Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 27th Jul 2009 22:17 UTC
Mozilla & Gecko clones A lot of work is under way in designing the user interface for the next two releases of Firefox - 3.7 and 4.0 - and both of the currently proposed themes (Windows-specific) look interesting. These interface refreshes were needed as well, as the current Firefox interface is showing its age. Looking at the mockup for Firefox 4.0, it all becomes clear: This is Firefox - Chromified.
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looks good
by cocoliso on Mon 27th Jul 2009 22:30 UTC
cocoliso
Member since:
2005-11-26

i like them...anyway they are just mockups a lot can change on the final version

Reply Score: 1

RE: looks good
by kenji on Tue 28th Jul 2009 00:09 UTC in reply to "looks good"
kenji Member since:
2009-04-08

I agree. It doesn't seem too busy or inconsistent to me. Except for the tabs-on-top change in 4.0, it looks almost exactly the same as the 3.7 mock-up.

Reply Score: 2

Omnibox?
by Erunno on Mon 27th Jul 2009 22:43 UTC
Erunno
Member since:
2007-06-22

The mockups for the 4.0 interface have a bookmark button in the place which is usually occupied by the search box. A hint that Mozilla is considering to implement Omnibox-like functionality for Firefox?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Omnibox?
by siimo on Tue 28th Jul 2009 07:02 UTC in reply to "Omnibox?"
siimo Member since:
2006-06-22

firefox 3.0 address bar already works like an omnibox. Just not by default ;-).

By default its im feeling lucky but its easy to change and easy to use different search engined using their keywords. I for one don't use search box.

Reply Score: 2

discussing firefox future
by thepowah on Mon 27th Jul 2009 22:57 UTC
thepowah
Member since:
2009-07-27

A two-year-old article from Wired, which I agree with: http://www.wired.com/software/coolapps/news/2007/05/firefox_bloat

Personally I try to keep Firefox look & feel maximum clean. And I want my Firefox to be as fast as possible.

By the way, it's my first post to OSNews (though I've been around for 2.5 years), so hello people ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: discussing firefox future
by VistaUser on Mon 27th Jul 2009 23:34 UTC in reply to "discussing firefox future"
VistaUser Member since:
2008-03-08

A two-year-old article from Wired, which I agree with: http://www.wired.com/software/coolapps/news/2007/05/firefox_bloat


A lot has changed since then - Firefox 3 was faster than firefox 2. Firefox 3.5 is faster than Firefox 3.

As for Google Chrome (that someone else mentioned) - I may consider using it after they add the ability to automatically delete cookies etc upon closing the browser. Until then, I dislike the feeling that my privacy is not important that the lack of such a setting gives me.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: discussing firefox future
by Yossarian on Tue 28th Jul 2009 07:49 UTC in reply to "RE: discussing firefox future"
Yossarian Member since:
2008-11-14

While I agree Firefox is really good on Windows, it is still slow as hell in Linux.

Try it both on Windows and Linux:
-Open 10 tabs at once.
-Change tabs while having 20 opened.
-Press Ctrl and make a few full turns on your mousewheel.
-Include Flash, Java, whatever plugins in the previous experiments for 100x effect increase.

Linux is unimportant for the Mozilla foundation, that's why I stick with Opera.

Reply Score: 2

mgl.branco Member since:
2009-07-22

While I agree Firefox is really good on Windows, it is still slow as hell in Linux. (...)Linux is unimportant for the Mozilla foundation, that's why I stick with Opera.


I ABSOLUTELY agree with you. Mozilla doesn't care a ***** about Linux, and even less about KDE. They won't do anything about artwork neither performance.

From my personal experience with Mozilla foundations, they're far too bureaucratic and self-centric.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: discussing firefox future
by WereCatf on Tue 28th Jul 2009 13:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: discussing firefox future"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

While I agree Firefox is really good on Windows, it is still slow as hell in Linux.

