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Firefox 3 Beta 3 Officially Released 337

Posted by kdawson
from the back-to-its-roots dept.
firefoxy writes "Mozilla has officially released Firefox 3 beta 3. This release includes new features, user interface enhancements, and theme improvements. Ars Technica has a review with screenshots. 'Firefox 3 is rapidly approaching completion and much of the work that remains to be done is primarily in the category of fit and finish. There will likely only be one more beta release after this one before Mozilla begins issuing final release candidates.'"
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Firefox 3 Beta 3 Officially Released

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  • Adding bookmarks (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ctrl-Z (28806) <tim@timcole[ ].com ['man' in gap]> on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @12:51AM (#22402178) Homepage Journal

    In nightly builds that have been released since the beta 3 code freeze, the bookmark process has been refined further. When the user bookmarks the page by clicking the star icon in the URL bar, the browser will inform the user that the page has been bookmarked...
    I've been using nightly builds for the past month or two, and this is not what I am seeing right now. I only see that box pop up if I double click the star.
  • acid 2? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TheRealZeus (1172755)
    ...does it pass?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @12:55AM (#22402222)
    Although if you have a mac, be sure to install the proto theme [mozilla.org]. Although if you have a mac, you also should try the latest Webkit build [webkit.org] too. Its ridiculously fast.

    That is all.
    • by swid27 (869237)

      The Proto theme is now the default in Mac OS X; no additional download is necessary.

      (If you didn't click the link in the parent post, the upshot is that Firefox now looks a lot more like Safari.)

      • by ubernostrum (219442) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @01:53AM (#22402594) Homepage

        Except... the problem with themes which try to emulate the native look and feel of the platform is that it has to be all or nothing; getting even a minor detail wrong can throw off the whole theme. This is even worse on the Mac, where there are a lot of users who are much pickier than average about the look and feel of the UI -- it has to match the native interface, because if it doesn't they're going to notice. And in the provided screenshots, I can already spot ways that the "native" OS X theme doesn't cut it. For example, the screenshot which proudly shows off an Aqua-style select control and button next to a search box also shows those controls using the wrong font and with the text incorrectly placed. If they can't get those details right, they might as well not try to do a "native" theme at all.

        • by _|()|\| (159991) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @02:10AM (#22402688)

          If they can't get those details right, they might as well not try to do a "native" theme at all.

          List boxes have always been ugly in Firefox. I don't think the theme has any control over this. Buttons look pretty good in 3.0 beta 3, but there are some nasty rendering artifacts on in the tab labels.

          I agree with you that the details can make or break the experience. I keep trying to use Emacs shortcuts (Ctrl-A, Ctrl-E, etc.) in this text area, but this isn't a native control.

          From what I've seen in the last fifteen minutes, 3.0 beta 3 is a big improvement. I've been pretty frustrated with Safari's performance. I'm not a kung fu memory master, but I do know that top shows up to 400 MB RPRVT and close to 2 GB VSIZE after it has been open for a while, even with only one or two tabs open. Sometimes when I close a tab it hangs indefinitely with a beach ball, so I have to force quit. If Firefox can spare me that annoyance, I'll forgive a few UI quirks.

        • Think about this for a moment. Then compare Safari on OS X to Safari on Windows. Then think about it again. If Apple have trouble emulating a look (even their own from a different platform), it's probably not that easy.

          Granted the widgets in OS X will look better than widgets almost anywhere else, but by any stretch of the imagination, it's not an easy task.

    • by kklein (900361)
      Um. I use a Mac primarily, but I really prefer Firefox to look like Firefox, regardless of the platform. I wish MS Office would look like MS Office as well; it's very frustrating.
  • Extensions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @12:56AM (#22402224) Homepage Journal
    Looks good. All we need now are for the extension developers to make their extensions Firefox 3.0 friendly.
    • Re:Extensions (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NickCatal (865805) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @01:16AM (#22402370)
      Exactly! You would think there would be some 'legacy plugin support' for people to enable if they so desire. I don't know that all of my plugins are being actively developed, and I cannot stand this version of Firefox on OS X for much longer (the beta is much more stable, but no plugins work)
      • by Thornae (53316)
        Yes, that's exactly my problem.

