Clash of the Titans

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I just updated my Firefox today, as version 4 just popped up.

First impressions are not favourable.

The “Open Link in New Tab” context menu item has been switched with the “Open Link in New Window”, just like Google Chrome and recently released Internet Explorer 9. While this may be seen as a consistency move with all browsers, I was really used to the old menu order. Do they really want to resemble IE9 and Chrome? Where’s the twist?

Textarea auto resize is another poorly implemented feature. Some textarea elements suffer from this bug. See the screenshots below for a clear example. A bit off topic, this is the end of the jQuery textarea resize plugins. I, myself, used some of them for several clients. Hopefully, the next update will fix these issues.

Another big change is the add-on bar and the status bar. The add-on bar – the former status bar – can now be closed, and the status bar appears only when required (again, another resemblance with IE9 and Chrome). You need to pull some stunts to be able to press the close button.

As opposed to Google Chrome, if a link is in the status bar area, this will move to the right. I’m not sure I like it, being used to the status bar to the left for more than 10 years.

They’ve moved the tabs on top, and made it optional to move them to the old position. That’s fine with me.

Another bug(?) I’ve noticed is searching from the address bar does not work anymore. I get the error below. Version 3 redirected me to Google with the selected search words. Another habit I need to change. Or switch to Chrome.

The search engines list now has Google and Bing only. Where’s Yahoo? I didn’t use that feature, but where’s Yahoo? Is this a competition move? The Bing-Yahoo competition is another subject I’m not going to discuss now, but for the third time, where’s Yahoo!?

I don’t have a loading indicator. I’m a developer and I need one. I need to see the page load progress. The loading icon now works similar to Chrome’s, as it turns counter-clockwise when sending and clockwise when receiving. Still not enough. I liked the old status bar progress indicator. Maybe add-ons will provide this missing functionality.

It’s a major release and it needed an interface reset and refresh. Still some of the bugs mentioned above are related more to functionality and usability and not to design.

Firefox 4 launch came a few days after IE9 launch. I can what they aim for. “Let the people enjoy the new IE9 release for a couple of days, then we’ll launch our new version and turn the shades on IE9. We’ll come with download counters, Firefox fanboys, reviews, HTML5 comparisons, WebGL, CSS3, HTML5 features, CSS3 and finally HTML5.”

I like the new IE9 interface. It’s slicker and works faster. I can’t see my old bookmarks, and my bookmark bar is gone. Can’t reactivate it. It’s true I did not search the web in order to find the answer to this question – hopefully not involving registry editing or installing hotfixes.

I see more support for CSS3 (don’t really care for HTML5, yet) in IE9 and I’m glad about it. Now I can ditch some .htc files, jQuery plugins and a handful of conditional comments. Not all though, because IE9 was not an automatic update, and many of my clients still use IE7 (and brag about it as it’s newer than IE6). I guess it’s time to start a new initiative for quitting supporting IE7. Or IE8? Which one had more bugs? I remember having to press a button to switch to IE7 compatibility mode with my old IE8. Way too many bugs.

The new IE9 icon is worse than ever. As Google Chrome tries to polish its icon and make it flat, and Firefox keeps it’s pixel art little big fox, IE9 comes with a beveled, shiny icon. What’s the age average at Microsoft, anyway?

I really liked the old IE5 icon.

Fun: When Internet Explorer means Internet. Or the other way around. Yeah, I know, they probably sponsored Uganda and Mexico with IE6 pre-installed systems. “Pre-installed” is such a pompous word. I’d rather say “stuck with it”.

IE9 has 2 search engines, Bing and Ask. Why not Google?

Some of my many questions don’t have answers yet, but they’ll probably arise in the next weeks.

Another weird issue of IE9 is the developer tools menu item. Why is F12 – the hotkey – in front of the item title and not to the right?

Expect some updates soon, as major releases are known to have plenty of bugs.

I did not mention Safari. That’s ’cause I don’t have it installed. Well, they should support anything thrown at them, they’re Apple. I have Windows 7 SP1. And I’ll stick with that. Just for the record.


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