Firefox has been facing a lot of competition from Google Chrome which has been slowly eroding Firefox’s market share.
Mozilla is answering back with the release of Firefox 4 showing their fans that they are still in the leading edge in adopting open standards and technologies in their flagship browser.
Firefox 4 Beta 1 New Features
- Tabs are now on top by default on Windows only – OSX and Linux will be changing when the theme has been modified to support the change.
- On Windows Vista and Windows 7 the menu bar has been replaced with the Firefox button.
- You can search for and switch to already open tabs in the Smart Location Bar
- New Addons Manager and extension management API (UI will be changed before final release)
- Significant API improvements are available for JS-ctypes, a foreign function interface for extensions.
- The stop and reload buttons have been merged into a single button on Windows, Mac and Linux.
- The Bookmarks Toolbar has been replaced with a Bookmarks Button by default (you can switch it back if you’d like).
- Crash protection for Windows, Linux, and Mac when there is a crash in the Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime or Microsoft Silverlight plugins.
- CSS Transitions are partially supported.
- Full WebGL support is included but disabled by default at this time.
- Core Animation rendering model for plugins on Mac OS X. Plugins which also support this rendering model can now draw faster and more efficiently.
- Native support for the HD HTML5 WebM video format.
- An experimental Direct2D rendering backend is available on Windows, turned off by default.
- Web developers can use Websockets for a low complexity, low latency, bidirectional communications API.
- Web developers can update the URL field without reloading the page using HTML History APIs.
- More responsive page rendering using lazy frame construction.
- Link history lookup is done asynchronously to provide better responsiveness during pageload.
- CSS :visited selectors have been changed to block websites from being able to check a user’s browsing history.
- New HTML5 parser.
- Support for more HTML5 form controls.
Remember, Firefox 4 is still in beta which means it will contain a fair number of bugs. If you rely on Firefox for your day to day work, make sure you still keep your old install and you can switch back to it.
Firefox 4 Tips
As always, tips regarding the new Firefox 4 browser have started to flow and I will update this section as I come across good tips.
- How to remove the Feedback button from Firefox 4?
- Change Firefox 4’s Toolbar Button Color or Make it Transparent
I am running my Firefox 4 on Windows XP so I don’t see some of the visual differences but the new features on paper look impressive. Time will tell if it a step in the right direction.
What are your thoughts on the new version of Firefox?