Attention all beta testers! Firefox 4.0 Beta is now available for public download! At first glance, Firefox 4 brings us a new UI and some nice features. However, unlike other recent beta releases, this beta appears to be full of issues which might justify waiting for the next beta or the full release. Let’s take a look at some of the things I’ve noticed about the release.
The first thing that caught my eye was what looked to be a rip-off from Opera. Take a look at the new Firefox button compared to “Opera” button at the upper left of the browser.
Both buttons have the same look, but unlike Opera which has everything packed in there, Firefox has only some basic features. I assume as the beta goes gold, more will get added.
It looks like they are also still working on Theme support. After download, I tried to apply some of my favorite themes and found none were working. After playing around a bit, I found that only 85% of the themes from the official Firefox themes site in every category are working. If you mouse over them you will get the following message:
This theme is incompatible with your version of Firefox.
With some effort, I did find a way to apply the themes, but the minimize, maximize and close buttons disappear on custom themes. Weird? Yep, that’s what I thought.
Phew. Now here are the positives I’ve noticed playing around with the beta. The new Firefox brings us HTML5 support which is great. HTML5 introduces new features like support for streaming video. Speaking of HTML5; you’ll also be getting WEB M served together with Firefox. Neat.
Here are a few other currently available features worthy of a groovy mention:
· Add-Ons manager
· JetPack SDK
· Crash Protection
· CSS3 support.
Soon-to-come is the Firefox Sync feature which will enable you to sync your settings, passwords, bookmarks, history; you get the picture. Nothing new to the browser industry, but it’s certainly a nice addition for Firefox users.
Overall it packs some great new features but, it might be a release or 2 away before I would recommend it on a production/primary desktop. Long-term I expect Firefox 4 to be a groovy upgrade but for this beta at least, they still have a few bugs to work out.
Pick up your copy at the Official Mozilla Firefox Beta Download Page.