Firefox 3 RC has been released, and bizarre as it sounds, it leaves me wondering how we ever settled for anything less.
Ive been using FF3 since Beta 1, and the improvements were obvious even then. The notorious memory leak seemed to follow me around wherever I went – desktop, laptop, work, etc. Firefox needed to be restarted at least once an hour, or else it’d become unusable. Its possible that it may have been partly down to the amount of flash videos I watch online, but that shouldn’t matter – after all, it didn’t happen when I use IE. But FF3 from beta 1 seemed to fix this problem, and suddenly I could fall asleep with a browser window open and not need to restart the PC in the morning.
And the location bar is a god-send. It sounds a little extreme, but its all but eradicated my use of bookmarks. The key is the new auto-complete feature, which is a step up from the method used by other browsers. Put simply, it searches the entire URL instead of just the beginning. Example – when I want to check my adsense earnings, my conventional method would have been to type “adsense” into the search bar, then click the Adsense link at the top of the results (ok, I could use bookmarks, but there are a lot of other sites that I use more often than adsense so where do I draw the line?). With FF3, all I have to do is type “ads” into the address bar and already its offering me the full URL. So as long as you know all or part of the domain, url or even page title, FF will know what you want. Plus it keeps track of the sites you visit the most to make the results as relevant as possible. Simple, but genius.
And it looks good. IE7 and Opera have that sleek, shiny look whereas FireFox always looked a bit … cheap. But some major effort has been put into the UI and as far as I’m concerned its paid off.
So yeah, back to the title of this post. Its brilliant, and the RC release is that one step closer to ironing out the last few bugs. Its exciting to know that for the first time, I can comfortably recommend a browser to people without thinking twice.