View Full Version : Firefox 2.0: The Honda Civic of Web Browsers


Foghat
10-27-06, 03:57 AM
Firefox has done it again.:D
I haven't tried it yet but I'm downloading it now.

http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17667&ch=biztech

Firefox 2.0: The Honda Civic of Web Browsers

Updated and improved, Firefox remains excellent but breaks little new ground.

By John Borland


Tapping once again into the collective talents of the open-source community, the new Firefox 2.0 (http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/) Web browser is unambiguously a success.

Released late Tuesday, the Mozilla Foundation's (http://www.mozilla.org/) latest Net-surfing tool is almost everything Web denizens have come to expect from the popular Internet Explorer (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/) alternative. Firefox 2.0 offers a handful of obvious improvements in searching and security and a couple of new features, and it largely keeps doing well what it has done well before.

This said, it breaks little genuinely new ground.

That's not a criticism, particularly given that the Web has long since become as mainstream as microwave ovens. Indeed, developers say their goal for the new browser was decidedly evolutionary, despite high hopes for a few advanced features that didn't make the final cut.

"We wanted to continue the evolution that started with Firefox 1.0," says Mike Beltzner, the Mozilla Foundation's "phenomenologist." "We wanted to make sure users still have full control over the browser and the full ability to customize it, and make sure they can actually understand those options."

This continued focus on simplicity and extensibility makes Firefox 2.0 an extremely solid product, with a few flashes of brilliance. It's suitable for anyone from novice Web surfers to hard-core coders. But this time around, its pathway into the market isn't quite as clear.

When the browser's 1.0 version was released almost exactly two years ago, it had the new-browser market almost to itself. Microsoft's last major IE update was three years old--an eternity in Internet time. Meanwhile, smaller rivals such as Opera Software (http://www.opera.com/) had released technologically more-advanced products but had failed to gain significant traction, while IE itself had been dogged by persistent security flaws.

All of this contributed to the explosive interest in Firefox. Within a year, some analysts estimated that Mozilla's browser had captured a 10 percent market share, with far higher estimates in some tech-savvy subgroups.

This time the competition is stiffer. Just last week, Microsoft released its own long-awaited IE 7.0, adopting the tabbed-browsing and built-in search features that have been Firefox's trademark. It lacks some of Firefox 2.0's advanced features but adds a few new bells and whistles of its own, such as a handy thumbnail view of all open tabs.

By contrast, the new version of Firefox looks considerably more like its immediate predecessor. Users will find that the interface has been given a slight face-lift, but the familiar customizable search bar, toolbars, and buttons remain in place.

The tabbed-navigation system as been updated, however. Each tab now has its own "close" button, and a separate drop down lists all open tabs. Tabs accidentally closed can be restored, with content such as e-mail drafts or downloads in progress intact. As before, groups of several tabs, holding separate Web pages, can be launched simultaneously on start up in place of a single home page.

Two specific improvements are likely to be most popular among the Web 2.0 and power-surfer crowds.

In the thank-god-somebody-thought-of-it category comes an automatic spell-check feature that scans Web fields such as e-mail messages, blog posts, and comment boxes. As in traditional word processors, spelling mistakes are underlined in red, and with a right-click of the mouse, Firefox offers a short list of possible replacements.

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The default spell checker isn't perfect, and it isn't as good as Word or OpenOffice at always finding the correct word. But it's thoroughly better than nothing. Firefox's extensibility also means that dozens of spelling dictionaries for other languages are available, just in case you're corresponding with that German or Slovakian pen pal. A second eyebrow-raising feature is called Live Titles, based on a technology called Microsummaries. A twist on the old static bookmarks that simply give the name of the linked page, Live Titles instead displays automatically updated content from the page itself. Thus, Firefox's bookmark for an auction's page might display an item's latest price, while a stock-page bookmark might show the latest share price.

This graceful blend of remote Web-page content with the browser's own interface is similar to the original Firefox's Live Bookmarks, which feed individual RSS headlines into the browser's drop-down bookmarks. This feature, which allows busy readers to scan scores of headlines without visiting a new page or launching a full-blown RSS reader, has been retained and updated.

As before, Firefox users can automatically turn a Web site's RSS feed into a Live Bookmark with a click of the mouse. But this automatic-subscription feature now offers other options, sending the feeds to a different news-reader application or to an RSS-supporting Web site, such as Yahoo, if a user prefers.

With a nod to the seedier realities of the modern Net, the browser also includes anti-phishing components (here called "forgery protection"), drawing on blacklists maintained by Google to block access to such dangers as fake bank, PayPal, and investment sites.

But the real key to Firefox's use is the sprawling database of extensions, toolbars, and other add-ons, most freely contributed by outside software developers, that help add everything from chat and social-networking features to a calculator and calendar.

Beltzner, only half in jest, compares the browser to a Honda Civic.

"It's sleek, efficient, and gets you there," he says. "But if you want to do more, it's really easy to trick out."

In fact, the new browser brings to mind that often-updated automobile for other reasons as well. Like a new model fresh off the assembly line, this 2.0 browser is a little more comfortable, with the Web-browser equivalent of a better stereo, better shocks, and plusher seats. But underneath, it's fundamentally the same product.