I've been saying that for ages and ages: I use Windows and Linux on the same machine, FireFox on both OSes is the same version, but still the Linux one runs noticeably slower. It's not even a graphics card driver issue since I've had to change graphics cards several times, both nVidia and ATI, and still the same behaviour occurs. Why? I have no idea, do they even try to optimize the Linux version? Or is it some deeper issue, maybe not even related to FireFox at all itself? Every time I ask some developer about it they either change the subject or just completely avoid talking to me.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: discussing firefox future
by somebody on Tue 28th Jul 2009 15:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: discussing firefox future"
somebody Member since:
2005-07-07

I absolutely agree with you.

As soon as distro dvd is out, first thing on my list is removing firefox in favor of any GtkWebKit browser.

I don't like the feeling of being 3rd rate citizen and the more time passes, the more obvious this is from firefox side. I say... let them have it, there is now enough native browsers in linux which work decent.

Maybe they can count me as download since it came with my distribution, but as user they sure won't.

Reply Score: 3

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

I remember reading somewhere that windows firefox under wine is faster then linux native firefox.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: discussing firefox future
by WereCatf on Tue 28th Jul 2009 17:01 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: discussing firefox future"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

I remember reading somewhere that windows firefox under wine is faster then linux native firefox.

I've actually read and heard that myself too. Haven't tested it myself, but I wouldn't actually be surprised. The speed difference really is painstakingly clear and visible to anyone who uses both OSes. But do we got any FF devs here lurking around? Would be lovely to get atleast some explanation as to why it is like that? X? Some external library? Kernel issue? Or is it FireFox itself?

Reply Score: 2

RE: discussing firefox future
by lemur2 on Tue 28th Jul 2009 02:35 UTC in reply to "discussing firefox future"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

A two-year-old article from Wired, which I agree with: http://www.wired.com/software/coolapps/news/2007/05/firefox_bloat Personally I try to keep Firefox look & feel maximum clean. And I want my Firefox to be as fast as possible. By the way, it's my first post to OSNews (though I've been around for 2.5 years), so hello people ;)


Old news. Very old news.

This is like the reviews of IE8 beta versus Firefox 2 ... written when when Firefox 3.5 was also in beta. Go figure.

Why is it that people complain about versions of Firefox that are over two years old? It has moved on, people. Firefox 3.5 is here, and it is fast (perhaps not quite as fast as Chrome, but almost), and with its use of XUL it retains its abilities for customisation via extensions (without loss of speed) that Chrome has no hope of matching.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: discussing firefox future
by sbergman27 on Tue 28th Jul 2009 03:48 UTC in reply to "RE: discussing firefox future"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Firefox 3.5 is here, and it is fast

Keep telling yourself that.

You don't work with any large tables do you? For our internal business apps, which do, legitimately, use large tables for reporting, Firefox is a nonstarter. I have to direct users to other browsers. Anything based on Webkit is fine. Opera works very well. Pretty much anything, even IE6, runs circles around FF3.5's table rendering speed. And as for memory consumption with large tables... FF 3.5 is obscene. 100k of text data should not take hundreds of megabytes to display. But it does with FF 3.5. Some reports push it up past 1GB.

I don't mean to pick on FF 3.5 here. All the previous versions of FF which I have tested were at least as bad.

Edited 2009-07-28 03:49 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: discussing firefox future
by Rahul on Tue 28th Jul 2009 04:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: discussing firefox future"
Rahul Member since:
2005-07-06

Regardless of whether it works better with your Intranet page, Firefox 3.5 IS much faster in general. If you have a PUBLIC page that is demonstrably slower, then it is useful as a test case or to file a bug report.

Reply Score: 1

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Regardless of whether it works better with your Intranet page

Any larger table will cause the problem. There is nothing specific to our apps. And the rendering time is *exponential* as the rows increase. If you prefer to bury your head in the sand and let IE7 under wine walk all over FF3.5 for performance, that's fine with me. We have other browsers to use which perform just fine.

Edited 2009-07-28 12:27 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: discussing firefox future
by Rahul on Tue 28th Jul 2009 13:38 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: discussing firefox future"
Rahul Member since:
2005-07-06

I repeat, the performance improvements in Firefox 3.5 are well known. The only one burying the head in the sand is you. You claim a problem exists but refuse to show any link that demonstrate the problem. How about giving one before attacking others asking for more details?

