I was going to try out both IE7 (Robert Scoble says it just came out) and the Firefox 2.0 release candidate. You know, a little compare and contrast piece. Then I backed out of trying IE7. I’ve talked to two friends recently who tried it and had to uninstall it shortly afterwards, and Danny’s experience scared the bejeezus out of me.
But I tried out Firefox 2.0 (release candidate 2) last week, and here’s what I found.
- FF2.0 will automatically run spell correct for you in the text boxes of web forms. On one hand, it’s a little annoying at first to see red underlines under stuff (I’m a good speller, so all my suggestions were for real words like “webspam”). On the other hand, it’s easy to right-click and add a word to the dictionary, so if you have a single computer then in a few days most of your weird words will be added. On the third-hand, if you have multiple computers, I hate the idea of adding a word to my home computer’s dictionary, my laptop’s dictionary, and my work computer’s dictionary. Let’s hope that Google Browser Sync or some other extension gives you a way to sync dictionaries on different computers. Oh, and by the way: Google Browser Sync seems to work great with FF2.0. I haven’t had any problems keeping bookmarks in sync between 1.5 branch versions and the 2.0 version.
- The first time a new window popped up (e.g. manage bookmarks or manage search engines), Firefox would hang for 3-4 seconds. It never paused after that first time though. Maybe it was just building some XUL as a one-time thing?
- Firefox2.0 is better on memory leaks than the 1.5 branch, at least for the sites I visited. You’re still looking at 100MB or so if you open a bunch of tabs, but I didn’t see memory usage growing and growing.
- I haven’t had any crashes yet. Again, I might be lucky, but I tend to hit some scuzzball sites as a member of Google’s webspam team.
- I think the 2.0 release candidate handles virtual private networks (VPNs) better? When I hop on the Google VPN with 1.5.0.x, I normally need to use SwitchProxy and change a proxy to kick the browser a little bit. In 2.0, things just switched over seamlessly for me.
Here are some nice things that I missed but noticed in the release notes:
- The History menu keeps a list of recently closed tabs, so you can undo a closed tab.
- If the browser crashes, Firefox will restore not only windows and tabs, but even words in a textarea box.
These two features are great, and pull in the best features of the SessionSaver extension.
This version isn’t perfect though. There are two things I’d like to change (one new issue and one longstanding one):
- They put a “close tab” button on each tab. I don’t mind that, but my muscle memory goes to the top-right to close a tab. Instead, it’s now some doohickey to show me a list of what’s in each tab. Dude, I don’t need that–I opened the tabs myself, so I don’t need some table of contents. I hope they’ll provide an about:config flag to give me my “X” back in the top-right corner.
- Firefox does not store favicons for urls that redirect. I *hate* that. I hit some of my bookmarks in the Personal Toolbar Folder 30-40 times a day, but the favicon never shows up beside them? I think it’s for urls that redirect. Come on, if my bookmark has url A and when I click on it I go to url B or C and there’s a favicon on the final destination url, go ahead and store it for url A. Or give me an about:config option for it.
But those are minor nuisances. Overall, version 2.0 of Firefox looks very stable to me.
Update: The answer to my close-tab preference is found in the comments. I love my commenters.