Note: Borland is a longtime Firefox user, but he always keeps a copy of IE on hand in case of emergency.

*~ žEEK ~*
10-27-06, 04:39 AM
I sure like the "New" spell check function in Firefox 2.0 a lot! :)

The spell check function was all I needed to convince me to finally switch from using I.E. 7 to using Firefox regularly!

All you have to do is right click in the field where you are typing, select "Spell check this field" and it underlines in red the words that are misspelled.

Then you simply right click on each word that is underlined in red, and Firefox's spell checker offers suggestions.

Pretty slick! :)

Foghat
10-27-06, 04:44 AM
I sure like the "New" spell check function in Firefox 2.0 a lot! :)

The spell check function was all I needed to convince me to finally switch from using I.E. 7 to using Firefox regularly!

All you have to do is right click in the field where you are typing, select "Spell check this field" and it underlines in red the words that are misspelled.

Then you simply right click on each word that is underlined in red, and Firefox's spell checker offers suggestions.

Pretty slick! :)I haven't tried it yet... as I didn't want to close out what I was doing. I guess I'll have to now.:D

*~ žEEK ~*
10-27-06, 05:00 AM
BTW, you can right click and select "Spell check this field" before you even begin typing (posting) and it will show you the misspelled words on the fly (underlined in red) as you are typing.

Very nice! :)

livinginchaos
10-27-06, 09:21 PM
Must update FireFox . . NOW!

all done . .. Now I get to play! :D

AZ_Eric
10-28-06, 05:24 PM
I Just Download FireFox a couple days ago and love it. IE7 is out but I am not even gonna try it since new Mircosoft product tend to be on the buggy side. Most reviews say Firefox kicks it *** anyhow.

VisualImagery
10-28-06, 05:47 PM
Firefox 2 beats IE 7 any day-Yes, fellow believers, I am a convert. Say Amen!

It is better than the earlier Firefox! Easy to learn and remember how to work. It doesn't limit #of tabs-that is a big reason I switched!

RADD

*~ žEEK ~*
10-29-06, 11:29 AM
I like Firefox much better than I.E. 7.

Microsoft better get there act together.

netsavy006
10-29-06, 02:17 PM
Firefox 2 is the best. In my opinion it beats IE7 and Opera 9 in it's tracks...

*~ žEEK ~*
10-31-06, 12:35 PM
I've been noticing that some webpage's fonts are abnormally small in Firefox 2.0!

When I open the same webpages in Internet Explorer the fonts are the proper size!

Anyone else notice these font errors??

*~ žEEK ~*
11-02-06, 05:13 PM
I also noticed when using Firefox 2.0:

My signature doesn't display correctly here on our forums. Instead of *~SEEK~*, Firefox displays it as l~SEEK~l

Lastly, when viewing my Profile, the words in my profile do not wrap properly causing most of the text to appear off screen (On the right).

When I start up Internet Explorer, all of these errors disappear.

livinginchaos
11-12-06, 12:11 PM
I'm not a happy camper with FF 2.0 anymore :(
I tried to open it up last night and the browser wouldn't open! However, in the processes the FF was using mem usage. I couldn't even get it to open in safe mode. I un-installed and re-installed it and still had the same problem.
I went to mozillazine and a few others are having this issue also.

Luckily, I still had 1.5.0.1 FF set up. I installed it and it's working great! I had the foresight to save my profile so I didn't lose my favorites.

it has been one frustrating night.

HighFunctioning
11-12-06, 12:53 PM
I haven't noticed any unusually small fonts in FF 2.0. I've always noticed smaller fonts using FF in linux, but that's probably because the fonts installed are different and the screen DPI setting for X is probably different as that is usually the last thing I think about when setting up X.

As far as * being an l (lower case L), FireFox seems to be ignoring the Webdings font, substituting another font in place. In the signature itself, the character is 0x6C, which is in fact, an L (lowercase). So firefox must be choosy as to what fonts it renders... hmm...

I've been quite happy with FF 2.0. It seems quite solid, though I've noticed some bugs when playing with the Web Developer extension. But out of the box, it works very well for me.

I currently have the following extensions installed (and enabled) without any problems:

Adblock Filterset.G Updater
Adblock Plus
Aging Tabs
All-in-One Sidebar
CookieSafe
DOM Inspector (comes with FF)
Fasterfox
IE Tab
NoScript
Tab Mix Plus
Talkback (comes with FF)
Traction Control

Web Developer is the only one I keep disabled unless I need it.

HighFunctioning
11-12-06, 01:12 PM
You can force an encoding on a specific symbol font, as outlined here (windows-1252):
http://nothing.golddave.com/?p=53

It makes the l's display as Webdings 4-point stars.

*~ žEEK ~*
11-12-06, 01:49 PM
You can force an encoding on a specific symbol font, as outlined here (windows-1252):
http://nothing.golddave.com/?p=53

It makes the l's display as Webdings 4-point stars.Very Cool! Thx Man! :)

I had to make sure that I had a "Square" in between each line of text, but that fixed the problem!

