Firefox 1.0 Preview
September 14th, 2004
Firefox PR (Preview Release) is out and it is excellent. The install was very smooth. It’s the first release I can recall where the installation instructions don’t tell you to uninstall your old version first. I installed over my old version (0.9.3) and it worked nearly flawlessly. It even upgraded one of my extensions (and disabled two others that are incompatible: All-in-one Gestures and BugMeNot :| ). The install reset a couple of my advanced preferences (find as you type, autoscroll, and smooth scrolling were all turned off). Other preferences like my home page were retained.
The most dramatic changes are the new features: Find now opens a toolbar at the bottom of the screen instead of a dialog box. It also integrates with the old “find as you type” feature so you can actually see what you are typing. It’s unobtrusive and functional. It’s a welcome enhancement.
Another interesting feature is what they are calling Live Bookmarks. It’s essentially a lightweight RSS feed aggregator. An RSS icon appears in the corner of the status bar when browsing sites with RSS feeds like news sites and blogs. Click the RSS icon and you are able to add a “live” bookmark. The bookmark shows the most recent entries from the site. It’s an interesting feature but Bloglines and other news aggregator apps don’t have anything to worry about yet.
Some other minor refinements that you probably wouldn’t notice unless you’ve been using Firefox for a while: the location bar turns yellow when you are on an SSL encrypted site. It’s a nice visual cue. Also the domain appears on the status bar on an SSL site — for added security (so you can confirm at a glance that you are on the site you think you are on). The bookmark manager now sports a dual-pane look for ease of use. And there are a slew of other enhancements and security fixes.
Overall, the preview release is excellent and I highly recommend it. I am very pleased with the new features. Any problems with extension compatibility should be cleared up in a few days as authors update their extensions.