For Firefox 2 users: what you can expect from Firefox 3, pt1, pt2

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by clevin, Mar 24, 2008.

  1. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    Pt 3, Awesome bar, Security in a box is Here
    Pt 4, Passwords and Download manager is Here
    Pt 5, Hers and there is Here

    Ok, Ok, I know I had a lengthy post which was tracking the changes happened on firefox trunk nightly. But that one is too techi to be helpful for normal firefox 2 users.

    Now since firefox 3 beta 5 codes has been frozen, the final version should looks pretty much like today's nightly. Its about time to re-introduce firefox 3 to 2.0 users!.

    There are a lot of new stuff in firefox 3, it would be sad to see them got overlooked!

    I will start with several under the hood changes, they are not so "apparent", but nevertheless are very significant changes.

    I will add more post to this topic when I have time, firefox beta 5 should be out on 1-2 weeks, and final should be out in 1-2 months.

    1. Turbo speed

    When we talk about speed, there are several types involved:
    app starts up speed,
    app response speed (snapiness, beachball-ness)
    page loading speed (download),
    page rendering speed,
    speed of reading from history (cache, when you click back/forward button of the browsers).
    Javscript speed (dynamic content of the webpages).

    Firefox improves in these area:
    By rewriting most codes in cocoa, starts up speed is improved up to 2x, beachball has been almost 100% removed.

    By increasing the default number of request sent to server by firefox, the page loading speed are up to 3x faster

    Mozilla developers put alot of concentration on javascript, altho a minor fraction of most webpages, javascript becomes more important when surfing websites such as gmail, etc, which uses mass amount of client side javascripts. Firefox 3's javascript speed (according to sunspider test suite) will be 4.2x faster than firefox 2, and will be leading among all stable released browsers.

    An added benefit is that firefox's UI is written in javascript, so this improvement also improve firefox's snapiness.

    Firefox 3 is using a new backend 2D rendering lib called "cairo", which improves the page rendering of firefox 3 on mac greatly. I will talk more practical benefit of cairo in next post.

    2. Less memory

    a story here about memory stress test, firefox 3 beats all other browsers
    Firefox 3 will be using a new memory allocator called jemalloc, which is the new memory management method in FreeBSD 7 (just released last month).

    By using jemalloc, and all other memory improvement techniques (Picture decoding method, for example). Firefox 3 will start up using slightly higher memory, but the memory usage will cap around ~100MB (on my MB with 2G memory), and firefox 3 will release memory more frequently, in the end, firefox 3 uses up to 60% less of memory compare to firefox 2.

    Next to come: cairo (fullpage zoom, cross tab draggable elements, etc)
  2. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5


    Jun 6, 2003
    Solon, OH
    Wow, this is impressive. I like Firefox 3 beta 4 (although it's crashed on me 7 times so far) - it definitely seems snappier. Now I know why. :D
  3. riscy macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2008
    I am eagerly awaiting the final release of 3.0 - it will be great, I have used the Betas for ages now, but they are quite buggy.
  4. clevin thread starter macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    Pt 2 Its all about Cairo

    Its all about Cairo
    No, I haven't been to that beautiful city, the Cairo Im referring to is a new powerful 2D rendering library firefox 3 will be using on all platforms (windows/mac osx/linux). The advantages of cairo includes:
    Except the improved rendering quality, This enables a lot of new powerful functions I will be introducing below:

    3. Full Page Zoom

    Full page zoom means when zoom in/out a webpage, the structure of the webpage doe not change. Obviously, that means the text, images, tables, layers of the page, even Flash are zoomed altogether when you perform zooming operation. (now you know how mobilefirefox will be working!)
    more full-page zoom glory, shortcut is :apple:++/-


    Zoom with embeded video

    This function was first offered by opera, followed by mobileSafari, Now firefox 3 will be jumping on the bandwagan as well. However, as always, firefox offers some flexibility on top of that, if you still like the text only zooming as in firefox 2, just check view->zoom->text only

    The zooming level of webpage is site-specific and enduring, that means :
    • if you zoom a webpage, other pages of the same website will be displaying at same zooming level you jut picked as well.
    • each webite has different zooming levels if you change them, e.g., you can have on tab 1 with zooming level of 100%, at the same time, you can have on tab 2 with 150% zooming level, at tab 3 with 75%, etc...
    • firefox will remember the zooming level for the websites, next time you visit it, firefox will diplay the pages with the zooming level you last time visited it. restart of firefox, or OS will not erase these settings (of course you can change it anytime you want by press cmd++, or view->zoom->reset/zoom in/zoom out)

    You might consider a big TV display with bigger content now....

    you can finally zoom pictures to larger than its real size with HIGH quality, ever find the image on the website too small? now you have it, on top of whole page zooming where all elements (including pictures) zoom together, even when you are viewing a single picture, zooming is till available!.
    Whats more, this zooming is cairo enabled, vector based, which give you much higher quality when the picture got enlarged! Take a look at this comparison of firefox 3 and IE8's zooming (thanks vlad & johnathan, left is fx3, right is ie8).