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: discussing firefox future
by WereCatf on Tue 28th Jul 2009 13:41 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: discussing firefox future"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Create a small script that writes a very large table, just grab the data from /dev/random if you don't have anything better. Test the output in various browsers. Profit?

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: discussing firefox future
by Rahul on Tue 28th Jul 2009 13:48 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: discussing firefox future"
Rahul Member since:
2005-07-06

I want a real world test case. Not a contrived one. A public website demonstrating the problem would be useful. Barring that, a script that generates such a troublesome webpage would do. I am not claiming that the problem does not exist but I am merely interested in getting it reported if it there is a demonstrable test case. Been using Firefox 3.5(.1) for quite sometime in Fedora 11 and as a very heavy user have generally have found the performance to be much better. No doubt about that.

Reply Score: 0

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

It is much faster in my experience. It is also, however, less stable, especially on OSX. Sometimes I'll be focusing on another task and I want to go back and look at a web page I was looking at five minutes ago. And Firefox ... is nowhere to be seen, save the Ooops Fire fox crashed notification. Oh, well its fine for casual surfing of everyday sites, but for research I switch to Safari.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: discussing firefox future
by FishB8 on Tue 28th Jul 2009 06:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: discussing firefox future"
FishB8 Member since:
2006-01-16

This is due to firefox's session restore feature. It is trying to store all the data in the forms elements, so that if the browser crashes, it can restore all the form data along with the page. (using an XPath query for each element which is very resource expensive)

Unfortunately this causes it to shoot itself in the foot when it comes to large tables/forms.

It's a known issue and is being fixed. (supposedly in xulrunner 1.9.1.3)

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=477564
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=478107

For security reasons, the data is not stored when using an https:// connection, so the problem disappears when coming from an https:// URL.

Reply Score: 3

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

This is due to firefox's session restore feature.

Session restore might have made the problem worse. But this problem dates all the way back to FF 1.x. Back then we did not have much in the way of alternative browser choices and we just had to suffer with it.

Edited 2009-07-28 12:35 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: discussing firefox future
by somebody on Tue 28th Jul 2009 15:25 UTC in reply to "RE: discussing firefox future"
somebody Member since:
2005-07-07

This is like the reviews of IE8 beta versus Firefox 2 ... written when when Firefox 3.5 was also in beta. Go figure.

no one complained for version 1.

but lol, it would almost be better if 2 never came, and since then, linux version has only gone from worse to disaster,

Reply Score: 2

looks like ....
by stabbyjones on Mon 27th Jul 2009 22:58 UTC
stabbyjones
Member since:
2008-04-15

those mockups look almost EXACTLY like opera 10.

swap the tab bar with the navigation bar and it's almost exactly the same.

Reply Score: 4

RE: looks like ....
by Glynser on Tue 28th Jul 2009 05:58 UTC in reply to "looks like ...."
Glynser Member since:
2007-11-29

I wanted to write the same. Nice to see how Firefox still keeps copying ;)

Apart from that, I don't really like Opera 10's look either... I'll switch back to "Windows Native" as usual.

Reply Score: 0

Jason Bourne
Member since:
2007-06-02

I have switched to Chrome for about 5 months now. Firefox is not on my system anymore. Only sleeps on my Linux box, yes, sleeps because I am not using it any longer (and it is sadly integrated with Gnome-Ubuntu). It would take much more than UI changes now, for me to deconvert from Chrome. Chrome is faster, and webkit has certainly an advantage on Gecko (faster on my end).

I am wondering here... where the Mo community were going to head if it wasn't for the brilliant glorious Chrome: Would we be watching the mediocre fight between Mozilla, IE and Opera, stagnant, unable to recreate the browsing idea until these days? Conservative UI's that fill the entire space of my screen, thousands of options at which I wouldn't even know what means or where to start from? about:config screen nightmare? Certainly without Chrome, the Mo community would not have moved a finger...until who would know WHEN!

