Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Firefox 3.5: The fastest fox has landed

Category: Browsers, Firefox

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It is great to feel the good vibes at Mozilla HQ today as we launch Firefox 3.5! It is always an interesting ride to see a browser develop, and realize how complex and large the work is.

Congrats to the browser developers out there who are working hard to make the Web better. With final versions of Firefox 3.5, Safari 4, and Chrome 2 out in the wild…. things are picking up nicely.

The Firefox 3.5 release is exciting for me because it really benefits the developers. We get Open Video, @font-face, cross site XHR, Geo Location APIs, CSS Media Queries, Native JSON, Offline support, Web Workers, and so much more.

And, the world keeps moving. I have seen some very cool things in the nightly tree, and look forward to beign around as the team works on the next great Firefox.

Updates

Steve Souders has posted on Firefox 3.5 getting 10 out of 11 in his UA Profiler tests.

Watch the downloads come in with this cool download tracker that uses Canvas and SVG, all thanks to Justin Scott. The stats so far show that if the current rate trends hold we will beat the Firefox 3.0 download day, which is a surprise to all.

Sean Martell has created a nice wallpaper and persona to commemorate!

Related Content:

Posted by Dion Almaer at 10:35 am
29 Comments

++++-
4 rating from 83 votes

29 Comments »

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Awesome — wish I could download it. My employer has blocked the download site :(

Comment by charlieok — June 30, 2009

Wish the extensions would work as well.

Comment by gustavs — June 30, 2009

Page rendering is terrible, especially when updating the DOM, that was much better in FF3. It shows even without tests.

The new features and small UI improvements are very nice but with a DOM that’s less snappy it feels like this release went out a bit too fast.

Comment by Jadet — June 30, 2009

Odd…my initial tests felt quicker…not slower. So happy about @font-face!!!

Comment by Jonny — June 30, 2009

Yay! 7 out of 10 addons are not compatible. Reverted back to 3.0. Maybe they should implement backwards compatiblity for addons. so people like me and probably other won’t revert with out them.

Comment by V1 — June 30, 2009

@charlieok That’s… odd, to say the least. :\

There’s many other sites you can download it from, though. However, you might not want to because your employer sounds like a dick, and I don’t want you to risk your job over it. ;)

Comment by mdmadph — June 30, 2009

@V1
Get the damned Nightly Tester Tools addon, and then disable addon version checking. Problem solved. -_-’

(You can’t believe how many times I’ve had to tell that to people in the past few weeks.)

However, I don’t blame you — there should be an option or something when you install it (even if it requires you to click through a warning message) that’ll allow it even if it’s the wrong version.

Comment by mdmadph — June 30, 2009

Three of the updates I use have been updated since this morning. They’re coming fast.

Feels like it’s about caught up to Chrome’s speed.

However, some of Chrome’s nice features aren’t here. For one, Chrome’s status bar at the bottom comes and goes as needed. Firefox’s is always there, taking up valuable vertical pixels (usually mostly empty). Likewise, the Firefox Titlebar is a waste of vertical real estate. Chrome puts its tabs there. I shrunk down to small icons, but Firefox still can’t compete with the screen real estate Chrome gives me in the same window size.

Comment by Nosredna — June 30, 2009

Sorry, I meant three of the addons I use. Why can’t I edit my post?

Comment by Nosredna — June 30, 2009

@Nosredna

I don’t know about you, but my status bar on Firefox is filled with addons. :P

Of course, you don’t have that problem with Chrome, because there’s no addons.

Comment by mdmadph — June 30, 2009

Haha. Filled? I have several, but they only take up about 1/10th the width of my screen.

Comment by Nosredna — June 30, 2009

I was curious to see what was left of the speed improvements on PPC mac, where the tracing feature isn’t enabled (AFAIK). Seems like there’s a decent speed bump on my G4 mini, and it feels a lot more responsive under load.

Comment by Joeri — June 30, 2009

@Nosredna:
I wouldn’t consider title tabs and the lack of a status bar and so on the best idea on Windows platforms. There are application visual design guidelines that should be followed on the native platform per OS. Not following these guidelines can and do lead to usability and/or security issues, not to mention eliminate the feel of it being some foreign entity on the desktop. (Case in point, the old safari design on windows…)

Lets take title tabs first:
- There is no longer an application icon, and its related System menu.
As a result, I can no longer close the application from that side of the screen. Good thing I’m not left handed.
- I no longer know the name of the application without having to look at the task bar (which may or may not be present). Sure, I could deduce it by the layout and color scheme of the application (assuming I’m not color blind and that I didn’t cascade my windows)
- The standard OS size title bar is now nonexistent or very small depending on the display mode, as a result it’s more difficult to move my application without accidentally re-arranging or tearing tabs. (If its Safari you also run the risk of accidentally closing a tab)
-Sizing: open enough tabs and I don’t know what I’m clicking on anymore as they seem to shrink to nonexistence and don’t scroll.

