Tag: beta version

WordPress 2.5 RC1 released

I read Matt’s post about the release of a beta version of WordPress 2.5 this morning with great excitement (sad aren’t I?) and immediately downloaded it.

The screenshots Matt put up look great and I can’t wait to try it out.

However, then I had a rare moment of clarity. Waaaait a sec Tom. Let’s not go breaking the site just yet.

Often blog software updates break plugins and occasionally themes. I certainly had difficulties with this site the last time I upgraded.

Let’s not repeat that again in a hurry.

SO if anyone has tried out WordPress 2.5, how is it looking, what are the gotchas and how soon will a painless upgrade be viable?

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!

Firefox 3.0b1 on OS X Leopard quick review

I downloaded and installed the beta version of Firefox 3.0 a few days ago and have been using it since on my OS X Leopard laptop.

I also installed the Proto theme for Mac Firefox which significantly enhances the look of Firefox 3 on the Mac.

firefox 3.0b1 on OS X Leopard

My initial impressions of Firefox 3.0b1 are very positive. It is fast, stable, looks really sweet and many of the memory issues which have dogged Firefox appear to have been fixed.

To expand on the memory comment, in Firefox the memory used to leak so the longer it remained open, the more memory it consumed. I have had Firefox running on this Mac now for several days with up to six windows open some of which have up to twenty five tabs running. Currently this is using 1.38gb of virtual memory. At the same time, Safari which has one window open with two tabs running is consuming 1.41gb of virtual memory!

Another change is the ability to Star and Tag bookmarks. Personally I prefer the way Flock allows you to bookmark directly into Del.icio.us.

One disadvantage of running the Firefox beta is that none of my favourite plugins now work but at least Del.icio.us have a bookmarklet which runs well out of the bookmarks toolbar so I can still bookmark there from Firefox.

The release notes list a raft of improvements under the headings:

  • More Security
  • Easier to Use
  • More Personal
  • Improved Platform for Developers and
  • Improved Performance

Overall, I like it. It seems much improved, more responsive and less of a memory hog. Shades of good things to come!