Actually, something like this has to happen to both GNOME and KDE projects.

Reply Score: 2

Bookmarks?
by Delgarde on Mon 27th Jul 2009 23:32 UTC
Delgarde
Member since:
2008-08-19

They seem to be making bookmarks much less visible - no bookmark toolbar in any of the mockups, just a button that I assume drops down the equivalent of the current bookmarks menu.

Not sure I like that - while the fancy address bar is useful, I still use bookmarks a lot in FF3.5 - particularly in the form of javascript bookmarklets on the toolbar, and groups of related links. Nothing I've seen here addresses those requirements...

Reply Score: 2

Comment by flynn
by flynn on Tue 28th Jul 2009 00:06 UTC
flynn
Member since:
2009-03-19

I really hope there will be plugins to enable the classic 3.5 look. I for one do not like Chrome's UI and do not want Firefox to move in that direction.

I don't see anything wrong with Firefox's UI the way it is now (apart from not having a builtin option to disable the menu bar, but a plugin takes care of that).

Everyone always calls Chrome's UI innovative. Frankly, I don't see it. What's so innovative about it? That the tabs are on top? The word innovation used to mean something, now it seems like any little gimmick is hailed as a ground breaking and innovative.

Reply Score: 5

Omnibox?
by panzi on Tue 28th Jul 2009 00:12 UTC
panzi
Member since:
2006-01-22

I don't want a omnibox! No! ANd I want a bookmark toolbar. And a status bar (containing access methods to plugins like stylish, greasemonkey and firebug).

Reply Score: 1

Tabs-on-top
by terog on Tue 28th Jul 2009 00:16 UTC
terog
Member since:
2007-03-09

If I have understood it correctly, the idea behind the tabs-on-top concept is that each tab together with browser controls would be better associated with each web page. This is very understandable from Google's point of view with their vision for the web and their web applications.

However, I think that it would a big drawback for usability since the tabs are arguably the most used feature in the browser interface and therefore should be the most accessible, i.e. the closest items relative to the content and your mouse cursor.

Why put the more infrequently used chrome between the most used chrome (tabs) and the most important (content)?

P.S. I can't believe they are FINALLY going to combine the Stop and Reload buttons in 4.0! This is the way it should have been done from the beginning... The "hidden menu bar" is also a must-have!

Edited 2009-07-28 00:35 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Tabs-on-top
by MechR on Tue 28th Jul 2009 04:41 UTC in reply to "Tabs-on-top"
MechR Member since:
2006-01-11

However, I think that it would a big drawback for usability since the tabs are arguably the most used feature in the browser interface and therefore should be the most accessible, i.e. the closest items relative to the content and your mouse cursor.

Why put the more infrequently used chrome between the most used chrome (tabs) and the most important (content)?

Well, there's the Fitts's Law argument that the edges of the screen are some of the easiest places to reach, since you can't overshoot them.

P.S. I can't believe they are FINALLY going to combine the Stop and Reload buttons in 4.0! This is the way it should have been done from the beginning... The "hidden menu bar" is also a must-have!

Combined Stop/Reload has some drawbacks:
- You have to double-click to reload a loading page.
- If the button changes the instant before you click it, you can end up reloading a page instead of stopping it as intended. This was a bigger annoyance in the dialup days, but still somewhat holds true. (Not to mention some people are still on dialup.

In any case, I'm glad they aren't planning to put Stop and Reload on opposite sides of the screen like Chrome. Not even IE does that.

Regarding Chrome, the devs (or rather, Ben specifically) flatly refuse to change the default button layout, so vote/comment on Issue 1656 instead, if you care:
http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=1656
(Provide ability to create custom toolbar buttons)

Reply Score: 1

Firefox - behave!!
by ple_mono on Tue 28th Jul 2009 00:17 UTC
ple_mono
Member since:
2005-07-26

I'm happy as along as the menu bar, window borders, tabs, and other widgets actually follow the guidelines of the host desktop environment i'm running firefox in.

