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Firefox 4 Beta


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Hello all,First off, it's important to remember that Firefox 4 is still a beta. I've been using it for a few weeks now and it's been extremely stable, but if you don't want to mess with even slightly experimental builds, then you don't want Firefox 4!I'm using 3.6, why is 4 so much better?It's super fast! Of course, that isn't all. There are some big interface changes--tabs now open on top by default. The stop/refresh buttons are now just one button that dynamically changes. The menu bar is hidden by default, replaced by a "Firefox" menu button that contains the most used actions (the regular menu bar can be made always visible, or can be selectively shown by hitting the Alt key).But who am I kidding, the main feature is speed. This thing is FAST. I had switched to Chrome soon after its release because as much as I love Firefox and the extensions and everything it does, Chrome was just faster. I used Chrome for almost 2 years until this Firefox 4 beta came out--it's even faster than Chrome. I never noticed the speed (or lack of speed?) of each previous browser until the new one came out. I didn't think Firefox was slow until Chrome came around, and I didn't think Chrome was slow until Firefox 4 came around. I'm sure the Chrome folks are working everyday to make their browser faster. It's like a technology arms race. But, uh, a good one :)Firefox also features some cool stuff, like "App tabs". These are in Chrome, but finally with beta2 were added to Firefox. It simply lets you condense your most used tabs to just their icon. This both greatly reduces their size and prevents you from accidentally closing it. But possibly the coolest feature is one that isn't in yet--Tab Candy (Alternately, check out just the video--it highlights the important stuff anyway!). TechCrunch said it's like "Apple's Expose plus Spaces for the web". It's hard for me to just explain it--there's a video at the link there--but basically it's a way to zoom out and see all your tabs, but to also group them, tag them, do all kinda stuff with them. I think it will lead to fundamental changes in how we use the web. It seems like it could be an entirely new way to browse. However, Tab Candy isn't in the beta itself yet, but I think it's eventually coming to Firefox 4. They're still doing a lot of development on it.So, where can I get it?Just as another reminder, this is a beta, and could eat your hard drive or make your computer sprout legs and start running around the room. It probably won't, but use caution! A Firefox "beta" is relatively stable compared to some other development builds they have (nightly builds or alpha builds).Go to this link to grab the beta. (if you need another language, go here) A new beta will probably come out next week (Monday or Tuesday) but you can check for updates by going to Help -> Check for Updates... If a new update is out, it will be downloaded and installed automatically.You can see all the features here, including some of the more technical ones (HTML5 support! Retained layers!)If you just want the latest stable release, http://getfirefox.com always has the latest!

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Thanks for the review. The blog by azarask isn't really eye appealing, or easy to read.....but he does have some good info. I'm really looking forward to Tab Candy. And I'm still against using Chrome - I like my Ff and Opera.

