First impressions of Firefox 2.0

Posted in reviews at 9:58 pm by danvk

On the off chance that you find out about it from danvk.org, the Mozilla Foundation has released Firefox 2.0, and you should go get it.

I’ll admit, I’m not exactly excited about Firefox 2.0. None of the new features are earth-shattering. The ones I’m most excited about are corrections of idiotic behavior that should have never happened in Firefox 1.5 to begin with.

  • Spellchecking

    Or rather, “spell checking,” as Firefox suggests. Some other words I was surprised not to find in the FF dictionary: ‘toolbar’, ‘firefox’ (!) and ‘frontmost’. It’s a cool feature, but I’ve been using Camino for the past few weeks, so it’s nothing new.

  • RSS

    The “live bookmarks” feature has always been stupid, but now FF is less insistent that you use it. I’ve trained myself to never click the orange feed icon in the location bar. It got mapped to NetNewsWire on my Macbook, and FF 1.5 offered no clear way to unmap it. I use Google Reader now. FF 2.0 is much better. It gave me a list of possible actions to take (including Google Reader) and there’s a place in the Preferences to change my decision later.

  • Tab Bar

    At long last, tabs have their own X’s. There’s also a minimum tab width: if you open up enough, you’ll get scroll arrows on either side of the tab bar. Scrolling through tabs this way seems like it could be pretty obnoxious. If you’ve got a way to do horizontal scrolling with your mouse (or MacBook trackpad), it works much better. Oh, and remember those X’s? They disappear from all but the active tab when you have enough open. It’s good that FF tries to free up space to display more of the title, but if I have that many tabs open, it’s much more likely that I’ll want to close an inactive one!

  • Saving Sessions

    This one’s a major disappointment. I thought Firefox would remember which tabs I had open whenever I quit and restart FF. Apparently not. It only comes into play when there’s an unexpected close, e.g. Firefox crashes. I wish there were an option to always run the session saver when Firefox starts. Also, the “recently closed tabs” menu would be better if it worked across sessions.

  • Another cool feature: it uses Google Suggest to complete your searches. Now I can uninstall Google Toolbar! I’ll use Firefox 2.0 on my laptop until it gets pushed onto the linux machines at work, but unless I find something unexpectedly great, I’ll be heading back to Camino soon.

    Update: Ryan over at Lifehacker points out that there is an option for reopening sessions on startup. It’s Preferences->Main->”When Firefox starts: Show my windows and tabs from last time”.

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