Thursday, January 29, 2009

Firefox 3.2

Well, I know that Firefox 3.1 is still a month or two from shipping, but I've already got a wishlist for the next version.

Since last summer, Mozilla has been on a hiring spree and momentum has really picked up. So I've been ambitious and included some big improvements.

Firstly, user interface enhancements:

  • Speed dial for the new tab page.
  • Cleaning up history and bookmarks. There's the history sidebar, the bookmarks sidebar, the history menu, the bookmarks menu, the bookmarks toolbar, and places. And none of it integrates with Delicious or Digg.
  • Get rid of the "file / edit / view ..." menu. Chrome did it, IE7 did it, surely Firefox can do it too.
Second, additional standards support: Finally, improvements to the browser:
  • DOM & regexp speed improvements. Further extending the new-found speed of javascript.
  • Native support for Weave, allowing us to share our history and preferences between computers and trusted websites.
  • Native support for OpenID. What a great way to improve and simplify everyone's online lives.
  • Process separation between tabs. Chrome and IE have reaped the benefits, including speed and security.

I told you it was ambitious!


Unknown said...

Generally I like your ideas however there is one which I do not agree with.

"Get rid of the "file / edit / view ..." menu. Chrome did it, IE7 did it, surely Firefox can do it too. "

I do not like this idea. The reason is that the menu provides me with a way to access many options from the drop down menus and it is standardised across applications. The problem with making it with icons is that then I need to learn what all the icons do. Maybe not a huge deal but if all my other applications do it as well then I get in a mess.

Also I do not see that advantage in doing this. It saves very little space on the screen maybe 20 pixels at max. My screen is 900 pixels high 20 pixels is insignificant compared to the usability loss.

Chris Jay said...

Hi Quantumstate, thanks for the feedback.

I'm not saying Firefox should get rid of the options, just that there's a better way nowadays than menus.

Nowadays many applications miss traditional menus. For example, MS Office has the ribbon instead, most computer games gave them up a while ago, and modern mobile apps are also menuless. I already mentioned Chrome and IE.

Instead of icons, a better replacement for menus is the content window itself. Look at my recent post on about:history. It gets rid of a whole menu bar with a webpage instead. That's what I'm advocating.