        Most of the plugins I use fall into the "Make Firefox work more like Opera" category, and very few of them work with FF3.

        A "Legacy Plugins" option would be great.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by jaxtherat (1165473)
          Crazy though, why not just use Opera?
      • Re:Extensions (Score:5, Informative)

        by Buran (150348) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @01:35AM (#22402502)
        I get them to work by setting extensions.checkCompatibility to false.

        A few still refuse to work, but most do.

        Now, can someone tell me how to keep my bookmarks always sorted by name? The two extensions I know of that do this job ignore my "don't check compatibility" instructions and still refuse to show up in the menus.
      • Re:Extensions (Score:5, Informative)

        by omeomi (675045) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @01:46AM (#22402558) Homepage
        Exactly! You would think there would be some 'legacy plugin support' for people to enable if they so desire.

        There is. Install the Nightly Tester Tools [oxymoronical.com] plugin. It adds a "Make All Compatible" button in your Add-ons dialog that does pretty much just what it says.
      • by pembo13 (770295)
        Seems like such a feature would also require a lot of legacy code to remain plugged in. There by increasing file size, and possibly memory footprint.
  • Is it faster? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by garcia (6573) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @12:56AM (#22402226) Homepage
    I remember when Firefox first started it was meant to be a faster and more secure replacement for IE. Well, the longer I have been running it (many of you know that I was probably the last Slashdot IE6 holdout for various reasons) the more I realize how slow and awful it can be -- especially the last few versions.

    Now, I haven't run the new beta but I looked through the article and some of the past ones that have come up and noticed all this crap about theming, new features, etc, etc, etc but nothing really talks about how much faster it is and how much less memory the program consumes -- especially when it's been open for more than 24 hours on XP.

    So, are they going to go back to light, tight, and fast instead of this feature bloat that seems to have prevailed? Yes, it's nice to have bells and whistles but I think that it's just as important to have a browser that doesn't require me to close it and reopen it so that my machine doesn't grind to a halt every other day if I don't.
    • Re:Is it faster? (Score:5, Informative)

      by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @01:00AM (#22402258) Homepage
      FF3 is loads faster than FF2. I find that most slowdowns in FF2 were caused by extensions, but FF3 loaded with extensions is just as fast as FF2 in safe-mode. Which is fast.
    • Re:Is it faster? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @01:01AM (#22402264) Homepage Journal
      While you're asking for it to be "faster", other people are asking for a smaller memory footprint.. considering that most performance issues in a browser are related to caching, they can't please all the users all the time.

      • Why not? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        The original phoenix/firebird/firefox were both fast AND had a small memory footprint.
        They ran very well on old SGI desktop systems with sub-300 MHz CPUs and sub-512 MB RAM capacities.
        Sometimes I wonder if desktop developers shouldn't be forced to use such systems today for all development work. It would force some leanness.
        • by CaptnMArk (9003)
          I'm also in favor of that.

          Also, force them to be without mouse for 1 day of the week.
        • by QuantumG (50515)
          And supported 1/1000th of the functions of a typical web browser today.

          The world has moved on from ad hoc HTML with very few sites even using javascript.

          Back then the number of images on a typical page was three, now it is a hundred.

          CSS didn't exist.

          The list goes on.
          • by dpete4552 (310481)
            CSS didn't exist? Are you kidding me? You do realize that the very first Firefox (Phoenix) release was a year after Internet Explorer 6 was release right? Even then it had more comprehensive support for CSS than Internet Explorer 6 and still supports more CSS3 than Internet Explorer 7 does now! I mean this wasn't web browsing circa 1996, this was a year after IE6 which is still the most widely used to this day.
        • Better idea: They could just develope for what they have available and prefer to use, but release the source code so that people with lesser machine can tweak things to run better for what they have!

