nullstream weblog - Firefox 1.5

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Firefox 1.5


December 1, 2005 05:40 PM PST

I downloaded and installed Firefox 1.5. It's pretty much the same for me. I'm mainly just hoping it solves the memory leak issues. I was a bit worried about losing all my tabs or having incompatible extensions. Luckily, it all worked out. The main extension that wasn't supported was SessionSaver, but I found a link for an updated version of it - sessionsaver-02-dev. SessionSaver automatically remembers the tabs you have open in your browser, so you can close it at any time and when you open it again, all your tabs will pop up (although they'll be reloaded, clearing out any form fields you've entered, and also refreshing any news pages you're on). I was really amazed that after installing the updated SessionSaver, it remembered all my tabs from the previous install! Pretty painless upgrade.

The other extension I have that didn't update was FeedView, which is just a pretty RSS formatter that I don't really need anyway because of the Sage reader extension. Plus I heard FeedView was going to be part of Firefox eventually.

The other extensions I have that do continue to work are: Adblock, IEView, Coralize, Tabbrowser Preferences and Sage.

The only two obvious changes to Firefox from the previous 1.x versions are things I don't like. The layout of the Firefox options dialog has all the categories along the top, rather than on the side. I don't know what UI model this comes from, but it looks pretty horrible to me. To top that, there are multiple tabs under each category. Firefox is only one step away from the nasty configuration UI in Outlook 2003. The other change is that the little RSS broadcast icon is no longer in the bottom bar, but rather in the address bar now. I guess that's OK, but I can't figure out how to choose which feed format I want now. It used to be a menu that let you pick between ATOM, RSS 1 and RSS 2 for example if the sites supported it. Now it just tries to create a bookmark directly. Seems like a step back.

There are, of course other updates to the browser but none that I noticed immedately. I suppose the new "ctrl-shift-del" to remove all personal data is a nice touch after browsing on public computers. It's the kind of privacy touch that MS really should feel more responsible for, given their market position.

Basically, I'm just glad the install went smoothly. Besides that - I don't notice much difference, although I'm secretly hoping that this browser has changes under the hood that make it faster and less of a memory pig-dog.

Comments (22)

J, December 1, 2005 10:13 PM:

Those of you on G4 Macs should check out this G4 optimized Firefox build. You may want to check around a little and make sure it's from a reliable source, but from what I've seen, it looks good. Don't know if you lose the optimized goodness once the next automated browser update comes along though.

Paul, December 1, 2005 10:28 PM:

1.5 is noticably faster on my Windows machine than 1.0.7 was. Also, you can now rearrange tabs by dragging them into a new position.

The layout of the options dialog (major options at the top) is the Mac way of doing things. It's more usable than having them down the left side since people are more likely to look at stuff that is front and center (they did usability studies).

1.5 also seems to use less memory than 1.0.7, but I haven't really bothered looking too much.

John, December 2, 2005 01:07 AM:

Adblock didn't work correctly for me after the upgrade. But I found they have a newer version and installed it. So far it's working pretty good, it feel snappier, but that is just an Applesque statement. I also installed flash block so now I pretty much have the kind of functionality I had with Avant, so I may finally be able to drop it from use.

On a side note it is pretty fun to watch how the features evolve between all the current browsers. I am currently using the latest IE internal builds which are quite a bit different than the public Beta 1. I read a blog entry from the firefox guy working on optimizing the tabs for ease of use etc for the next version. He had come up with some clever schemes based on their own usesability studies etc. Funny thing is that the IE beta already behaves that way. He also came to some conclusions in other areas that readers pointed out Opera already had. Nice to see independent paths lead to the same conclusion.

I also installed this extension call tab preview. It basically behaves like the vista task bar. You hover over a tab and a little preview of the page pops up. Pretty cool. New IE has a feature kinda like that also, but sadly it does pop up when you hover. I hope they change it, cause I want it to behave the same ways as the new taskbar will. Maybe they'll feel the pressure to change it now that firefox has it. Competition is a good thing. Now the only question is do I dare install it at work?

