I mentioned in yesterday's entry how I used an old version of Firefox and it looked exactly like the latest one. That looks like it'll change at some point. We're on Firefox 27.0.1, and a new interface could be included as soon as Firefox 29 (April 29, 2014 release). It's supposed to be touch-friendly, which generally means everything is gigantic, even if you have no touch interface. (See Windows 8/8.1 without a touch screen) I just think it's amusing that they're bringing out a new touch interface when touch events on websites don't work and it doesn't look like it's getting any closer to being fixed. The new interface breaks some add-ons (because they got rid of the add-on bar), so it wouldn't surprise me if certain add-ons I use now will be unusable in the future. (That happened before when they switched to their increment-major-version-number-every-
six-weeks development cycle. I had an "browser odometer" add-on that showed how many pages were loaded.) In addition, some buttons that were moveable (like forward and back buttons) are now locked in place. There's a weird menu button that brings up a popover that reminds me of something you'd see on iOS Safari. Of course, things can change between now and when it's released. After reading all about it, I wanted to try it for myself. It's available in Aurora (two versions ahead, so it's kinda like the alpha version), so that's what I got. It installs to a separate spot, so you can keep your regular Firefox. I made sure to create a separate profile to do all the testing because I don't want to mess up my regular Firefox profile.
- The Aurora installer is nice. It gives you a haiku when it finishes downloading and starts installing.
- About an hour after downloading and installing it, there was already an update to install. Maybe I just had bad timing.
- One of the first things I had to do was install some add-ons that I use normally. All seemed to work without issue, though any add-on that tries to add itself to the now-removed add-on bar disappears into the nether until you use the customization to move it somewhere else. Without the add-on bar, that somewhere else is either the navigation bar (where the address bar is), the bookmark bar (which I ordinarily have hidden), or the menu (hidden until you click on it). See the next item.
- Without the add-on bar, the navigation bar gets cluttered very fast. I removed some of the default icons by using the customization option, but with all the add-ons, they took up a lot of space, squishing the address bar. I found I can put icons in the bookmark bar instead, but that seems like a kludgey solution. I don't even use the bookmark bar because it's faster to type part of the bookmark's name in the address bar. I ended up sticking some icons in that new menu, which made them 90x90 pixels instead of the previous 16x16 pixels, though at least they're hidden most of the time. I moved five add-on icons to the menu, and two others (the weather and one for downloading video) to the navigation bar. I have to get used to looking at the upper right corner of the window for my weather add-on versus the bottom right corner. The arrangement I finally went with is in the picture.
- Because I had to hide some icons, I would occasionally forget to use them. Mainly, I'm referring to the icons for CookieCuller and Better Privacy, which manage cookies and LSOs, respectively.
- The History menu is gone, replaced with the History button. The history menu allowed you to reopen tabs you've closed, and while you can still do that (Shift+Ctrl+T), you can't, for example, reopen the tab you closed three tabs ago without reopening the more recent ones first. Most of the other features seem to be available in one form or another. For example, the developer tools menu is that little wrench icon (it's on Mordecai's chest if you enlarge the screenshot). It kind of reminds me of a menu out of Chrome.
- On a site I maintain, I have CSS that absolutely positions a DIV at the top right corner. That worked fine before, but in this version of Firefox, it's positioned one pixel beyond the right side, forcing a horizontal scroll bar. I could get rid of it by adding "overflow-x: hidden" to the DIV. That change makes no difference to the regular Firefox. It kind of reminds me of the weird problems I have with the box model on Internet Explorer.
- If you want to bring up the Page Setup or Print Preview, you have to press Alt to bring up the old-style menu. The new menu only prints.
- In Private Browsing mode, I actually lost a tab because of the window title color. By "lost", I mean I couldn't see that it was there and thought it closed until I took a closer look. Windows 8/8.1 can automatically change the active window colors, and it happened to change it to black on red. (It wasn't a dark red...it's a bit like Steven's shirt color in the userpic for this entry.) Previously, readability wasn't a problem, since the tabs in Private Browsing mode were black on light gray, with the window color behind it. In regular mode, the window title color isn't that visible if you have a lightweight theme/Persona. The Australis tabs have only a thin, vertical line to indicate where their boundaries are if the tab isn't currently open. You can kind of see this in the screenshot I took, though it's easier to discern with the lightweight theme visible.
- My mom's computer has an 800x600 resolution and this will probably look gigantic on her computer. The option for small icons is gone and everything is the regular large size. She is looking to get a new computer, this time with a touchscreen, but even the new machine will have a small screen because she doesn't want something gigantic. The previous arrangement was 79 pixels tall and the new one is 72 pixels tall, but I'd give up those seven pixels if it meant I could have a space for my add-on icons that were actually visible before.
Bottom line: It's not as bad as I thought it would be, but it definitely changes how I do things. A lot of people will also have to relearn when the orange/purple Firefox button disappears from the upper left corner and is replaced with the three-gray-horizontal-lines button on the right side and not quite at the top. It reminds me of Chrome.