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Last post Author Topic: New interesting features for Firefox 3  (Read 12242 times)

Lashiec

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New interesting features for Firefox 3
« on: August 27, 2007, 10:39:45 AM »
As you may know, Firefox 3 is currently undergoing some heavy development towards the possible release of the first beta in the release cycle. Right now, things are looking really great, and it seems the Mozilla team is really up to something with the major version, which will give some work to IE and Opera developers to best it. The most interesting ones, in my opinion, are not being included in the main code tree, but may see a separate release in the form of a extension, or may be included in a future Firefox 4. Alex Faaborg, interface designer at Mozilla, talks in this blog entry about them, and I sure most people around here will agree with me (being everyone a keyboard maniac) that those particular features could be great in a browser, even if they use no one's favourite Enso ;)

Capture-2.pngNew interesting features for Firefox 3


via PC Mechanic

cybernetnews

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2007, 10:15:03 PM »
One of the biggest problems with Firefox 3, however, is that the performance is much worse than what they require before they'll release it. Last I heard Firefox 3 has an 18% worse memory footprint than Firefox 2, and they are hoping to get that equal to or better than Firefox 2. I think it is going to be quite a struggle for them though.

f0dder

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2007, 06:02:54 AM »
FireFox 3 worse wrt. memory consumption than FireFox 2? Oh boy, oh boy. Why can't they just get things right? >_<
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Josh

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2007, 10:27:14 AM »
That is my biggest issue as well. There is no reason my browser should be using 250MB of memory with 12 tabs. Firefox needs to work out its memory issues, in my opinion, prior to adding new features.

Lashiec

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2007, 01:36:12 PM »
What's the use of the garbage collector they implemented some alpha versions ago then? To ensure it didn't go much worse? I said it some other time and I repeat it again, I suspect the use of XUL is being a hindrance to Firefox development. The funny thing is Ben Goodger wanted to create a lean browser without all the fluff the original Mozilla Suite had, and judging for their posts in his blog, everyone at Mozilla didn't like the monster that Netscape 6 was, but even then, they insist in the usage of an old and ineffective toolkit, instead of opting for something well developed, like GTK (*ahem*) or Qt.

I also think one of the main problems lie within the 'back' cache (ya know, the feature that stores information about visited pages for each tab). I saw Opera climbing up memory usage after browsing through heavy graphics-based sites (and when I say heavy, I say HEAVY, talking about 250 images with a mean of 150 KB per picture), but it never passed back 300 MB. I close the tab, and everything goes back to normal. Firefox has fewer features than Opera, what could happen if you install a extension like the mentioned here, which seems a bit intensive when it comes to graphics? >_< . I won't talk about memory-leaking extensions as well...

With all the Web 2.0 sites around, that demand memory as any desktop app, the guys at Mozilla have to fix that first, before developing innovative, but memory-hungry features. If they really think as themselves as the Web 2.0 browser, some things have to be fixed before prime time.

(Last paragraph added just to place emphasis in the idea that this is not a Firefox-bashing and Opera-adoring post :P)

EDIT: Typos and some rephrasing
« Last Edit: August 28, 2007, 01:40:50 PM by Lashiec »

40hz

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2007, 12:23:14 PM »
I think you can question and criticize Firefox without being accused of bashing it. I've been a big proponent of Firefox since it came out. Unfortunately, Mozilla.org seems to have lost the "lean, fast & clean" mindset. I can't blame their coders - bells & whistles are a lot more fun to code than tweaking cache efficiencies or making rendering engines more resource efficient. This I know from my own coding experiences. But lately, Fox has been bugging me just enough that I did download Opera for when I actually do need all the bling. IMHO Opera seems to handle that cruft a bit better.

I guess I shouldn't complain since MozOrg does their voodoo for free. And a kot of what they do is really good. Still, I long for the days when Fox was less "real cool" and better able to stay out of its own way. :Thmbsup:

nontroppo

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2007, 01:38:54 PM »
The GUICLI, which we know well from Find and Run Robot is an interesting idea for a browser. Indeed the Opera team also think so, and there was an internal concept version last year which uses a CLI metaphor to interact with the browser.

Currently Firefox 3 is considerably fatter than Firefox 2, and runs much slower, but I expect that to improve through the beta cycle.