J, December 2, 2005 01:16 AM:

I updated all my extensions before updating the app, so that's probably why it was a little smoother.

Speaking of tab dragging, is Vista going to let me rearrange the app order in the taskbar? That has bugged me since Win95. Especially since sometimes in XP, the taskbar will redraw and put everything in the opposite order.

Gavin, December 2, 2005 07:25 AM:

I updated also. My update went really smoothly. I usually keep updated on my extensions though so again that may be why. The extensions that weren't supported were recognized by the installer and an update was automatically found. Nice.

I found a new extension to try out too. It's "IE Tab". This allows a tab to render via IE. You can select specific pages to always render in IE too which is slick. It's a snap to switch over too. The bottom right corner of the browser window that has the Adblock quick link and the FoxyTunes buttons has a Firefox logo on it (similar to the shortcut icon). Click that guy and it switches to an IE logo and the page renders in IE. Click it again and you're back.

It's so easy, when I hit a page that just doesn't look right in Firefox or for those pages where Microsoft has the if !IE coding in it (read: hotmail) just a quick click allows it to display correctly and it's still in my tab.

I recomend the IE Tab extension.

Gavin, December 2, 2005 09:27 AM:

I'm thinking the memory leak might still be there. I've had Firefox up and running since I updated a day or two ago and it's up to 175MB memory usage.

Have they acknowledged the issue? IS there anything recognized as the cause like too many tabs opened or something like that?

J, December 4, 2005 04:10 PM:

I agree with Gavin, the memory leaks still seem to be there, also hitting 175MB for me after a couple days. I've worked around the issue by using session saver so it's easy to stop and restart the browser, and buying more ram.

Paul, December 18, 2005 11:55 PM:

They really are talking about you.

This is a fun little extension that lets you see what the bloggers are talkin' 'bout the page you're currenly looking at.

J, December 19, 2005 11:23 AM:

It's OK. But for nullstream it's just a bunch of blog spam pages that are repurposing our content and showing ads. Not really worth it. Kind of reminds me of that extension that lets people leave virtual comments on any page.

J, December 19, 2005 12:13 PM:

The other problem with this, is every single page I hit is getting sent to google for the comments lookup. It's kind of like adware, except that you get "helpful comments from people". Uninstalling now...

Paul, December 19, 2005 12:53 PM:

Um, how did you think it worked? Magic? Guessing? I mean, the entire point is to show comments about the current page, and the only way to do that is, like, a blogsearch query. Besides, you can turn it off by default ("Stop comment retrieval") and turn it on when you get to a page where you want to see comments.

J, December 19, 2005 03:26 PM:

I call spyware!

Paul, December 19, 2005 04:55 PM:

That's just plain ridiculous.

John, December 19, 2005 05:12 PM:

Now kids.

Paul, December 19, 2005 06:29 PM:

You're a towel.

John, December 19, 2005 10:14 PM:

I call YOU spyware!

J, November 10, 2006 02:25 PM:

Firefox 2.0 came out a couple weeks ago. I'm running it and it seems OK. It has session saver functionality built in under "Startup". I've read that it introduces some bugs and that memory usage is still massive, but I haven't confirmed these yet.

John, November 11, 2006 11:12 PM:

How does Google Sync work with 2.0? I can't live without that thing anymore.

Paul, November 13, 2006 12:37 PM:

I've been running FF2 since the release candidates, and the browser sync is working perfectly for me.

The memory usage is still quite large, and frankly, I don't think that will ever change. I notice this problem frequently, since I never shutdown my Powerbook: I just put it to sleep so applications run for weeks. FF2 just gets really massive, especially since I use heavy web sites like Gmail and Google Reader. I have to restart FF every week or so once it starts getting slow.

John, November 15, 2006 10:18 AM:

Well so far it is working pretty well for me. The spell check feature is very welcome - especially since MS Live Mail beta (aka hotmail) no longer seems to offer spell check to Firefox users.

Gavin, November 16, 2006 05:34 PM:

Hee Hee MS FireFox!

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