          Well. Except they do. Pick up the source and optimize what you think needs it and remove the features you think slow you down. Don't expect me to use your fork though as frankly i'd rather waste the resources for features than go without the features.

          You could get a quad core 2.4ghz machine for less than the mon
          • by tsa (15680)
            Yeah man. Programming is like digesting food to all people: everybody does it without even being aware of it.

            Look around you. Get real. Think before you speak.
          • by ultranova (717540)

            You could get a quad core 2.4ghz machine for less than the money bush is giving to stimulate the economy. Just saying.

            And three of those four cores would sit idle due to Firefox being single-threaded (who is the lazerbrain who came up with that ?), so being quad-core wouldn't help performance at all. Just saying.

      • Re:Is it faster? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Stan Vassilev (939229) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @03:02AM (#22402986)
        While you're asking for it to be "faster", other people are asking for a smaller memory footprint.. considering that most performance issues in a browser are related to caching, they can't please all the users all the time.

        Actually, the perceived performance issues of Firefox mostly stem from the fact it's a single-threaded architecture running on a JavaScript+XML interpreter (XULRunner).

        Extensions, which basically "patch" themselves into this single-threaded synchronous engine, often exacerbate the problem too.

        All XUL applications seem to share this slow response / performance problem, other popular ones exhibiting the same issue being Joost, Miro, SunBird.

        However this issue is so deeply ingrained in XULRunner, that I hear misguided excuses all the time, such as "it's about the RAM cache / CPU usage balance", which, oddly enough, no other major browser suffers from (I use all on a daily basis as a developer myself).

        About when we'll see improvements: most likely starting with Firefox 4, which is to completely replace the current JS engine, SpiderMonkey, with the one in Flash 9 (codenamed Tamarin), which compiles to machine code before execution, instead of being interpreted from opcodes.

        We'll hopefully see some threading too (one thread for the main UI and one per tab at least), although the lead Mozilla developers have some quite irrational fears of multi-threaded architectures.
        • by jo42 (227475)

          single-threaded architecture running on a JavaScript+XML interpreter (XULRunner)
          That is Firefox's #1 design flaw. Yeah, sure you can bodge stuff up quickly, but you pay dearly in every other regard. At least they didn't write the core in Java.
        • by Nicolas MONNET (4727) <nicoaltiva@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @06:45AM (#22404124) Journal
          Actually, the perceived performance issues of Firefox mostly stem from the fact it's a single-threaded architecture running on a JavaScript+XML interpreter (XULRunner).

          There is indeed only one thread handling the UI and DOM, but there are multiple threads. Network operations, file decoding and so on run in separate threads from the UI. MAking a multithreaded UI is quite hard; note that IE (at least 6, most likely 7 too) does that too, with the difference that you can have separate windows in different processes altogether; but then they can't talk to each other through JS.

          The only time this architecture is really a problem ATM is when JS from a page sucks up CPU: it bogs down the whole UI.

          Moving to a fully multithreaded architecture is a very hard problem, esp. for such a complicated application, with such complex interactions as a web browser. Every single little thing would have to be synchronised, with big deadlock risks at each turn.

          The only possible approach is to divide work among threads such as there is minimal, well understood interactions between them. You can't for example just have one thread per window, because HTML+DOM+JS expect to be able to touch other windows from the same domain. You could divide processes by originating domain; that's what Apprunner does.
          But then you have coordinate communication between the windows and the bookmarks, history and so on. Not too hard to do, but has to be weighed against the minimal gain.

          Eventually, we will have to take advantage of many-cores CPU. That means that even DOM parsing will have to be multithreaded, for use on ultra low power 256 cores mobile cpus. Robert O'Callahan [mozillazine.org] is working on this. But what you have in this case is a number of related threads with a very limited scope, and precisely defined interactions.