Hello all,First off, it's important to remember that Firefox 4 is still a beta. I've been using it for a few weeks now and it's been extremely stable, but if you don't want to mess with even slightly experimental builds, then you don't want Firefox 4!I'm using 3.6, why is 4 so much better?It's super fast! Of course, that isn't all. There are some big interface changes--tabs now open on top by default. The stop/refresh buttons are now just one button that dynamically changes. The menu bar is hidden by default, replaced by a "Firefox" menu button that contains the most used actions (the regular menu bar can be made always visible, or can be selectively shown by hitting the Alt key).But who am I kidding, the main feature is speed. This thing is FAST. I had switched to Chrome soon after its release because as much as I love Firefox and the extensions and everything it does, Chrome was just faster. I used Chrome for almost 2 years until this Firefox 4 beta came out--it's even faster than Chrome. I never noticed the speed (or lack of speed?) of each previous browser until the new one came out. I didn't think Firefox was slow until Chrome came around, and I didn't think Chrome was slow until Firefox 4 came around. I'm sure the Chrome folks are working everyday to make their browser faster. It's like a technology arms race. But, uh, a good one :)Firefox also features some cool stuff, like "App tabs". These are in Chrome, but finally with beta2 were added to Firefox. It simply lets you condense your most used tabs to just their icon. This both greatly reduces their size and prevents you from accidentally closing it. But possibly the coolest feature is one that isn't in yet--Tab Candy. TechCrunch said it's like "Apple's Expose plus Spaces for the web". It's hard for me to just explain it--there's a video at the link there--but basically it's a way to zoom out and see all your tabs, but to also group them, tag them, do all kinda stuff with them. I think it will lead to fundamental changes in how we use the web. It seems like it could be an entirely new way to browse. However, Tab Candy isn't in the beta itself yet, but I think it's eventually coming to Firefox 4. They're still doing a lot of development on it.So, where can I get it?Just as another reminder, this is a beta, and could eat your hard drive or make your computer sprout legs and start running around the room. It probably won't, but use caution! A Firefox "beta" is relatively stable compared to some other development builds they have (nightly builds or alpha builds).Go to this link to grab the beta. (if you need another language, go here) A new beta will probably come out next week (Monday or Tuesday) but you can check for updates by going to Help -> Check for Updates... If a new update is out, it will be downloaded and installed automatically.You can see all the features here, including some of the more technical ones (HTML5 support! Retained layers!)If you just want the latest stable release, http://getfirefox.com always has the latest!
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Frank Golden
The blog isn't so much the important part as the video is! http://vimeo.com/13560319 is a direct link to it.
I don't know about Firefox 4 being faster than Chrome.Have you actually tested it.Using Sunspider Java benchmark in both Firefox 4 and Chrome I get results that show Chrome to be significantly faster.1.65 times faster to be exact.See screenshot below.th_Untitled-52.jpgSunspider at http://www2.webkit.org/perf/sunspider-0.9/sunspider.htmlFirefox 4 is quicker than Firefox 3.6.8 though.
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I don't know about Firefox 4 being faster than Chrome.Have you actually tested it.Using Sunspider Java benchmark in both Firefox 4 and Chrome I get results that show Chrome to be significantly faster.1.65 times faster to be exact.
I just tested it (with Chromium and a nightly beta build) and got Chromium as 1.27x faster.However, Sunspider only tests JavaScript. JS is an important part of any browser's speed, but not the whole picture.
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Frank Golden
There is a portable version for those of us wanting a look but not wanting to install a beta.http://portableapps.com/apps/internet/firefox_portable/test
Portable Firefox, Portable Thunderbird and Portable Open Office are the only versions of these programs I use.Been using John Haller's stuff for quite some time now.I "install" in folders on my U:\Program Files partition.I only need to create shortcuts to the executables on my desktop.These versions are exactly the same as the installed versions except they are standalone.Advantages: once "installed" and customized the user can create a backup by simply copying the "install" folder to another location.The programs don't create registry entries so uninstall is a simple as deleting the folder.A few quirks worth mention.Upgrading Firefox is as simple as using the help>check for updates feature.A somewhat safer method isto D\L the appropriate file from John's site and install over your old version.All addons and customization will be preserved.With T-Bird, DO NOT use the native upgrade process.It will break T-Bird.Instead D\L the upgrade from John's site and install over the old like the second method for FF above.Haller has a whole slew of Portable apps worth consideration.BTW, multiple instances of FireFox can be ran for comparison purposes.To do this copy the following text to a new notebook file and rename it firefoxportable.ini and place copies of this .ini fileto the folders that contain the .exe file in each version of Firefox.This will allow both the beta and a comparison version to operate side by each.
[FirefoxPortable]FirefoxDirectory=App\firefoxProfileDirectory=Data\profileSettingsDirectory=Data\settingsPluginsDirectory=Data\pluginsFirefoxExecutable=firefox.exeAdditionalParameters=LocalHomepage=DisableSplashScreen=falseAllowMultipleInstances=trueDisableIntelligentStart=falseSkipCompregFix=falseRunLocally=false# The above options are explained in the included readme.txt# This INI file is an example only and is not used unless it is placed as described in the included readme.txt

Edited by Frank Golden
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Beta 3 was released. Go to Help -> Check for Updates... and it should automatically download.It seems a little light on new features, just enabling "touch" features for Windows 7 users (I don't know that this will be a big feature, at least for right now) and some JavaScript changes. There were lots of bugfixes that aren't mentioned in the release notes.:thumbsup:

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Frank Golden
I just tested it (with Chromium and a nightly beta build) and got Chromium as 1.27x faster.However, Sunspider only tests JavaScript. JS is an important part of any browser's speed, but not the whole picture.
Neil, I can only find browser benchmarks that test Java.In the absence of a more sophisticated and comprehensive testing method I personallyview Sunspider to be both relevant and a valid method for comparision.Some results below of the Peacekeeper benchmarks. Another Java test.http://service.futuremark.com/peacekeeper/index.actionOpera 10.61 4908Chrome 5.0.375.126 4388Firefox 4.0b3 2158Firefox 3.6.8 1663IE8 612Larger number is better (faster).In this case Opera is faster.Wow! check out the IE8 scoreChrome and Opera pass the Acid3 rendering test with 100\100Firefox 3.6.8 failed with 94\100Firefox 4.0b3 failed with 97\100IE8 failed this test miserably (couldn't complete)Acid3 measures conformity to web standards.Acid3 testhttp://acid3.acidtests.org/
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I have been using FF4 beta for a couple of weeks now and I like it quite a bit they had a compatibility problem with some extensions but they are catching up fine . I only found one minor problem with FF4 . For some reson on facebook I get an annoying black box flashing on and off and I cant find out what it is.But the main issue is I am an end user and it is stable enough for me and easy to keep up with I give it 2 thumbs upBTW just an afterthought Frank I like your idea about the apps folder I do think I will try it out on my seagate external drive along with my backups

Edited by georgeg4
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  • 2 weeks later...

