Thursday, December 02, 2004

Moving up to Firefox

I've been using Mozilla for a while now. Probably since version 1.1, IIRC. I've been interested in Firefox since it was announced, but not interested enough to give it a try. Well, coming into a new job, I decided to try it out. Peer pressure, and all that.

I love it.

I had been thinking all along that it really wouldn't be that much of a change from Mozilla, but I was wrong. It's got much nicer fonts, for starters. Much easier on the eyes.

The search bar is really cool; Ctrl-K takes you to a search field that defaults to searching Google, but has several other search engines as well, including Amazon and eBay. And you can add more. There are hundreds (!) of search engine plugins that you can get from I added Wikipedia and SourceForge; you can get CDDB or IMDB, Creative Commons, and a huge number of specialty sites. Nifty.

It's a small download, too. Less than 5MB. It does this by not having many of the standard plugins like Flash and Shockwave, but it makes getting them a snap, if you want to. (I don't. At least not yet.)

Of course, it still has tabbed browsing and popup blocking, but now popups are blocked by default, which is nice. The preferences are leaner as well, and better organized. Much more like OS X than Windows. (Mr. Bill hasn't innovated his way back up to Apple yet, apparently.)

Finding on the page is really neat; Ctrl-F opens an unobtrusive little find bar at the bottom of the page, which stays there until you close it by pressing Esc. Beats the Ctrl-F, type-a-term, Cancel, Ctrl-G dance I used to do.

Anyway, Firefox is a really nice browser, and really worth the trivial amount of time it took to install it. I can really see why all of the early adopters have been switched to this for months, and why IE is losing percentage points so fast. Way, way cool.


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