          You can read more on these issues at his blog:

          Parallel Dom Access [mozillazine.org]
          Night of the living threads [mozillazine.org]
    • Re:Is it faster? (Score:4, Informative)

      by PhrostyMcByte (589271) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @01:03AM (#22402274) Homepage
      Assuming this is a compile from the main trunk, memory usage should be better in this for Windows users. A week ago a ported version of FreeBSD's malloc was checked in. This has much less fragmentation compared to Windows' low-frag heaps which should result in less memory used over time and slightly better performance.
    • by Firehed (942385)
      For the few moments I was able to run it, it seemed MUCH faster than Firefox 3b2. Unfortunately, something's gone completely fucked up with my machine in the last hour or so that causes Firefox to crash every thirty seconds or so. And it also made a horrible mess of, well, pretty much everything - however at this point I'm inclined to think that there's something else up with my machine, as it's happening in b2 now as well. *sigh* Looks like I'll be using Safari for the next while :(
      • Try Firefox's safe mode. If it works, something in your profile is futzing it up. I would recommend keeping just places.sqlite (originally bookmarks.html in FF2) to save your bookmarks. You can also keep extensions by saving the extensions folder and the files with "extension" in the name, but first disable them all and see if the crash still happens (to be sure you don't just carry it into the new profile).
    • by Zarel (900479)

      Now, I haven't run the new beta but I looked through the article and some of the past ones that have come up and noticed all this crap about theming, new features, etc, etc, etc but nothing really talks about how much faster it is and how much less memory the program consumes -- especially when it's been open for more than 24 hours on XP.

      So, are they going to go back to light, tight, and fast instead of this feature bloat that seems to have prevailed? Yes, it's nice to have bells and whistles but I think that it's just as important to have a browser that doesn't require me to close it and reopen it so that my machine doesn't grind to a halt every other day if I don't.

      Well, that's probably because they talked about it when Firefox 3 beta 1 was released [slashdot.org]...

      ...Mozilla [has] gone back to basics and worked on what really matters to users -- security, speed and ease of use ... Everything about Firefox 3.0 beta 1 is fast. The download package is small which means that it comes in fast, the installation is fast, the browser fires up fast, pages and tabs open fast, the browser shuts down fast...

      ...and when Firefox 3 beta 2 was released [slashdot.org]...

      Beta 2 feels snappier and far more responsive than beta 1... No matter what [you're] doing... it all happens swiftly and smoothly. What surprises me about the Firefox 3.0 beta is how many memory leaks that Mozilla have fixed.

    • by dbIII (701233)
      Lynx is the faster and more secure replacement for IE as are some of the mobile phone browsers (eg. Opera). Other things get gradually slower as more features are added. Having a lot of tabs with the contents cached in memory is going to use a lot of memory no matter what you do. There are various tweaks to limit memory usage that I tried with one user that always had very large numbers of pages open. They were ultimately useless since limiting the memory killed sites like facebook (workplace computer b
    • by Tumbleweed (3706) *
      I remember when Firefox first started it was meant to be a faster and more secure replacement for IE. Well, the longer I have been running it (many of you know that I was probably the last Slashdot IE6 holdout for various reasons) the more I realize how slow and awful it can be -- especially the last few versions.

      K-Meleon [sourceforge.net] is your friend.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      IMO, no, it is not faster. It is just *better*. I never used firefox because I perceived it to be faster than IE6 or IE7. It just supports a crapload more features that I use every day and have grown used to. But it's true: firefox is a hog. If you want faster (or smaller memory footprint, etc.) then you should be using Opera.
    • by Goalie_Ca (584234)
      Firefox3 has a shiny new garbage collector. They've pretty much found all the leaks using it too.
    • by ceeam (39911)
      Yes, I'd say it is. It is fast etc enough for me to even contemplate switching to FF (again) from Opera. Too bad that most extensions so far don't install to FF3 "normally" without hacking things.