Lashiec: If you remove XUL, you remove the only thing Firefox / Mozilla has going for it! I really doubt you would see such a vibrant development community if extensions had to be coded in traditional languages. The idea of using web technology to power a web browser is elegant, and many more people can mix-and-mash their own extensions.
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JohnFredC

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2007, 01:42:20 PM »
FireFox is OK, I guess, and I like its add-in model.  But if the Mozilla team doesn't implement a full featured page-zoom a la Opera with "fit to width" (not the low rent zoom behavior of IE 7), then all the fancy Addin/GUI/keyboard functionality in the world won't matter to me.

Lashiec

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2007, 08:55:42 PM »
nontroppo, I know that but I really think that XUL is causing all these problems with memory management. Besides, if they used extensions requiring traditional languages, it wouldn't be much of a loss. Addons offer is one of my main gripes with Firefox, there are far too much of them, and some are overlapping with others. Perhaps if they did a more stringent control of quality regarding duplicated functionality and extension excellence (some of them are simply terrible), including memory leak testing (they coded an utility for that, no?), things will go for the better IMO. I like extensibility, but sometimes software go too far in that regard (just thinking in Winamp...). Bah, just very a personal pet peeve. I sincerely hope they fix those memory figures through the beta cycle. And I would like to meet some programmer at the Mozilla Foundation and ask him/her about my suspicions :D

JohnFredC, they implemented that in one of the latest nightlies. It's not like Opera for now, but they're tweaking the feature to be more like it.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2007, 11:47:02 AM by Lashiec »

nontroppo

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2007, 06:00:36 AM »
nontroppo, I know that but I really think that XUL is causing all these problems with memory management.

Oh, I think you are absolutely right  :Thmbsup: But I think this is unavoidable — a flexible and low-entry extension system that doesn't need compiling will be fat and heavy resource-wise. Mozilla never has, and never will be "light", but if you can code XML+CSS+JS - you can do stuff in it no other browser can.

I wonder if the next-generation javascript engine, tamarin, will make a substansive difference to XUL, it certainly out-performs spidermonkey (existing engine) by a huge factor:

http://www.mozilla.org/projects/tamarin/
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f0dder

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2007, 06:22:17 AM »
But I think this is unavoidable — a flexible and low-entry extension system that doesn't need compiling will be fat and heavy resource-wise.
Why? There's no law of nature requiring this... the coders just need to pay a bit more attention and focus on efficiency than eye-candy. More interesting anyway.
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nontroppo

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2007, 03:32:26 PM »
Why? There's no law of nature requiring this... the coders just need to pay a bit more attention and focus on efficiency than eye-candy. More interesting anyway.

I think lots of very gifted developers work(ed) on Mozilla, and in 9 years of constant hacking they have got to where Firefox is now with Firefox 3 (XUL recieves considerable attention I believe). Being cross-platform, and using XML+JS+CSS as your base simply can't get where native code can. But the tradeoff is a flexible platform non-programmers can pick-up where OS doesn't matter. With infinite dev resources I'm sure they would get further, but I don't think Mozilla was/is practically resource starved.

Now, if they'd just used Lua...  8)
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Lashiec

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2007, 08:59:36 PM »
Moar features! They've just post a mockup of the long awaited "Places" functionality in the Mozilla wiki. Here you have the boring details, for those who don't want to see the mockup ;D, and here the actual mockup, for those wishing to skip the useless jabbering of the wiki (hey, if you're not a Firefox developer, you shouldn't be seeing this ;)). Looks pretty cool, although it strikes a strong resemblance of certain Microsoft application...

cybernetnews

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2007, 09:25:45 PM »
Moar features! They've just post a mockup of the long awaited "Places" functionality in the Mozilla wiki. Here you have the boring details, for those who don't want to see the mockup ;D, and here the actual mockup, for those wishing to skip the useless jabbering of the wiki (hey, if you're not a Firefox developer, you shouldn't be seeing this ;)). Looks pretty cool, although it strikes a strong resemblance of certain Microsoft application...
Don't get me wrong...I love Mozilla. But part of their problem is that their interface mockup designer, Alex Faaborg, is overly talented and often gets people too excited about what may come in Firefox. In the end I don't think the stuff looks quite as good as what he initially designed.

Carol Haynes

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2007, 03:51:06 AM »
Wasn't the whole point of Firefox that it was to be a lean, mean, browsing machine?

