Firefox 3 beta 4 Observations

I’ve been using Firefox 3 beta 4 on two different Macs – one at work and one at home – and have noticed a couple of things:

1. The Good

I really like the new Remember This Password implementation. I don’t know if this is new to beta 4, but I just noticed it a few days ago. Instead of the modal prompt that used to pause the form submission until the prompt was acknowledged, the new implementation uses the “activity bar” at the top of the page that’s become so familiar for other interactions.

What makes the new implementation so nice is that it doesn’t halt the submission process. That means that I can wait to find out whether my credentials actually worked before making a decision about whether to save them. If they don’t, I can click Not Now and try again.

It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a very nice convenience feature.

2. The Curiously Bad

One of the Macs with beta 4 installed was upgraded from beta 3. The other is a new install of beta 4. What’s curious and unpleasant about this is that the chrome is different. The toolbar of the new beta 4 install includes the conspicuously IE7-inspired, Jurassic-sized Back button.

I’m not a fan. I much prefer the toolbar that was part of my beta 3 install (and was retained during the upgrade).

Update 4/3/2008: Bill Mill set me straight in his comment below. Although I still don’t like the tumescent Back button, it’s easily reversed. To do so, right click on the Firefox toolbar and select Customize…. Then just check the option to Use Small Icons and the Back button will return to a reasonable size.

Although beta 5 was released today, I haven’t upgraded. The response I’ve heard has been mixed (good UI, but crash prone) so I think I may sit out this release cycle.

Subscribe3 Comments on Firefox 3 beta 4 Observations

  1. Bill Mill said...

    If you check “use small icons” I believe the super big back button goes away.

  2. Rob Wilkerson said...

    Doh! Absolutely right. I always use small icons so when all of the other icons were similarly sized on both browsers, it didn’t even occur to me to customize my menu. I just assumed small icons were being used by default. I should have known better.

    Since I always use small icons, that option was already selected on my upgraded browser which, of course, is why the button looks right – not because of any change.

    Thanks for setting me straight, Bill. I’ll update the post accordingly.

  3. D Unal said...

    ‘ve been using too..which bad thing You’ve been point , I agree with you..