Firefox 3 Beta 2 is Really Good

Firefox 3 isn’t revolutionary. But it has quite a good bit of evolution in it. I haven’t felt the need to blog about an application beta in a while, but this deserves it.

First – speed. Speed. Speed. FF2 had become a bloated mess on my profile – I keep a year’s worth of browsing history (hey, I have the disk space) but the Mork database engine in FF2 just wan’t up to the task. I had taken to switching over to Safari when FF2 got too slow to bear. FF3 uses the SQLite database instead, and the speed is fantastic.

There are lots of nice touches. The Location bar is actually useful now, is fast, searches on titles as well as locations, and seems to understand which matches it should show first, not just in substring order. Excellent.

The only bug I’ve found so far is that when saving a file it’s necessary to click twice on the folder to get it to show the folder’s contents. That’s a solid beta.

Potential gotcha: SSL page loads will now fail if the SSL certificate fails in some way. You can add exceptions to bypass this, but the default now isn’t warning as it was before it’s failure. This is arguably the right thing to do from a security and PHB perspective.

Potential gotcha #2: I don’t seem to have all my cookies from FF2 under FF3.

There are lots of nice developer bits in there too – better CSS, more Canvas, better SVG, better Javascript, better extension frameworks. Better password remembering, better menu speed, better history searching.

Stop me if you see a pattern. FF3 isn’t ‘amazing’, but it’s clearly ‘better’ in all regards.

NoScript, FlashGot and Slashdotter extensions are working, but most web developer tools haven’t updated yet. Update: here’s Firebug 1.1.

Get your Firefox here.