as long as the Safari Webkit browser to render pages.

Note, I re-tested the WebKit so that the results of these browsers would be directly comparable. It is also worth noting that Firefox 3.0b3 is significantly faster on Vista than was Firefox 3.0b2 while on OS X Firefox 3.0b3 is only marginally faster than Firefox 3.0b2.

Screaming fast browser?

After reading Seth Weintraub’s post on how the upcoming versions of Safari are blisteringly fast I decided to download the latest nightly (WebKit r30123) and check it out for myself.

To check the different browser versions I used the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark.

The results were pretty amazing – on Vista the performance times came in at:

Internet Explorer 7 -   66,870.6ms

Firefox 2.0.0.12 -       34,121.0ms

Firefox 3.0b2 –           29,293.6ms

Safari 3.04 -               21,930.4ms

WebKit r30123 -          9,094.2ms

While on OS X:

Flock 1.08 -               30,476.8ms

Firefox 3.0b2 –           10,863.4ms

Safari 3.04 -               13,534.0ms

WebKit r30123 -          5,720.0ms

That’s pretty spectacular performance – and seeing as I use Safari quite a bit on my iPod Touch, I may just have to switch default browsers for a while to see how I get on with Safari Webkit!

UPDATE – post updated with results for Firefox 3.0b2 on Vista

Will 2008 be the year of the standards compliant browser?

Microsoft announced yesterday on the Internet Explorer blog that the next version of Internet Explorer (IE8) will correctly render the Acid2 test page. See the excellent Channel 9 video for more.

The Acid2 test is a test of a browser’s ability to properly render CSS and HTML. From the Acid2 Wikipedia page:

The Acid2 test should render correctly on any browser that follows the W3C HTML and CSS 2.0 specifications. Any browser which does not correctly and completely support all of the features which Acid2 uses will not render the page correctly.

Apple’s Safari passed the Acid2 test in October 2005!

Firefox 3 is expected to pass the Acid2 test as well when it is released (beta 2 already does). Internet Explorer 8 is due to ship in the first half of 2008, as is Firefox 3 so it looks as if 2008 will be the year of the standards compliant browser!

Ironically the official Acid2 web page is broken today (!) but it is mirrored on one of the developers sites so you can test your current browser there.