Firefox 3 – brief report from the field

I’ve been a big fan of Firefox since version 2; As a developer it has been invaluable to have especially with all the add-ons that are available which allow you to do all manner of things.  The one trouble with FF2 2 was that it had a couple of memory leaks which, after a few hours browsing, would consume memory and CPU and you’d have to restart. It would also chug at rendering certain objects that IE would not balk at.

Enter Firefox 3

FF3 promised less memory requirements, enhanced usability and a whole host of other things – but did it deliver?

Yes it does! It’s not earth-shattering by any means compared to FF2, but the memory usage is great even with a whole host of add-ins; It’s never crashed once (FF2 used to at least once a day) and the rendering speed seems (anecdotally) to be far improved over it’s predecessor.

There have been some issues with some of the add-ins not working – most notably (non beta) Firebug, BugMeNot, GridFox and Yapta but there is hope – I downloaded a beta of Firebug which seems to work (v1.05), BugMeNot also had a download that apparently works with FF3. GridFox however does not want to play nice with FF3 so I’ve uninstalled it at this time. Which brings me to my “Paul’s list of FF Extensions” 🙂

Paul’s list of Firefox Extensions

Depending on how you use a browser some of these might be useful; they’re more for developers and designers really, but take your pick:

BugMeNot – fed up with filling out forms to access info? Use this then.

Firebug – edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page

JSView – view the source code of external files and regular files – nice formatting too.

NoScript – The best security you can get in a web browser! Allow JavaScript, Java and other executable content to run only from sites you trust.

WebDeveloper – Adds a menu and a toolbar with various web developer tools. Pretty cool when developing sites

YSlow – YSlow analyzes web pages and tells you why they’re slow based on Yahoo’s rules for high performance web sites.

I also have GoogleGears and GoogleEarth installed but don’t tend to use them at this time… I’m sure I will soon. Other extensions that have just come to my attention are…

The Pencil Project – GUI prototyping and diagramming add-on – great for mock ups… Just found so have yet to take it for a spin

Google Lively – A new Virtual Room add-in from Google – Installing it on my lappie yielded a frozen screen. Might try later on a better network.

There are tons more extensions out there and I’m sure you’ve got your own favourite … and if you have, please add yours to this list by commenting! As regards Firefox 3 – it’s a great browser. I will test it against Opera 9.5 but right now the add-ins available seperate it from the pack for someone like me who uses it for development.

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