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Firefox 3 – Wait and See

As I mentioned in a post last week, I am less inclined these days to install the latest and greatest of every piece of software I use. To me, a lot of software manufacturers have moved their products into a perpetual beta. While I understand the need to move things to market quicker and be first with new innovations, in general it seems to me software is pushed too fast and users suffer the consequences. I am sort of burned out in this respect, and don’t have time to spend finding the problems. I am in the part of the cycle where I can watch others move out into the waters before I do for most software updates.

Upfront, I can state that Firefox has been my primary browser for the last few years. I rarely use IE7 except for the frequent visits to Microsoft.com. I like it. The only issues I have is the latest build locks up on me as I am surfing (likely a conflict with an add-on), and it is a memory hog. Both issues are allegedly fixed in the newest release.

I downloaded Firefox 3 during the download fest to set the Guinness Book of World Records. I hope they get the record, even if I am not sure how it is really measured.

I have not installed it yet. I was thinking about it, but everything I have read is polarized from its great, to it sucks. Not much in the middle. Performance is terrific, performance stinks. Fast rendering, slower rendering. Interface rocks, to what the heck did they do to the icons. Address bar features are cool, address bar features make it unusable. Some will never look back, some have uninstalled and moved back to 2.0.

Across the board. Blogs, Twitter, emails from friends and customers, and expert analysis. Polarized.

I likely will take some time in the next week to load it in a virtual machine. No sense in hosing up the production box. What are your experiences? Like it? Hate it? Sitting on the fence and watching the game like me?


10 Responses to “Firefox 3 – Wait and See”

  1. June 20th, 2008 at 06:53 | #1

    I have installed it on several machines and it seems to work great in most ways. Add-ins have to be updated. (Roboform & several others!) SnagIt 9 does not work with it. (I was a SnagIt 9 beta tester!) Hedging my bets, I have suggested that the people I support not install it yet.

  2. Alex Feldstein
    June 20th, 2008 at 08:18 | #2

    Sitting on the fence. Waiting for issues to show up and bugs be squashed. Here are two minor and easily solvable issues already:

    * Firefox 3 Missing Back Button
    * Using AdBlock With Firefox 3

  3. Anonymous
    June 20th, 2008 at 08:50 | #3

    90% like it, 9% love it and 1% hate it ;-)

  4. June 20th, 2008 at 09:10 | #4

    I definitely understand the lag time for the add-ons. They will catch up. The same thing happened between 1.x and 2.x. It is the performance issues that baffle me and make me sit on the sidelines.

  5. June 20th, 2008 at 09:12 | #5

    Thanks for the links for the fixes Alex. Nice to know I am in good company on the fence.

  6. June 20th, 2008 at 09:16 | #6

    And 86.32% of all statistics are made up anonymous, but your point is well taken. Once again the vocal minority are probably the ones posting (in this case on both sides of the opinion).

    Like Vista and Visual FoxPro 9 SP2, the only way to really know how it affects my business is to try it myself. It is now #13 on my to-do list.

  7. June 20th, 2008 at 14:48 | #7

    Hi Rick,

    I came across an article online a while back that explained how to create additional Firefox profiles, and setup custom shortcuts which allow you to run multiple versions of Firefox simultaneously without them mucking with each other’s settings. I installed FF3 at about beta 3, and have been working with v.3 ever since. Other than a couple of my favorite extensions not being updated, I can’t think of any problems I had with v.3. I used the Nightly Tester Tools extension to override the compatibility on a couple of my must-have add-ons, and that worked great. I replaced v.2 with v.3 a day or two after it was officially released, and it’s been working fine for me. It feels a little more polished, and I think it’s probably a little faster, so overall I would say it’s an improvement, but on the order of “nice”, rather than “wow”. Bottom line, I would tell people to go ahead and install it if they’re thinking of doing so, but there’s no need to hurry up and do so, and check if any critical add-on that you use has been updated first.

  8. June 30th, 2008 at 21:44 | #8

    Hi Rick,

    I’m a little late to the omcment party here but 2 very large and important differences for me has been that 3 is more stable and they appear to have killed any issues I had with memory leaks. FF 2 would slowly consume a large chunk of available system RAM, particularly when using various Google apps.


  9. August 6th, 2008 at 07:59 | #9


    I picked up your remark about only using IE for visits to Microsoft.Com.

    Did you know there’s a nice add-on for Firefox (2.x and 3.0) called IE Tab, which, in effect, turns the current FF tab into an instance of IE? It keeps all the FF menus and toolbars, including those from any other add-ons you have, but the page is rendered using the IE engine.

    This is really handy for visiting Firefox-hostile sites (such as parts of MSDN, tesco.com, the BBC iPlayer, and others). It’s also good for testing your own pages in both browsers without having to fire up IE.

    Just thought I’d mention it.

    Mike Lewis

  10. August 6th, 2008 at 08:52 | #10

    Hi Mike,

    Yes, I have read about the IE tab. My thinking is anything that is emulating is at best perfect, but is more than likely not 100% accurate. So why not just use the original and get the true user experience when testing. IE is on the machine already. It is not something I have to add-on.

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