    4. Draggable elements (with ghost image) from anywhere to everywhere

    Its one thing that these draggable stuff are funny, it another when you find some of them are particularly useful. I got a list for you to try out.

    What to drag: pretty much everything (other than buttons in webpage, drop down menus, etc), including text, link, image, combination of texts+links+images, tab.

    How to drag:

    for image: click and drag
    for text: select, click and drag
    for link: click and drag
    for combination: select, click and drag

    where to and what would the result be? pretty much you can drag element(s) to anywhere in the browser, urlbar, search area, tab bar, tabs, input area in a webpage, etc, here are the details.
    • Drag link/image to free space of tab bar will loading the link/image in a new tab
    • Drag link/image to current tab will load the link/image in current tab
    • Drag link/image to other tab (active or not) will load link/image in that tab
    • Drag link/image/text to a text area of ANY tab (active or not) will write down the link/image-url/text in that text area. (specially useful when you posting, blogging, etc, IMHO)
    • Drag link/image to url bar will load link/image in current tab
    • Drag text to url bar will perform same function as normal url bar input (I will talk more about this url “awesome bar” next time).
    • Drag link/image/text to search area will perform instant search (result in current tab) of the link/image-url/text)
    • Above mentioned operation can be applied exactly the same when you drag them to another firefox window
    There are more you can drag, try for yourself! :)

    Coming Up next, Awesome Bar and Security in a Box
  5. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5


    Jun 6, 2003
    Solon, OH
    Awesome features! I'm definitely looking forward to Firefox 3's release. I just hope the Cairo developers make the Quartz backend not experimental ;)
  6. pjrobertson macrumors 6502a

    Nov 14, 2007
    The best new thing for me in FF3 (to tie in with Leopard) is that inactive scrolling now works.
  7. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    i want to like firefox. its a great app. i just can't get used to the font rendering compared to safari/camino though. hurts my eyes.
  8. migulic macrumors member

    Mar 25, 2008
    I agree. This is the only thing that is stopping me from switching over to Fx from Safari (see my thread "Firefox 3 vs Safari, fonts")
  9. kuwisdelu macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2008
    Does anyone know if the trackpad scrolling will finally be fixed in the final Firefox 3? The trackpad 2-finger scroll hasn't been working well in Firefox, but is very smooth in Safari.

    Also, is there any way of either decreasing the font size of the bookmarks bar (without getting rid of it) or getting ride of the "home" bookmark? It didn't show up when I tried to edit my bookmarks.
  10. ksmith80209 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 15, 2007
    The 2 finger scroll works really well/smoothly for me in FF3b4.
  11. mason.kramer macrumors 6502


    Apr 16, 2007
    Watertown, MA
    Exciting stuff Clevin. Sounds like this is going to be a really great release. Can't wait.
  12. riscy macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2008
    Any ideas when 3.0 will be out of Beta, just asking as FF 2.0 has just updated to, which indicates to me that 3.0 could be still some way off yet.
  13. psychofreak Retired


    May 16, 2006
    Mozilla expect it to come out in June.
  14. clevin thread starter macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    yes, Mr. Schroepfer said that in a bloggers visit to mozilla.

    At current stage, I see no reason why you can't try beta5, which is pretty much firefox 3 with some bugs.

    I suspect a major part of the time will be spend on communicating with extension authors to update their projects...
  15. kuwisdelu macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2008
    Hmm. For me, it isn't nearly as smooth as in Safari. If I have smooth scrolling turned on, the page scrolls smoothly, but keeps going after I stop scrolling for several seconds and is hard to control. If I have smooth scrolling turned off, it's easy to control, but the scrolling isn't smooth anymore. What are your settings?
  16. clevin thread starter macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    does this feel better than firefox's own?
  17. clevin thread starter macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    if above stuff fits you well, you can just go ahead install "YASS (yet another smooth scroll)" for firefox , be sure to turn off compatibility check first since the extension is only supporting firefox 3 beta 3 as of now.

    I did some test, and find the settings in below pic works best. However, there are many parameters you can adjust.

    Stride Size is how fast it scrolls

    Smoothness-start of move/Smoothness, if values for these 2 are too high, the delay of stop will happen, like default settings of firefox

    Attached Files:

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