Today Firefox 4 Beta 4 was released! It features two huge new features: Firefox Panorama (formerly known as Tab Candy) and Firefox Sync.Firefox Panorama:Aza Raskin has a new blog post, with another video: http://www.azarask.in/blog/post/designing-tab-candy/This one isn't as long as the last one and just shows the features in there now.Firefox Sync:Enables you to have all your passwords, history, bookmarks, even open tabs "on the cloud", so you can have the same browsing experience across all your computers. There is even an iPhone app!Learn more: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/sync/Get the Beta:If you're already using an earlier version of the Beta, go to Help -> Check for Updates to automatically download it (you may need to hit the Alt key to get the menu bar to display!)If you're not using it, get it here, as always!edit: and Beta 5 will be "feature complete", so we're getting close to a release!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Firefox 4 Beta 5 is out. Featuring some

and (windows)
. Also letting sites always be accessed with https, helping to prevent man in the middle attacks: extreme geekboy: HTTP Strict Transport Security has landed!
If Firefox knows your host is an HSTS one, it will automatically establish a secure connection to your server without even trying an insecure one. This way, if I am surfing the 'net in my favorite cafe and a hacker is playing MITM with paypal.com (intercepting http requests for paypal.com and then forwarding them on to the real site), either I'll thwart the attacker by getting an encrypted connection to paypal.com immediately, or the attack will be detected by HSTS and the connection won't work at all.
Also a new Firefox button on Windows 7/Vista.Help -> Check for Updates... or download here, as always.Also, I think they moved "feature complete" to beta 6.
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Frank Golden
Firefox 4 Beta 5 is out. Featuring some
and (windows)
. Also letting sites always be accessed with https, helping to prevent man in the middle attacks: extreme geekboy: HTTP Strict Transport Security has landed! Also a new Firefox button on Windows 7/Vista.Help -> Check for Updates... or download here, as always.Also, I think they moved "feature complete" to beta 6.
Updated to beta 5 and my addons manager is broken.No response from the addons manager and a blank window.
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Strange Frank Mine did give me a message that some were not functional in this version but the others are working fine
Maybe that was the Windows version and not the linux version? Could that make a difference I wonder? :hmm:
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Updated to beta 5 and my addons manager is broken.No response from the addons manager and a blank window.
Can you get any other dialog windows to work properly? When I updated none of them would work (like, say, the Options window) and the controls in the top right (min/max/close) were missing. So I had to make a new profile, sadly. But after doing that it's been smooth sailing. If you're unfamiliar with the process, check out Managing profiles and Recovering important data from an old profile for help.
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Frank Golden
Can you get any other dialog windows to work properly? When I updated none of them would work (like, say, the Options window) and the controls in the top right (min/max/close) were missing. So I had to make a new profile, sadly. But after doing that it's been smooth sailing. If you're unfamiliar with the process, check out Managing profiles and Recovering important data from an old profile for help.
Could be I'm using a Portable Version of FF 4.Sometimes using the native tool to update FF from Haller's portable Firefox versions caused problems.This was so with Portable Thunderbird 3 and later 3.1.Using the help>check for updates tool would break Thunderbird.The fix in that case was to download the installer representing the upgrade from Haller's website and run it over the older install.The latest Thunderbird upgrade (to 3.1.3) seem to have fixed that issue.Apparently the problem has migrated to PortableFirefox 4.Haller doesn't as of yet offer PortableFirefox 4.0b5 (he seems to be stuck at the 4.0b3 version) so I can't try that trick.I'm going to try a fresh install of PortableFirefox 4.0b3 and see if it updates properly.My present firefox 4.0b4 is an accumulation of upgrades from PortableFirefox 3.6 so maybe stuff got corrupted along the way.INTERESTING: running the PortableFirefox 4.0b3 installer and then running the help>check for upgrades tool results in a functioning Addon Manager, a very much different looking Addon manager.If I try copying the profile from my FF 4.0b4 install to the new install it breaks Addon manger.Apparently the addon manager in the latest version conflicts with the old one. Edited by Frank Golden
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Here's an interesting read on benchmarks: http://blog.mozilla.com/rob-sayre/2010/09/...rks-closing-in/It has some graphs, but the interesting part is below that, in the section "What are these tests measuring?". In a similar vein, Mozilla has released Kraken. This joins their other test, Dromaeoe: and I'm using a nightly build instead of a release, and it no longer shows links in the status bar, instead displaying them in the address bar (when you hover over a link, that is)

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nice thread. thx for starting, steeler.am very much looking forward to tab candy, or whatever it's now called.that is really cool - and promises to be useful too!