I owe you one HF! :)

Now if I can just figure out why some fonts display to small, and the text in my profile doesn't wrap properly when using Firefox, I will have it made!

Below is a link to a webpage that displays incorrectly (small fonts) for me when using Firefox!

http://www.xs4all.nl/~jcdverha/scijokes/index.html#8 (http://www.xs4all.nl/%7Ejcdverha/scijokes/index.html#8)

Does that webpage display incorrectly for anyone else?

BTW, I love that website! :)

HighFunctioning
11-12-06, 01:59 PM
Very Cool! Thx Man! :)

I had to make sure that I had a "Square" in between each line of text, but that fixed the problem!

I owe you one HF! :)

Now if I can just figure out why some fonts display to small, and the text in my profile doesn't wrap properly when using Firefox, I will have it made!

Below is a link to a webpage that displays incorrectly (small fonts) for me when using Firefox!

http://www.xs4all.nl/~jcdverha/scijokes/index.html#8 (http://www.xs4all.nl/%7Ejcdverha/scijokes/index.html#8)

Does that webpage display incorrectly for anyone else?

BTW, I love that website! :)

Well, actually, it doesn't display incorrectly. The problem is that there is no font size even specified. Everything on that page is formatted according to a Cascading Style Sheet, and all font sizes are in percentages, which would mean (I would think) percentage of the default font size. By default, the monospace font in firefox is 13pt compared to 16pt for others. In IE, the default monospace font size is the same as the others.

If you change the default monospace font-size in FireFox to 16pt (Tools -> Options -> Content -> Fonts & Colors -> Advanced), it should correct the problem. The only font-size differences I found were in the monospace font at the top, so I'm not sure if I'm seeing exactly as you are.

HighFunctioning
11-12-06, 02:23 PM
Oh, and about your profile, Seek,

I've noticed this on many pages. Firefox handles paragraphs a tad bit different than IE. Since there are no breakpoint characters in one of your profile entries (such as spaces), FF will not wrap that line. It's a typical behavior of many text editors as well. IE has a non-standard behavior of wrapping text differently. I doubt there is a fix for this, other than introducing spaces into your profile entry (the entry is a series of words delimited by commas, but without spaces after the commas).

*~ žEEK ~*
11-12-06, 03:19 PM
If you change the default monospace font-size in FireFox to 16pt (Tools -> Options -> Content -> Fonts & Colors -> Advanced), it should correct the problem. BOOM!!! FIXED my 2nd problem too! LOL :D You were absolutely correct, it was a 13 point monospace default font setting that was making some web pages display all the fonts small. That's a silly default setting that Mozilla ought to correct. Many people would stop using a browser over something as insignificant as that.

Your kicking a** and taking names fixing my Browser problems today HF! :)

I'm eternally grateful to you my friend! Thank you, thank you, thank you! :)

Regarding the text wrap issue. That's a very minor problem that I am more than willing to live with!

I have been very pleased with Firefox 2.0 and I really didn't want to return to I.E. 7, and now thanks to you I won't have to! :)

HighFunctioning
11-12-06, 03:52 PM
Regarding the text wrap issue. That's a very minor problem that I am more than willing to live with!

It's simply the way the browser handles the text. If you add spaces after your commas, it will wrap just fine in firefox. There's not much you can do beyond that.

adhdxyz
11-12-06, 06:57 PM
I have been using Firefox for over a year and just recently upgraded to FF2.0 when I saw your post about it being available. We have not had any virus's since changing from IE to FF. I am a FF fan so far.

The only problem I have had with Firefox (including the new 2.0 version) is that when I send an email to someone using my excite.com email address, if it has an attachment or if it's a forwarded email, the recipient gets all html code. I have tried to send it in plain text and advanced editor text that excite offers and either way, with Firefox, it's garbled. Just to make sure it wasnt the recipients email issue, I also tried sending to myself at a yahoo address and it's all html code also.

Since you have been able to solve several other FF discrepancies, maybe you can help me with my excite email one. The only advise that I've received from other people is to quit using excite email. I like using it because I've had the same email address forever, even after changing internet providers several times.

Any ideas?

Grade A
11-14-06, 10:31 PM
Sounds pretty cool...especially the spell check as I do not spell very well :(

I can't download it because my laptop is too old and slow. Maybe on the desktop, but my man is always on that thing.

livinginchaos
11-15-06, 12:31 AM
I'm giving 2.0 version another shot since I had computer problems that may have contributed to 2.0 not working. So far, so good :)

livinginchaos
06-04-08, 09:52 PM
I am currently driving the beta version of Firefox 3.0 :D

livinginchaos
06-17-08, 08:19 PM
firefox 3.0 is now available to everyone!

http://www.firefox.com

simpleblue
06-19-08, 07:40 PM
firefox 3.0 is now available to everyone!

http://www.firefox.com
I used it when it was a beta version and I'm still using it. I'm hoping they can make a TTS (text to speech) working for the 3.0 version soon. They also have Adblock Plus. Works great for blocking all types of ads. :)