Reply Score: 3

Page button
by drstorm on Tue 28th Jul 2009 00:34 UTC
drstorm
Member since:
2009-04-24

I like the general idea, but that huge Page button seems out of place. It wastes valuable Tab space.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Page button
by Flatland_Spider on Tue 28th Jul 2009 23:35 UTC in reply to "Page button"
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

I agree. The current little pull down box is nice. Not that I use it much, but at least it's out of the way for the most part.

A bookmarks tab instead would probably be better. It could bring up the bookmark side panel exposing more people to the search feature.

Reply Score: 1

As long as it is customizable
by judgen on Tue 28th Jul 2009 02:11 UTC
judgen
Member since:
2006-07-12

If its customizable to my liking like the old versions im all fine whatever changes they pick.
I like my browser to look like this: http://judgen.googlepages.com/browser.jpg

Reply Score: 2

RE: As long as it is customizable
by boofar on Tue 28th Jul 2009 06:52 UTC in reply to "As long as it is customizable"
boofar Member since:
2008-04-23

That screenshot reminds me of opera 3 :-D

http://files.myopera.com/tarquinwj/albums/45511/Opera3.png

Reply Score: 1

Comment by thewolf
by thewolf on Tue 28th Jul 2009 02:17 UTC
thewolf
Member since:
2007-12-27

Tabs on top should not mean removing the title-bar, because now instead of having the entire window width to see the title, you only have a 200px wide tab.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by thewolf
by ichi on Tue 28th Jul 2009 08:53 UTC in reply to "Comment by thewolf"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

Tabs on top should not mean removing the title-bar, because now instead of having the entire window width to see the title, you only have a 200px wide tab.


Also you could have no title bar at all, or a 2 pixels high one (on Linux at least).

Title bar and window contents should stay separated, and these tabs belong to window content. If I had tabs on the title bar that would be because I'm grouping windows myself through the window manager.

Reply Score: 2

Progress bar
by Eddyspeeder on Tue 28th Jul 2009 02:30 UTC
Eddyspeeder
Member since:
2006-05-10

I really like the green loading bar in the 4.0 mockups.

Reply Score: 1

Finally
by sydbarrett74 on Tue 28th Jul 2009 04:02 UTC
sydbarrett74
Member since:
2007-07-24

Good to see that they're at least shaking things up and soliciting feedback. Part of the reason I haven't been using FF in the last couple of years is that its interface is plain FUGLY. Happily, Opera and Chrome have forced the Mozilla peeps to give FF some UI love (which Thunderbird also badly needs).

Reply Score: 1

RE: Finally
by Blackhouse on Tue 28th Jul 2009 07:48 UTC in reply to "Finally"
Blackhouse Member since:
2005-07-06

That's a matter of taste, really. Personally I hate how the custom interfaces of Opera and Chrome don't match the rest of my OS.

Reply Score: 2

steviant
Member since:
2006-01-11

I hope that the final versions aren't too far from what's depicted in these mockups, the versions with conventional tabs looks a lot like my current Firefox setup in Win 7, which I can't be arsed to take a screenshot of since I'm using my Linux box.

If anyone wants to make Firefox 3.x look a bit more like this then they can follow my reminder guide at http://portunus.net.nz/rtfm/bls

Way to go Firefox!

Reply Score: 1

Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

If anyone wants to make Firefox 3.x look a bit more like this then they can follow my reminder guide at http://portunus.net.nz/rtfm/bls

Seriously? A black page with bright green text and dark blue links? Why would anyone take your advice after seeing your bad taste?

Reply Score: 0

steviant Member since:
2006-01-11

Thank you for your profoundly shallow and worthless analysis.

Reply Score: 1

"visual overload" ?!
by l3v1 on Tue 28th Jul 2009 06:39 UTC
l3v1
Member since:
2005-07-06

I'd say it's visual underload. I like the tabs-on-bottom mockup, but I'd like to see a status bar and a full size bookmark bar (it can be autohidden, or off-switchable, I don't care, but it should be available). I never liked any recent trials to make browser more clean, since more clean ment less usable. Gee, I still fail to understand how these mockups can mean a visual overload to anyone.

