FireFox 3 upgrade for Mac

I just finished upgrading to FireFox 3.0 and so far the good outweighs the bad. Some things I noticed immediately are the bookmarks in my toolbar are completely rearranged and outdated.

Several of my bookmark folders were simply replaced by two folders called “Most Visited” and “Places.” It’s almost as if the installation grabbed an old copy of my bookmarks as it upgraded.

That is forcing me to scramble to find some old back-up copies of my bookmarks. And that is a pain. About half my add-ons are working correctly. I consider the following add-ons to be essential for any installation of FireFox: Web Developer toolbar, FireBug, TabMix Plus. TabMix Plus isn’t compatible with FireFox 3.0 yet; nor is Mr. UpTime, TinyURL creator and view source chart. But I can live without those for a while (until the developers update them…hint, hint).

The good news.

The speed is fantastic. The startup and shutdown times for FireFox 3.0 seems at least 3 times faster than FireFox 2.0. Even faster than I expected.

FireFox 3.0 appears to be using less memory (RAM) than FireFox 2.0 used on a regular basis. This frees up more memory for other apps to be open at the same time.

The navigation bar has been slightly redesigned, making the back button (pictured above) larger than the forward button (and also graying out the forward button when it is not needed). This is an excellent example of Fitt’s Law (the time to acquire a target is directly related to the size and distance of the target) in action. Mozilla’s interaction designer probably noted that most people use the back button far more than they use the forward button and adjusted the size to reflect that. Pretty sharp.

Overall, I’d say the upgrade was pretty positive with a few hiccups.

Take my advice and back up your entire machine (on an external source) before upgrading. That way you can simply copy over anything you may be missing (or back out of the upgrade gracefully if something goes awry).

Speaking of Firefox add-ons…what are some of your favorites?

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4 Responses to FireFox 3 upgrade for Mac

  1. Jim Thompson says:

    David — my list gets shorter with FF3. One extension I used to rely on because of my aging eyes was NoSquint, which remembers the text zoom you use for each site, and re-zooms it next time you visit. FF3 now has this built in, although NoSquint does have a few minor additional features that I’m trying out, but NoSquint is no longer on my must-have list.

    My one must-have extension is New Tab Homepage, which lets you configure what page loads when you create a new tab. I absolutely must have my iGoogle home page load in each new tab, because 99% of the time, that’s what I will load anyway. I don’t know why Firefox doesn’t provide an option to specify what loads in a new tab, because they do provide that option for new *windows*. Mozilla used to provide this option but not Firefox. *sigh*

    I also use the Yahoo Delicious Bookmarks and NoScript extensions. I also used to use FlashBlock, but NoScript now has the equivalent functionality. Stopping Flash animations, especially in advertisements, is an absolute must. I find them damned distracting. I also like Google Gears. FF3 is supposed to have equivalent functionality, but Google uses Gears, so it will remain.

  2. Dave says:

    Jim, I’m a big fan of controlling tabs too. TabMix Plus can do some amazing things with tabs. Ever close a tab without meaning to? TabMix Plus can “undo” your goof and bring your accidentally-closed-tab back from the dead. It can also “protect” and “lock” tabs so that won’t happen. I use it all the time and am bummed it’s not updated yet.

    I’d love to see what your iGoogle page looks like. Do you use it for lots of RSS reading, tools, etc? Mine’s pretty simple with some frequently used bookmarks on the left a calendar and weather. I use the tabs across the top to keep track of my various vendor contacts (so I can reach anyone whether I’m on the road or not).

  3. G says:

    I absolutely agree with Firebug and Web Developer…it would be insane to try and develop a site without them.

    My other gotta-haves are:
    IE Tab – There are still too many sites that are IE only.
    Live HTTP Headers – I’ve mostly replaced this one with Firebug and Fiddler, but it’s still useful for me.
    Screen Grab – Because I’m too cheap to pay for a real screen grab app, and I’m on a pc so built-in grabbing is for-crap.
    XPath Checker – When doing any sort of site scraping, this is the tool to use.

  4. Dave says:

    Gary, I almost forgot Screen Grab. You’re right, that IS a great screen capture add-on. I’ve never heard of XPath Checker, but it sounds interesting. I will check it out.

    I wish Mozilla released a “Firefox for Developers” that included all the popular add-ons pre-installed for web workers who depend on them.

    That’d be handy.

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