Firefox 3 Beta 1 Review

I’ve installed the new Firefox 3 Beta 1 on my Windows XP system back home. At first sight, nothing is so much noticeable about the new version. Only the bookmark button on the location bar is visibly different. But I’d share to you some features I’ve tried and liked, hoping you’d like them, too.

Firefox have been late to implement the following features that other browsers have already. Late as it may seem, Firefox integrated the best from three different competing browsers.

Resizer toolbar item
This nifty toolbar item lets you resize relative-width toolbar items (i.e., location bar, search bar, and flexible space) just like how Apple Safari lets you.
Full-page zoom
Images and objects now joins text when you resize just like in Opera and Windows Internet Explorer 7.
WaSP Acid2 Browser Test compliance
Now only Internet Explorer is the major browser left that doesn’t pass the test.

I’ve considered Mozilla Firefox the most innovative browser in the market since I’ve discovered it way back pre-1.0 versions. Here are some features as proof they are still leading the race:

Improved password saving
Instead of the usual dialog prompt that asks the user whether one wants to save the password before submitting the login information, Firefox 3 uses the notification bar so that the user could first confirm whether the password is correct (meaning successful login) before saving it.
Multiple text selections
Text could be now be selectively highlighted at the same time. Just hit Ctrl while doing selections using the left mouse button. Multiple copy-pasting and switching between windows isn’t necessary anymore. BTW, you still can’t deselect a portion even when using Ctrl, though.
Improved location bar autocompletion
Usually, autocompletion lets you type the first letters of the address and will try to fill in the rest (with or without the protocol and/or the www subdomain). Now, Firefox 3 tries to find all history entries using the rest of the address along with the title of the page. So, if you could remember just the specific page address, which is usually my case, or title, but not the domain, you could still find what you are looking for.
Resumable downloads
In Firefox 3, you could now resume paused downloads even when you quit Firefox, and it automatically continues downloads if the browser or system crashes.
Improved multiple opening of bookmarks in tabs
Bookmark folders feature an Open in Tabs option that now appends tabs instead of replacing all tabs on the current window, the behavior in previous versions. Take note the the current tab will be replaced by the first bookmark on the folder when using left-click, use middle-click to open everything on new tabs.

So, there you go—my preliminary review of the next-generation Firefox browser. Please note that this does not include the tons of other new features and improvements from the preceding versions, but only those I find most interesting.

If you’re still reluctant to try the beta, you may want to upgrade your current installation of Firefox to the latest stable security/bug-fix, version 2.0.0.10.

Firefox 3 Gran Paradiso Beta

Firefox 3, codename: Gran Paradiso, is the next generation browser from Mozilla based on the updated Gecko 1.9 layout engine. It includes many implementations of current, new and future standards, and is the first Gecko-based browser to be released to pass the Web Standards Project Acid2 browser test.

I’ve been waiting for this version’s release months ago. But since I haven’t much time understanding code, and trying to help determining bugs and fixes to trunk/development builds, I opted to wait for its more stable beta release. The only problem is that my computer is out of reach during weekdays.[1] Tough luck.

Hmm … since I just had my birthday, I really wish for someone to give me an ASUS Eee PC 8G that I could bring anywhere easily. I’d probably use it as a mobile blogging device and testing platform.

I know, I know—I already have the new shoes, new JavaScript and AJAX book, and new model cars, among others—but, I really want to have the subnotebook.

Anyways, I guess the review of the latest Firefox beta would just come later.[2] Just check out the Mozilla Developer News site for more info about the Firefox 3 beta release and how to download it.

Footnotes:

  1. ^ I’m currently using my cousin’s computer to blog this.
  2. ^ Probably this coming weekend or next week.

P.S.:

Thanks to those who greeted me before, during and after my birthday. Here’s some link love (in almost chronological order): Marisse, Mini, Marlon, Tracy, Ate Mayie, Mama, Papa, My Princess, Hershey, Monina, the rest of my classmates, Thea, Bro, Ruiza, Cheng, Peyt, Marj, Shari, Tito Andre and family, Karissa, Dindin, Emilio, Izia, Maple, Auds, Kuya Mike, Ate Lei, Ubuntu Forums, Martha, my uncles, aunts and cousins from QC, Bezy, and Lyka. Tell me if I forgot you, my SIM‘s message memory got wiped out accidentally, and my IM isn’t set to archive messages.

No Windows, No QWERTY

After more than a decade of computing experience, and being stuck with Microsoft Windows along with the QWERTY keyboard layout, my non-conforming self just wanted to be different.

I’ve learned about Linux[1] years ago (ca. late 1990s), but, even though I was interested to see one running, I was hesitant to try because I was neither a programmer, nor a techie back then. So, open-source applications you compile before you execute, command line interfaces, and gzipped tarballs, among others, were still some things I fear to tinker with.

Now that easy-to-use Linux distros, such as Ubuntu, have been available, nothing could stop me anymore. Besides, with a more secure system, a much cooler desktop environment, and a free[2] license, who could ask for more?

The transition to Ubuntu was painless, except for the loss of my favorite text editor, EditPlus, which probably is the only software besides Mozilla Firefox I’d die without. But, I’m trying to learn GNU Emacs anyway. Hopefully, I’d feel more geeky using it. I’ve also tried command line installation of some software,[3] but I must admit Synaptic Package Manager is easier even compared to Windows installers.

On the other hand, I couldn’t remember when I’ve learned about the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard layout since I love reading about a wide range of information almost anytime I am not busy with anything. I didn’t care much about it back then, because I thought I did not have the proper hardware. After reading much about health, world records, language, and technological history, as well as software developers (all those topics are related, btw), I became interested with the DSK.