Reply Score: 3

I love all the designs
by vikramsharma on Tue 28th Jul 2009 06:46 UTC
vikramsharma
Member since:
2005-07-06

This looks really great to me, both Firefox 3.7 and Firefox 4.0 mockup designs are amazing. I personally like tabs on top though. We are going to have exciting times ahead.

Reply Score: 2

I prefer my own custom UI
by SeanG on Tue 28th Jul 2009 07:14 UTC
SeanG
Member since:
2009-07-28

One of the things I like most about FF is the customization. That's why I wasn't distracted by Chrome at all. I personally don't like my tabs above or below the address bar; I like them on the left side of my screen. It works really well with wide screen monitors. I also like my address bar up there with my file menu, so I don't have any wasted space.

I'll take whatever speed/memory enhancements FF 4.0 has to offer, but I don't see any of this being much of an improvement to the UI.

Reply Score: 1

Excellent mockups
by Isolationist on Tue 28th Jul 2009 07:30 UTC
Isolationist
Member since:
2006-05-28

I think they all look good except the tabs-on-top, which IMHO is a bit confusing and looks a bit messy. My favourite is the tabs-on-bottom for Firefox 4.0 - really hope they go with that or at least make it configurable.

Reply Score: 2

Slowly getting there
by iq-0 on Tue 28th Jul 2009 08:58 UTC
iq-0
Member since:
2009-07-28

The tabs on top is actually the better concept, since the address bar is very specific to the current document (your current 'view') rather than some meta thingie (like a toolbar, which sometimes does relate information, but often nothing more than is already visible (think 'bold' button in some office suite, which is on when you're in a bold text and off outside it).

But these discussions leave me wondering whether or not we're still to focused on the "current URI" design. Why not something closer to what some filebrowsers do: A nice representation (which mortal users understand, not just power users). This could be a bit breadcrumb like or pherhaps the website host (which is pretty important information) with the title of the current page. Ofcourse you can simply access the raw URI by clicking on this "titlebar".
Beter highlighting of the hostname of the website is a good thing as it helps people better understand where they are in general. See all the work in chrome and other browsers since where the hostname is highlighted.
All other information is pretty much too site specific and non-meaningful (often numbers for items and such or simply the title of article (see your uri bar now ;-))

Currently 99% of all my browsing needs would be satisfied by 1 big field with this title/address-bar thing, a back button, stop/reload button, a (optional, I don't use it on all my computers) bookmark bar and a status/activity bar at the bottom (where i'll hardly notice it, but where it can display some additional useful information ranging from downloads/ page propertes/ page search/plugin thingies (firebug/ comments/ whatever))

Search may be correctly incorporated in some awesomebar logic, as long as i can simply do 1 click/shortcut websearches.
Forward buttons don't really add anything for me I think I can count all times I *ever* used them on my two hands but it's not too intrusive.

What I do very much like about firefox is that it's context menus almost always contain what I want, which is sorely lacking (too simplistic) or too bloated in a few others.

All in all I think savings can be made (and it should always be very customisable) and that some changes might even make things more useable for the non-tech savy.
But that's of course just my €0.02 ;-)

Reply Score: 1

Need to fix 3.5 first
by liquidcable on Tue 28th Jul 2009 13:19 UTC
liquidcable
Member since:
2006-04-05

Firefox 3.5 just plain sucks. It's the only time I've had to down grade a software package. It's stability and performance are worse than 3.0.

Reply Score: 1

I'd still like to see ...
by dotnick on Tue 28th Jul 2009 23:50 UTC
dotnick
Member since:
2009-07-28

the option to put the navigation buttons on the side panel. This seems, to me, like a natural evolution as more widescreen displays are used. The address bar and tabs could still be at the top, while the back/forward/home buttons are vertical on the side, opening up more vertical real estate for webpages, especially on the smaller screens such as netbooks. my $.02

Reply Score: 1