As I remember it was designed to replace Netscape and Mozilla so why are they devloping it to death and creating yet another bloatfest?

To my mind the memory footprint issues with Firefox is less of a problem than the speed and CPU grabbing issues. With an Athlon64 X2 4600 CPU the browser shouldn't need to use up to 50% of CPU cycles fairly regularly during use. My last CPU was often pushed to 90-100% for extended periods.

f0dder

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2007, 04:47:34 AM »
To my mind the memory footprint issues with Firefox is less of a problem than the speed and CPU grabbing issues. With an Athlon64 X2 4600 CPU the browser shouldn't need to use up to 50% of CPU cycles fairly regularly during use. My last CPU was often pushed to 90-100% for extended periods.
I only have that when there's FLASH stuff on a page - flash is notorious for being pretty cpu-greedy.
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Carol Haynes

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2007, 05:00:15 AM »
Flash is pretty ubiquitous these days - how many pages don't you find it on?

Having said that Just clicking on a link on the BBC homepage pushes up my CPU usage for Firefox to 7% - which seems a bit excessive - and during Firefox startup (slow in itself) my CPU usage hits 60-80% (opening 6 tabs)

MrCrispy

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2007, 04:49:04 PM »
My problem with Firefox is with the core engine, which is a horribly convoluted mess of js and xul, and makes fixing the base very hard if not impossible because the beast is now so huge its a hydra and cannot be tamed  :o The devs know this, which is why its a lot easier to add new features than fix the core flaws. e.g. is it ever going to get a real multithreaded page rendering?
 

Lashiec

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2007, 09:40:49 AM »
Hmmm, that sounds like Netscape 6. Maybe in trying not to follow its path, they accidentally stumbled in the same stone, who knows. Well, Firefox 3 sports Gecko 1.9, with big changes under the hood, so maybe it's multithreaded now. I hope the betas get better, or it'll go IE route pretty soon.

f0dder

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2007, 12:23:51 PM »
I hope the betas get better, or it'll go IE route pretty soon.
IE7 is hardly any better than firefox... even seems slower to me, which I thought was impossible >_<
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Dirhael

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2007, 01:28:40 PM »
I hope the betas get better, or it'll go IE route pretty soon.
IE7 is hardly any better than firefox... even seems slower to me, which I thought was impossible >_<


This is true in my experience as well, but on the other hand you have IE-based browsers like Maxthon which doesn't seem to suffer the same problem...so it's probably not the IE engine in itself that makes IE7 feel so slow, but rather the GUI.
Registered nurse by day, hobby programmer by night.

Lashiec

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2007, 09:29:34 PM »
Well, Trident is really slow compared to Gecko and Presto, but I'm fairly impressed with the browser as a whole (the GUI looks fast to me). They really fixed their way since IE6, and implemented nice features like QuickTabs. It really needs some work in the layout engine, and a redesign of the options screen (a mere paint job won't hide its defects), but overall it's a improvement from the previous version. Some people even changed from Firefox 2 to IE7 (yes, I'm also surprised).

f0dder

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2007, 07:14:32 AM »
Heh, changed from FF2 to IE7? I couldn't do that... there's a really noticable lag when opening a new tab in IE7, it's in no way instantaneous... FF2 almost is.
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jgpaiva

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2007, 09:20:13 AM »
[offtopic]
Heh, changed from FF2 to IE7? I couldn't do that... there's a really noticable lag when opening a new tab in IE7, it's in no way instantaneous... FF2 almost is.

Another interesting note on IE7's stupidity:
On non-english versions of XP, the keys for opening/closing tabs are changed from ctrl+t/ctrl+w to a regionalized setting. In portuguese, it's "ctrl-s" for opening tabs (which are called "separadores".)
Notice how the ctrl-s for save is also changed to ctrl-g (since "save" means "guardar).

I think it's just a stupid decision, forces you to pay attention to what programs are in what languages and use different keyboard shortcuts accordingly!  >:( >:( >:(

[/offtopic]

Lashiec

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Re: New interesting features for Firefox 3
« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2007, 09:35:48 AM »
Interesting enough, the shortcuts in the Spanish version are like the ones in the English one... Hmmm, but well, the issue you mention also happens with Windows, and some "localized" apps. I think they should standardize these kind of things.