Firefox 3 Beta 4

Firefox 3 should be released some time in the next couple of months. I’ve been playing with the recent betas on a Windows machine, where they’ve been very well behaved so far. So, I decided to bite the metaphorical bullet and install the latest version on the Mac. First impressions are good. For a start, it works. Most of my preferred extensions are working, though some needed the usual edit treatment, and one made Firefox cry (that was Colorzilla, which presumably does something FF3 doesn’t like). I’m doing without the Web Developer Toolbar for now, as I’ve seen reports that it’s a bit broken.

Firefox 3

Firefox 3

The developers have made a major effort to make Firefox look like it belongs on whatever platform it’s running on – certainly the Mac version now looks nicely grey, and has all those pretty rounded controls that native applications have. I don’t care all that much about that sort of thing, but I think it will help make FF more attractive to Mac users who have never tried anything other than Safari.

The address bar now comes with added magic. Quite apart from the now usual auto-completion of URLs you’ve typed before, it now automagically searches your Bookmarks and history for matching sites. There’s now a nifty little star icon in the address bar – click it once to bookmark the current page, then click it again if you want to move the bookmark into a relevant folder.

I’ll be playing with the beta a lot over the next few weeks, and I’ll report any oddness, or indeed any cool things that I discover. With the usual Dire Warnings about using betas[1], you can download it for Windows, Mac or Linux in your choice of language from this page.

And once I pop over to another computer, I’ll have another browser beta to talk about…

[1] May crash, eat your bookmarks or kick the cat