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Firefox 3.5 Released

June 30th, 2009 11:05am Leave a comment

Firefox 3.5 is now out and it is absolutely amazing. Download it now! Here are some of my favorite features of 3.5 (in order of their importance) Warning, long ass post. But it’s good

  • SPEED – Tracemonkey is the name of the brand new JavaScript engine that compiles javascript and runs it as machine code so it is much faster. It renders JavaScript quicker than I can shotgun beers at a townhouse party. Why is this important? Most websites make heavy use of scripts (Facebook, Gmail, Digg, etc). Even if you have a blazing fast internet connection, using IE on Facebook or Gmail is like trying to win the Indy 500 with a Ford F-350. Why bottleneck your scripts in IE when you can use a browser that renders them quickly and makes the page content snap up quicker. That’s right.
  • Private Browsing – Okay, so Firefox was a little behind on this, but not anymore. IE8 has this thing called InPrivate and Google Chrome has Incognito mode. In simpler terms, this is @SonicBlur23‘s porn mode. If you start your browser in this mode, it will not remember anything you did. All logons, cookies, history and temporary files will be destroyed. This is useful for public computers, or if you are the type to go on a friend’s computer to check Facebook, forget to log out and worry that your friend will change your profile to be interested in men.
  • Embedded Video – Firefox 3.5 has native support for embedded video, namely the open source Ogg Theora format and Ogg Vorbis audio. That is right, you can play video right in the browser without flash or any other plugins. You can also use CSS and SVG to interact with the video and style it. This is an amazing demo that shows how powerful embedded video can be with CSS effects and scripts. (This only works in Firefox 3.5 – Google Chrome will play the video but not style the CSS right, and IE *GASP* won’t even display the page) Even more amazing, this is my favorite demo ever. It shows dynamic content being injected into a video. See the game of pong? Those graphics are SVG animations and are generated on the fly. And you can inject that, a video or an image into a video. Wow (except my computer is too much of a piece of crap to run it smoothly)
  • HTML5 support and CSS3 Enhancements – This means nothing to you common people who visit simple websites, but the web is evolving, and Firefox 3.5 is ready for it. CSS stands for cascading style sheet, and it’s controls how the pages display. All browsers interpret CSS differently. IE renders CSS just about as well as Hellen Keller could read books. W3 is an organization that creates web standards in hopes that all browsers interpret CSS the same way and display pages the same way. Microsoft is like F that shit and does their own thing, so web designers always have a fit making pages look good in IE, when they already looks good in Firefox/Chrome/Safari/Opera etc. Anyway, CSS3 adds some new effects, such as font support. Say I want joeshoes.com to show up using the font “Disturbia.” If the font is not installed, all other browsers will just use a system font. With Firefox 3.5, CSS3 and @font-face property, it is possible for the font to be downloaded and rendered on the page, even if it is not installed. Neat! There are also other cool things like animated texture maps using SVG graphics and aPNG images text shadowing, word wrap and nth css selectors (for alternating backgrounds).
  • Smart Session Restore – So you’re browsing the web and your computer crashes. Or a webpage makes Firefox not do so well and there is an unclean shutdown. Rather than losing your pages, Firefox gives you the option to restore some or all of the tabs or windows.
  • hacks.mozilla.org – This is an excellent website that provides real life demonstrations of all the cool shit Firefox 3.5 can do. Is it useful to the common web browser? No. However, there are some cool ass demos here which you should check out. Only Firefox 3.5 can handle many of these demos. I linked some above in the CSS3 bullet, but check out more.
  • Geolocation – The browser (with your permission of course) can determine your location using Wi-Fi, cell towers and ISP data. Check this demo.
  • Color Correction – Web colors render rather generically. When photographers take pictures, the images may contain color profiles so the colors display properly a certain way. This isn’t the case on the web, where profiles are ignored. Not anymore. Now Firefox 3.5 can render these profiles and you will see images the way the pros see them. See here for more, they’ll explain it better than me.
  • Tab Tearing – You can rip tabs off the tabbar and make them their own window. You can also combine tabs or rearrange them within different windows.
  • Undo Close Window – They have undo recently closed tab, but did you ever close a window and lose lots of tabs? Now you can restore that window. Speaking of restoring…
  • See a nice list of everything – Things I may have missed or are too geeky for the common man to understand

Or if you’re too lazy to read, watch this video (Try not to worry aboot the dude’s Canadian accent, he knows his shit, and is project lead for Firefox over at Mozilla.)

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