      Been using Beta3Pre occasionally for several weeks now. It's mostly OK unlike Beta2 which had numerous bugs and problems.
    • Re:Is it faster? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by petsounds (593538) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @05:31AM (#22403780)
      Honestly, it is leaps and bounds faster and more stable than 2.x. I too felt a malaise setting in with Firefox 2. Terrible memory leaks on OS X, sluggish performance, and a slowdown of innovative features. All that has been rectified. On top of that, 3 adds some real innovation to the browser space, such as the location bar "search-as-you-type" feature.

      Beta 3 has one new feature that I've been waiting years for - you can now type shortcuts in the location bar to reference installed search engines. For instance, if you've set up "g" as the shortcut for google, then type "g vegan restaurants" and you'll get the results immediately. Mozilla had this, but it never made it over to Firefox until now. Thanks to the dev who implemented this feature; I owe you a beer.

      So please, definitely try out the Firefox 3 beta. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
  • If you're trying out the beta and you're wondering why your back/forward buttons don't match the article's screenshots, right click, customize, uncheck small icons. There ya go.

    On an unrelated note, this story seems to be dredging up all the trolls and fanboys... check out the first few comments, and the tags...

  • Firefox 3 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @01:05AM (#22402300) Homepage Journal
    I've been using Firefox 3 (trunk builds) before Firefox 2 was an official release. I love it.

    Whatever happened to:

    > Issue one major release every year (Fx 3 in 2007, Fx 4 in 2008, etc.) since it helps drive upgrades and adoption

    http://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox3/Firefox_Requirements#Release_Roadmap [mozilla.org]

    Now my dream is to see a QT brand of Firefox again, perhaps using QT 4's built-in Webkit. Unify Konqueror, Safari and Firefox on one rendering engine and work towards making that the best damned rendering engine out there. They spent nearly two years on the new Gecko rendering engine, and it still isn't as fast as Webkit/KHTML. Firefox has all the features I want for the most part. I'm not saying they should abandon GTK, but they support multiple widgets and toolkits. Someone please give me a QT 4 branch of Firefox and I've be very happy.

    • by pembo13 (770295)
      What ever it takes to make Firefox faster in Linux. It is unusably slow for me on Linux.
    • You have a fundamental misunderstanding on what is possible between webkit and gecko: webkit is LGPL, gecko is MPL. They are incompatible.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Firefox is all of (any of) MPL, GPL, and LGPL.
  • Add-on finder? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @01:08AM (#22402316) Homepage Journal
    One of the most promising and impressive new features in beta 3 is an integrated add-on installer system that allows users to search for and install add-ons from addons.mozilla.org directly through the add-on manager user interface.

    Brilliant! Must build from trunk again!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Scoutn (992649)
      Because going to the website is so hard? Talk about feature creep.
      • More like long-overdue integration. I think this is the kind of feature that will make add-ons more accessible, since your average user probably misses the URL-like link in the bottom corner of the window. Also saves a step and also means less time spent loading useless web pages when all you want is a text description and a download link.
        • by Arathon (1002016)
          I would agree, but I'm not sure I like the system the way it's implemented. I don't trust it to find the extensions I want (I searched for TabMix Plus and got nothing, though perhaps it was outsmarting itself by not finding TMP since TMP isn't technically compatible). Also, looking at extensions in such a relatively small window is kinda underwhelming...