Status Bar:
-My biggest concern here is security, what’s to stop me from spoofing it for malicious purposes? Depending on site design, Chrome’s status bar can be quite difficult to see.
- As mdmadph mentioned, many Firefox users have an overloaded status bar with an assortment of plugins, so its not just some space to just hold messages.

Misc:
- Going on Chrome 3 now…where’s my Print Preview option?

Real-Estate:
Honestly, whats to stop you from pressing F11 in Firefox if you want real-estate? If that is all of a sudden “too much” real-estate, then we’re just splitting hairs.

Comment by TNO — June 30, 2009

@v1 a temporary fix might be to add new boolean extensions.checkCompatibility (false) in about:config

Comment by nataxia — June 30, 2009

they actually did remove from safari the tab on title bar thing, which in my opinion is great since for me sounded like a stupid idea from the start.

and who cares about the extra space the status bar takes? I mean, it’s not like i’m using a 15” screen with 640×480 resolution

actually firefox it’s pretty much a working tool for me, if i were a normal user i’d think about sacrifice firebug and the huge add-ons library for some extra speed, o wait no, then i’d miss twitterfox, yeah if i were a normal user i’d stick to firefox. :)

Comment by daitro — June 30, 2009

@TNO, well, my impression when I went from Chrome to Firefox was “I feel cramped.” So I quickly went back. I still go to Firefox for debugging, but for browsing, Chrome now feels most comfortable to me. I got used to Chrome because it was the fastest, and now I’m accustomed to it.

Comment by Nosredna — June 30, 2009

@Nosredna: Well, the way I grab some extra screen real-estate is by moving all of the navigation buttons, the location bar, the search bar, and a subset of the web developer tools (if I’m using them) to the menubar — that way, I can hide all the other toolbars.

Comment by barryvan — June 30, 2009

There are certainly some features I like about FF and a lot of great plug ins but at work I’m stuck on windows looking at Japanese text all day so I won’t use anything but Safari. It’s just the only thing on this idiotic operating system that will render legible Kanji. Any chance that a future version of FF will use proper Mac-like font rendering?

Comment by okonomiyaki3000 — June 30, 2009

@Nosredna: re the status bar, i.e., show only when needed:
autoHideStatusbar
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1530

Comment by andysky — July 1, 2009

When will FF 3.0 force update to FF 3.5 – anybody knows ?

Comment by medikoo — July 1, 2009

I’m very disappointed with this release. Like Jadet said, DOM manipulation is horrendously slow. It’s really a huge step backward… and I can’t really understand how this could happen. I’ve just read it’s faster in the benchmarks, but I see something completely different in a “real-life” conditions. For example, a really simple case (in Mootools):

object.setStyle(‘display’,'block’).inject($(‘header’));

In FF3 the object was showing up in the header in a no time, in FF3.5 I can see it flicking and then, after a couple of miliseconds, moving to header.

Other things are great, but without efficient DOM engine they don’t matter much, maybe except the introduction of @font-face to Gecko family. Since the feature is now present in all major browsers web typography will, hopefully, flourish. But again: DOM! What the hell happened here? It’s slower than IE in some cases.

Comment by BartekG — July 1, 2009

@Nosredna – There are Fx add-ons available, that make the Fx UI look like Chrome:
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/8782
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/8790

@TNO – normally I would agree that following OS UI convention is a good idea. But, for me, Chrome is an exception to that rule. The Chrome UI improves my workflow, and I consider it to be a huge step forward in browser UI design.

Comment by WillPeavy — July 1, 2009

Thanks for the addons. Is there one that will give me a Chrome- or Safari-like snapshots of the sites I visit most as my home page?

Comment by Nosredna — July 1, 2009

I’m using MooTools myself and I’ve yet to see any slowdowns in Firefox 3.5 compared to 3, on contrary, everything seems faster. Then again, I’m using native appendChilde instead of inject where I can, might have something to do with that…

Comment by nea — July 1, 2009

@Nosredna:
Perhaps this?
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/8879

Comment by TNO — July 1, 2009

I have installed 3.5 today. Mouse right click is not working on links.

Comment by study123 — July 1, 2009

If you find add-ons that are incompatible, please let me know and I’ll contact the authors accordingly. You can reach me at rey at mozilla dot com.

Comment by ReyBango — July 2, 2009

Firefox 3.5 is significantly faster than 3.0 for me. I’ve been using the nightlies since beta3. Good job, Mozilla!

But, for my next webapp, I’d like to use contentEditable, and Firefox still has some annoying bugs with it, at least according to this article:
http://accessgarage.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/how-to-hack-your-app-to-make-contenteditable-work/

When will the Firefox team focus on contentEditable? Google considers this one of the most import technologies being standardized in HTML5 — I hope Mozilla agrees.

Comment by andysky — July 3, 2009

I must say, I like Firefox 3.5. It’s faster. Sure, not all of the add-ons load. But Billeo, Cooliris, FoxTab, Personas for Firefox are supported on Firefox 3.5. Abduction isn’t loading so I switched over to screengrab. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/12715

Comment by danathompson — July 9, 2009

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