| Wednesday April 16th 2014

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Firefox 3.1 raises the browser bar… again


Competition is a good thing, and the way that Mozilla’s Firefox and Google’s Chrome have re-invigorated browser development will mean good a better web experience all round.

Firefox 3.1Let’s be honest, Internet Explorer never really offered Firefox much of a challenge. Internet Explorer has only really managed to remain relevant through being included with every copy of Windows. Much the same can be said of Safari on the Mac (it’s nice to see that the WebKit rendering engine has a new home in Chrome). When Google released Chrome, Firefox could finally pick on a kid that was the same size.

Yesterday Mozilla announced that Firefox 3.1 Beta 1 was available for download. This brings with it a whole new raft of features and improvements…

  • Web standards improvements in the Gecko layout engine
  • Added support for CSS 2.1 and CSS 3 properties
  • A new tab-switching shortcut that shows previews of the tab you’re switching to
  • Improved control over the Smart Location Bar using special characters to restrict your search
  • Support for new web technologies such as the <video> and <audio> elements, the W3C Geolocation API, JavaScript query selectors, web worker threads, SVG transforms and offline applications.

The new tab-switching feature is really neat (press CTRL+TAB to get a view of all the open tabs), and the special character support for the Awesome Bar makes life a lot easier (for example, you can restrict the search to your history by typing ^, or search only bookmarks using *, or tagged pages with +, if you want to match only text in the URL type @, and for title and tags only use #). Immediately we get usability gains without chrome overload or bloat. Nice.

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