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Beta 6 is out interesting comparison here http://www.khabrein.info/news/MS_Internet_...day_1284642587/
As far as I understand it Beta 6 had one or two fixes and that was it (though they were big enough to warrant their own out-of-cycle release). Beta 7 is now the feature freeze.IE9 looks to have some really cool stuff in it. The performance thing that shows you startup times looks really cool and of course the greatly increased web standards compatibility. It's only a benefit to us as users to see this robust competition :rolleyes:
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Frank Golden
As far as I understand it Beta 6 had one or two fixes and that was it (though they were big enough to warrant their own out-of-cycle release). Beta 7 is now the feature freeze.IE9 looks to have some really cool stuff in it. The performance thing that shows you startup times looks really cool and of course the greatly increased web standards compatibility. It's only a benefit to us as users to see this robust competition :rolleyes:
Firefox 4.0b 6 fixed the issue I had with the Addon Manager.About IE 9, what a buggy P.O.S..After installing it on my Win 7 machine it crashed repeatedly from the first time I ran it.Like every minute or so.It also wouldn't uninstall gracefully when I finally had enough.It left pieces of itself behind when I reverted to IE 8 causing instability.Luckily for me I had prepared a Clonezilla image before experimenting with IE 8.Restoring this image left me with only bad memories of IE 9.As to Firefox 4, I'm using a PortableFirefox version of it.I created a copy of my everyday PortableFirefox 3.6.x folder and upgraded it to FF 4 thereby keeping my original PortableFirefox intact for everyday use.This allowed me to keep the settings of my original Firefox (bookmarks etc.) and any addons that were compatible.By creating a shortcut to the Portable FF 4 executable I can experiment with FireFox 4 with no risk.As each newer version of Firefox 4 became available I would first copy the folder containing the older PortableFirefox 4 versionto a backup folder and then upgrade the original.This scheme allows me to have all beta versions available for comparison or if the latest upgrade proves to be a dud (like Firefox 4.0b 5 did for me). I'm looking forward to the final in November?.
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I'm running b5 now with no problems on Slackware-current. I am right now compiling b6 for my system. That's gonna take a bit of time. Maybe 30 minutes or so. I'm looking forward to seeing how b6 performs. I like b5, especially the look and feel. There may be faster browsers, but none better for my uses than FF.

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The compile is finished, and I have to say that this one is looking good. Everything is (or seems) clearer and sharper. It is also faster. I can't wait until final. Now to surf around a bit.

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  • 1 month later...

It's been about two months since the last release, but Beta 7 is now out! The biggest feature is Jägermonkey, a new JavaScript engine.

You can try the new JavaScript engine now in Firefox 4 beta 7. If you try them, you should see: Big improvements in benchmark scores. Those aren’t the main goal–but they are a really convenient target for us to aim at. Things just feel faster, especially big JavaScript-heavy things like Gmail and Facebook. That’s subjective, so as an engineer I feel a bit funny touting it, but that’s what early users are saying, anyway. :-] Cool demos and games work great now. You can play a good game of Super Mario Bros in JavaScript now. Or play some Gameboy. Or try a fluid simulator. Keep in mind that these are only preview builds, and we are not done yet, which means: We should be a little bit faster yet by the time Firefox 4 is released. In particular, we’re still working on making function calls faster, which should speed up pretty much every non-tiny JavaScript program.
Some other changes:
WebGL is enabled by default on Windows and Mac OS X. WebGL support requires an OpenGL-capable graphics card. Support for other graphics cards on Windows (specifically Intel GPUs) and Linux will be coming in a future betaCertain rendering operations are now hardware-accelerated using Direct3D 9 on Windows XP, Direct3D 10 on Windows Vista and 7, and OpenGL on Mac OS XImproved web typography using OpenType with support for ligatures, kerning and font variantsHTML5 Forms API makes web based forms easier to implement and validate
(With a full list of Firefox 4 changes available here)And a few other things I notice right away: the change to the status bar (or removal of it) that I mentioned before, where link text of hovered links is shown in the address bar. There's a new "loading" throbber animation on tabs. And that's all I've noticed so far, though I've only been using it for a couple of minutes. :) I'm sure there are a lot of bugfixes that happened between beta 6 and beta 7, too.As always, get it here or go to Help -> Check for updates to download (though now in Beta 7, you just go to Help -> About Firefox to check!)
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They've moved the "refresh" button to the right side of the address bar too, which is taking me a while to get used to.addressbar.png(shows where hovered link text goes and the new refresh button)

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Guest LilBambi

Thanks for the thread! I still am not touching the Beta. I tried it for about 1 hr and removed it.I love Firefox and it's my main browser on the Mac, Linux and Windows, but if it doesn't get more stable than that at final, I will stick with the old one for a time.

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