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Firefox 3 Beta 4
Archon Digital
Just this morning I installed the latest beta from Mozilla Firefox. This is the first time I am installing the beta to give it a road test. Since I first started using it, I immediately noticed how faster the beta is as compared to the current version and it appears to not consume too much memory.
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Browsers
Firefox
Internet

Just this morning I installed the latest beta from Mozilla Firefox. This is the first time I am installing the beta to give it a road test. Since I first started using it, I immediately noticed how faster the beta is as compared to the current version and it appears to not consume too much memory.

Here is a brief review some of the good points that Firefox 3 has to offer.

UPDATE 2008/06/18: Firefox 3 has been officially launched.

The following were observations made while using Firefox 3 for the first time. I refrained from writing about all the other technicalities as I saw that these were enough to convince me to switch from Firefox 2.

User Interface

It now gives you the ability to zoom the entire page or just the text, along with the much important quick reset shortcut (Ctrl+0). You wouldn’t believe how important this is to me when reading very tiny text used by some bloggers.

Smart Bookmarks.

A location bar and auto-bookmarker that is algorithm based, which provides better matches against your history and bookmarks for URLs and page titles. This makes surfing much more convenient for me.

Plenty of Performance Improvements

From what I read in the release notes, changes to the JavaScript engine and a profile guided optimization resulted in a dramatic improvement over the previous releases particularly when using web applications such as Google Mail, Google Apps and Zoho. I fired up my Google Apps and opened a few other sites and got convinced that indeed the new features are for real.

Improvements on memory usage was a big plus to me. I observed that Firefox 3 seems to actively cut usage of RAM whenever I it is idle. I kept task manager open for a while where I was able to observe how Firefox 3 drastically reduces the amount of memory being consumed when browsing.

Here is a full screenshot of how much memory it consumes while dropping on Entrecard.

Firefox 3 Beta 4
On this screenshot, I have three windows open, one for regular surfing and admin tasks (8 tabs), for dropping on Entrecard (9 tabs), iTunes (playing Richard Cheese) and my trusty ole’ Photoshop with it’s own set of open tasks. Before this same set of apps amounted to almost 380MB of RAM on Firefox 2. Version 3 uses only 123MB of RAM. Take note that I am not on a fast system (like in the office) as this is just the regular PC I let everyone else use at home.

Add-ons

Unfortunately, not everyone on my list of add-ons like Alexa’s Sparky, Google Toolbar and Linky were compatible with the latest beta. I felt a sign of relief as I was able to retain Web Developer toolbar, Fireshot and Stylish which are essential tools in my daily tasks.

Summary

The entire experience led me to realize that I was wasting too much of my resources on Firefox 2. Safari may seem faster than Firefox 2, but I don’t really think that Apple’s engineers were able to make it a very secure browser for Windows users.

I am not much of a GUI person when working on Windows and I keep every piece of eyecandy disabled and work with as minimum resources as possible. Anyway, there’s always the Mac Pro at work to give me all the Eyecandy I crave for.

This Firefox user (not much love for IE) can’t wait until the stable version is released.

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