When I said those topics are related, I meant it. On the subject of health and RSIs, DSK has been said to minimize, if not eliminate, hand discomfort by incorporating a layout designed to lessen hand/wrist movements, which I hopefully experience once I get used to it. World records show that the fastest typing speed of 212 wpm is being held by Barbara Blackburn on a DSK. I’ve measured my peak on a QWERTY at 59 wpm,[4] and I aim to reach higher speeds. Dr. August Dvorak, the inventor, researched letter frequency on the English language to make a more efficient keyboard layout. History proved the (almost) one and a half century old typing layout, QWERTY, difficult to displace, but two famous software developers, Matt Mullenweg and Bram Cohen, whose products I use and love,[5] use DSK.

So, I made mine DSK, as well. And, it’s hunt-and-peck all over again! Oh, I so love challenging myself.

Footnotes:

  1. ^ And, Tux, its cute penguin mascot.
  2. ^ As in freedom.
  3. ^ Just for experience, and the fun of it.
  4. ^ Measured using Typeonline Speed test without mistakes.
  5. ^ WordPress and the BitTorrent protocol, respectively.

P.S.:

I actually tried to remember my own history with computers as I write this blog entry. Though it remains unclear, I still remember using the Norton Commander text user interface to play DOS-based games probably even before I’ve been to Windows 3.1x—and that was a long, long time ago. I typed this entry using DSK within the span of 48 hours. Tedious, but I’m starting to forget QWERTY, which I don’t know whether it is a good or a bad thing. Heh.

Redesign At Long Last

I have announced a redesign more than a month ago, but since WP 2.2 has been delayed, I decided to delay it as well. It’s finished now … well, almost. The upgrading process and the redesign exhausted me. So this post will just be a placeholder. Place your comments here, but I will surely edit this entry later.

I was just worried about some things the upgrade did to my database, it seems that some non-Latin characters was converted to something else. I will investigate on this matter after I wake up later this morning.

*after waking up this afternoon*

After years of having single color accents, I’ve decided to take on dual-color accents to be used on this new design. I just love having complementary orange and blue on almost anything, now they’re on my Web site as well.

Some pages still wouldn’t work, and some are still being rewritten. The new Projects page will be used to organize all my work including Web development and WordPress plugin development pages.

This design has been tested on Firefox 2.0.0.x, Opera 9.x and Internet Explorer 7. I may include some bug fixes for Internet Explorer 6 as I discover it, but don’t count on it.

Credits go to Feed Icons for the standard feed icon, and to FamFamFam for the cute little Silk icons I’ve used throughout the whole site.

Thanks to Arvin for pointing out that my comment form didn’t work. I’ve only used id attributes on the form elements that browsers handling HTML-compatible XHTML wouldn’t process as query string variable names like what they do on name attributes.

Criticisms are welcome. 🙂

Those Little Interconnected Things

Ok. Now I’ve had my six days of fame.[1] Better get back to the regular blogging programming and routine. 😛 But, let me ask you first: How does a Web event, an impending increase in domain name prices, browser incompatibilities, and advertising limitations result to me having to think of making a new WordPress theme for my site?

During the time before the 2nd CSS Naked Day, I decided to make a plugin for WordPress that would strip every piece of stylesheet information from a Web page. It was somehow successful given that I was only receiving 50–100 unique visitors a day prior to the creation of that plugin, which in turn made my statistics plugin jump to receiving 200–300 unique visitors a day. In addition to the plugin, Dustin‘s pun resulted to a lot more SERP referrals. More visitors equal higher rankings; my Alexa rank turned from above 3 Million to just above 700 thousand in 10 days.

Since Text Link Ads consider Alexa as one basis for accepting ad publishers, I thought it would be better for me. And with the impending increase in .com domain name prices, I’m starting to think I really need the money. But, still, I haven’t had ad placements since I’ve reinstalled TLA on my theme,[2] so I think it would be better to go back to [or at least serve it at the same time with] Google AdSense which I have used even before TLA. I was just frustrated that AdSense won’t serve XML-compatible scripts or at least a <noscript> fallback for those who don’t want to or cannot display scripts of document.write nature.

Since it’s equally hard to modify a theme to contain ad spaces than to make one from scratch, I thought it was better to move to a Version 4 for the site. And because WordPress have deprecated some functions since 2.1, and WordPress 2.2 is just around the corner, I think I’m better off making a new one.

I then thought of the need to create a theme served only with Content-Type: text/html, since Windows Internet Explorer 7 also has no intention of accepting true XHTML. But, I’m having doubts of doing so since I’ve been a fan of XML rules[3] imposed on HTML since the time I’ve learned them. I’ve also read articles on how to use AdSense with true XHTML pages.[4] So, I would most probably stick to my current content negotiation scheme.

I’ve actually started making a template with a Web 2.0-ish theme a week ago based on some tutorials I found on the Web. Although, upon showing it to Shari, she told me it was a bit too bright. So, I guess it would have to be redesigned since I don’t want my handful of regular readers straining their eyes, and to be looking at [or rather getting distracted by] the design more than they do at the content of my articles.

So, I guess you just have to wait for the next version of this site. I am finally going to a pool to swim tomorrow, so don’t expect it to be that soon. *excited* 😛

Footnotes:

  1. ^ April 1–6 recorded ~2500 hits from human visitors only—more than half of what each previous month’s worth of page views even without Bad Behavior blocking robots.
  2. ^ Maybe because of the irrelevant keywords? IDK. I just hope not.
  3. ^ Must be well-formed, lowercase, etc. Therefore, cleaner and more readable.
  4. ^ One from Keystone Websites, and another from CSSplay thanks to Sir Regnard.