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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Firefox 4 - Beta version 7: released November 10th, 2010

Firefox 4 - Beta version 7: released November 10th, 2010

Ive just upgraded to the release of Firefox 4 - Beta 7 from my currently installed Beta 6 version. Now, normally there isn't much of a difference in the various Beta's ... they are Beta's after all. However, although they aren't mentioned in the release notes, there are a couple of changes that jumped out at me and were quite visible/useful. The first of these that jumped out at me is the 'waiting to load' icon at the top of the page on each TAB which is loading a particular page/URL. In the first few versions of Firefox 4-Beta this used to be a grey clock-like thing which would look like a clock-face and load as the page loaded (ie: as the page loaded the equivalent of a minute hand would move smoothly around and cover progressively more of the clock in a darker grey as opposed to the original lighter grey colour of the circle that it started off as).

Well no more!!!......

Now we are in The Land Of Oz...behold all that is pretty, witty and bright...and I pity all who are still stuck on an old Beta tonight!!!! (Sorry was taken away by a sudden urge to sing...raindrops on roses and whiskas on kittens....etc.). In this latest of Beta's we have a light green circle along the outside outline of what used to be the grey circle and now when the page is loading there is a light breen pulse that is circling clockwise and chasing its own tail to indicate that the browser is still working. Much nicer. This appears where the icon for the page normally appears (in the TAB section) and the icon is replaced by this swirling green circle, until the page re/loads at which point the icon for the page re-appears.

Furthermore the link location under a link now appears, rather than in the status bar, in the navigation bar to the right in light grey text. This looks much nicer, much more subtle than in the bottom status area and now takes up less room as well. The reload button is also now next to this URL text in the URL window. Moved from the forward and back arrow keys where it used to be instead its now moved to the right of the URL which in my opinion apart from taking up less room is also more intuitive. Further with that intuitiveness angle, the reload button is normally white with the reload arrow on it ... however when you hover over it, the background turns blue to more easily show you that you are over it and are able to select it (push/trigger it). This entire background turns red and into a cross instead of the reload button when its waiting for the relaoad to finish since at this point its doing something and hence provides you with the option to stop it (ie: hence the red and the cross to 'stop').

The ability to select Icons, Icons and Text or just text to label the various buttons at the top of the page is great as well. IMHO once you choose this you'll never modify it but nonetheless having it there and able to set it to what you want when you first start using the browser is great.  I personally have selected the 'Use Small Icons' and am also only using the icons rather than a combination of icons and text. This takes up the least amount of room along the top of the screen and I am a big fan of using the minimal amount of space at the top of the browser (unlike my mum who has a dozen different toolbars, icons and other bits and pieces installed in her browser leaving her only a small amount of space in the dead smack bang center of the screen to do anything.

The following is a link to the latest set of release notes for FF4-Beta7 listing the changes that have occurred in this release compared to the last release as well as compared to the last few releases:

Note:  Since I wrote the above....its now December 24, 2010 and Beta 8 has come out ...with an astonishing 1415+ bugs fixed in it. Odd seeing as how I cant see any diff and wasn't hitting any bugs in the old version that there could even be that many bugs let alone fixed.

The image below is a timeline: Mozilla's timeline shows plans to issue a Firefox 4 beta in June and make a final version by November. (Photo courtesy of Mozilla Corp retrieved from :

This also gives a timeline similar to the one below:

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