          Furthermore, the "See All Results" link doesn't work at all; it sends me to the webpage with a search reading "tab%20mix%20plus", which comes up with 0 re
          • by QuickFox (311231)

            with a search reading "tab%20mix%20plus", which comes up with 0 results.
            Looks like you typed "tab mix plus" rather than "tabmix plus". That "%20" between "tab" and "mix" represents a space character.
      • by SendBot (29932)
        every time I install firefox (which is surprisingly often), I go through a fair amount of hassle to track down the addons I want and install them. It's not impossible, but would be very nice to have streamlined. I'd probably discover more interesting addons that way too!
  • by Lendrick (314723) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @01:10AM (#22402342) Homepage Journal
    The default Linux theme is awful... is there any way I can get the windows theme for it under Linux?
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @01:34AM (#22402484)
    ...that mention is made of [full] integration with GTK but no mention of KDE! My be it's time folks at KDE tuned Firefox to look at a native KDE application or make lots of noise while Firefox development is going on.
    • by dbIII (701233)
      It was done the night the source code for Netscape was released. Sadly the licence argument of the time resulted in a move to the gimp tool kit instead. It's still better than motif apart from the really slow file browser dialog to save files. I often choose "copy link" and download links with wget in a terminal window instead.
  • Hints (Score:5, Informative)

    by Arathon (1002016) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @01:49AM (#22402578) Journal
    First of all, I would strongly recommend actually uninstalling (completely) and reinstalling Firefox if you want to use this beta. Some apparent conflicts between my extensions for Beta 2 and this install caused some of the weirdest, buggiest behavior I've ever seen in Firefox. Only by wiping my profile and starting from scratch was I able to get tabbed browsing to work correctly.

    Secondly, if you're annoyed by the new theme, just switch to Small Icons. It looks fine, except for the slightly annoying "Home" button.

    Speaking of the "Home" button, it's on the Bookmarks toolbar now, in case you were wondering. You can move it back where it belongs while in the Customize Toolbar dialog.

    So far, I don't see a whole lot to write home about. The new theme is definitely ugly. On the other hand, the beta feels very stable and very, very fast.
    • On the Mac OS X version I dont actually see a home button in the Customize Toolbar dialog. Furthermore, switching small icons on/off appears to do nothing on OS X.
    • The second time and all times since that I've tried FF3b3, I'm hitting an infinite crash loop, where firefox shows for a fraction of a second before restarting, almost certainly related to one of my extensions (which I did not use nightly tester tools on).
  • firefox <a href="https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=414197">breaks if you have the ipv6 module</a> in without an ipv6 capable ISP.

    the party lines seems to be that a number of serious gating ipv6 bugs cannot be marked as gating because no devs can verify them, for lack of ipv6 setups to test. a highly suggest <a href="https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/buglist.cgi?query_format=specific&order=relevance+desc&bug_status=__open__&content=ipv6">looking at the ipv6</a> bugs
  • Just a naive question. Why the fuck do they use themes ? Can't they just use native widgets à la wxwidgets ? Seems to be the right way (c) to do it. And of course if the user wants to customize the look of the application he can do this using the desktop's themes feature.
    I wonder how much time they loose trying to tweak the themes.
  • Apple sells mucho more portable music players than Microsoft does - because Apple's designs are (at least) a generation ahead of the Microsoft offering.

    Firefox could take advantage of the same thing; Microsoft wasn't going to update IE until after they saw a substantial move from IE to Firefox. IE 7 has "emulated" many of Firefox's features now and it's going to be a while until MS can design / buy / copy / steal any more improvements. The Mozilla folks could take this opportunity to make Firefox the super

  • usability (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ceroklis (1083863)
    Will this release be "usable" ? Seriously, for all the so called usability experts that they have this is one of the worst application in this department. (and it was supposed to be simple to use).
    A few examples:
    • Take the whole logic behind confirmation dialogs for the installation of extensions. The basic idea is that you do not want a simple click to trigger the install because you want to warn the user of the implications. Fine. The proper way is to do what explorer 6 does: ask for confirmation, have
    • Re:usability (Score:4, Informative)

      by jesser (77961) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @04:32AM (#22403468) Homepage Journal
      First, I can't authorize *just* this extension. I have to authorize every extensions from the site, which is generally not what I want.

