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Firefox 1.5 – Product Review

Nicole Hernandez on November 29th, 2005

The Next Version – 1.5

I’ve been a steady Firefox user for some time now, and wrote a review previously about my thoughts on the browser. Today, the most recent version was released to the public, and there are some differences that made me very curious to try it out. Here are the new features that are different from the last public version (1.0):

# Automated update by default and improved.
# Rearranged and improved options / preferences (lets you search your downloads and cookies easily).
# Faster back and forward navigation (using new caching).
# Drag and drop reordering for tabs (as well as via keyboard buttons).
# You can now drag a link to the new window/tab button to open.
# Better popup blocking.
# Clear Private Data feature provides an easy way to quickly remove personal data through a menu item or keyboard shortcut.
# Answers.com added to the search engine list.
# Better support for Mac OS X (10.2 and greater) including profile migration from Safari and Mac IE.
# Many security enhancements.
# Tab thumbnails (when viewing an image only page, a thumbnail of the image is shown as the tab icon)
# New ‘Safe Mode’
# Dragging text to the find box intiates a search.
# Allows for integration of custom themes that involve translucent windows (for Win and Linux)

So those alone are a lot of great new additions, but as someone who is involved in standards coding – the following new features really stuck out to me:

# Improvements to product usability including descriptive error pages, and RSS discovery.
# Support for DHTML accessibility.
# Support for assistive technologies (like Window-Eyes 5.5 beta screen reader)
# New support for Web Standards including SVG, CSS 2, CSS 3, and JavaScript 1.6.
# New ‘report a site’ feature that allows you to report sites that don’t display well in Firefox.

Overall, a list of the web standards support in this version is as follows:

# Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Extensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML): HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0/1.1
# Cascading Style Sheets (CSS): CSS Level 1, CSS Level 2 and parts of CSS Level 3
# Document Object Model (DOM): DOM Level 1, DOM Level 2 and parts of DOM Level 3
# Mathematical Markup Language: MathML Version 2.0
# Extensible Markup Language (XML): XML 1.0, Namespaces in XML, Associating Style Sheets with XML Documents 1.0, Fragment Identifier for XML
# XSL Transformations (XSLT): XSLT 1.0
# XML Path Language (XPath): XPath 1.0
# Resource Description Framework (RDF): RDF
# Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP): SOAP 1.1
# JavaScript 1.6, based on ECMA-262, revision 3: ECMA-262

For the new CSS changes specifically, you will find quotes nesting and support for the quotes property, and for CSS3 we now have :only-child support, columns, overflow-x and overflow-y properties, cursors and uri values for the cursors, as well as the CSS outline property. Now, Firefox 1.5 can lay claim to be the first browser with full DHTML support, and the first browser to meet goverment standards for accessibilty (They’ve added tons of new features for this purpose, and keyboard shortcuts for everything. You can read the full list here.).

Overall, lots of improvements when it comes to web standards and accessibilty really make this version a boon for any standards enthusiast. I’ve downloaded and found that many of my extensions are already updated to be compatible with the new version, as well as my themes. It does seem to run faster, but the different isn’t overly large. Overall, I look forward to trying out all of the new features over the next weeks.

~Nicole

[Details primarily from here and here.]

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