      You seem to be describing Firefox 2. This has been fixed in Firefox 3; it takes 3 clicks to install an extension now. (The patch was in bug 252830.)
  • by steveha (103154) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @03:49AM (#22403268) Homepage
    The reason I want FF3 is to get whole-page zoom.

    http://arstechnica.com/journals/linux.ars/2007/07/27/firefox-3-gets-full-page-zoom [arstechnica.com]

    I use a 110 dots per inch monitor. I hate, hate, hate all web pages that were laid out with WYSIWYG design tools, with fonts set to 7 pixels tall and columns also specified as a certain number of pixels wide.

    I don't have eagle eyes and I don't like to sit close to my screen. So I have my personal CSS forcing fonts to a minimum size... which makes some pages ugly, and other pages unreadable (depends on how much the page designer hard-coded with pixel sizes). I'm also using the ImageZoom extension to scale up images... which means the scaled images cover up lots of text on many web pages, and fancy graphical navigation buttons often don't match up with their clickable regions.

    And I have a 16:10 ratio monitor... which means that often I will read a web site and there will be a narrow strip of text in the center, and tons of wasted space to either side, again because some web designer hard-coded things with pixel counts.

    I used to wish that web designers would make sites that can adapt to unusual screen sizes. Well, the WYSIWYG tools aren't going away, so now I just want to zoom my pages.

    steveha
    • by IdahoEv (195056) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @02:10PM (#22408670) Homepage
      Give me these three things, and I'll give you pages that smoothly scale to all screen sizes and resolutions:

      1) 100% of the public using browsers that correctly implement CSS. 40% are still using the superbly broken IE6, and FF2 (20%) doesn't implement display: inline-block, which is important for making bordered tabs and such that scale with the size of their fonts.

      2) Full SVG support in all browsers. IE has none, the others have a mix of laughable crap.

      3) Clients who trust the designer's artistic sense and ability to compat-test on multiple rigs, instead of, say, looking at it on one windows machine in IE6 at 800x600 resolution and complaining "no, we want the text to wrap after this word, not that word".

      Sadly, this environment doesn't exist. Sizing things in pixels and limiting the scope of the primary content to 780px wide is STILL the most reliable way to get a consistent appearance that makes clients happy.

      SVG doesn't even really exist in any substantive, usable way, so graphics have to be done in pixels. Font sizes are usually scaled to match those sizes. At least all major browsers will let you override that.

      This is the environment we have, and trust me the designers aren't any happier about it than you are. I do fluid-width displays every time my clients will let me (~20%), and I always try to make sure the page won't break when the fonts scale. Beyond that, I'm constrained by the tools I've got.

      And I have a 16:10 ratio monitor... which means that often I will read a web site and there will be a narrow strip of text in the center, and tons of wasted space to either side, again because some web designer hard-coded things with pixel counts.


      Highres monitors that wide aren't made for having a single window fill the whole workspace. Super-wide columns aren't readable anyway; human eyes prefer text in narrow columns that wrap quickly.

      Try tiling your web browser window next to other work windows, or email, or even 2 or 3 browser windows side-by-side. You'll be happier.
  • by TheSunborn (68004) <tiller@nOsPAM.daimi.au.dk> on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @04:10AM (#22403364)
    btw: Does anyone know how to scale the TEXT in firefox 3?
    Ctrl +/- now scale the entire page, insted of just the text(Which looks bad with many images) -(
  • by CritterNYC (190163) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @04:37AM (#22403488) Homepage
    Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition 3 Beta 3 was released a few hours after the announcement. It's packaged with a launcher so it runs self-contained so you can use it from a flash drive, iPod, portable hard drive, etc. But it's also handy for trying out the current beta without affecting your local install. You can even run it from your desktop to try it out and then delete it.

    It's available from the Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition 3 Beta 3 homepage [portableapps.com].

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