Firefox 3 – not better browser for me
May 25, 2008 4 Comments
Firefox 3 in its beta made it into the fresh Ubuntu 8.04. And I experienced the same situation like in December 2006 – see my post for details. Of course the problems were not the same. Sad hero in this release is “awesome bar“. While I understand why it’s so great for many, I also understand many others who hate it. The reasons are quite simple really and one of the most important is – we can’t choose older bar with older behavior. Especially behavior is important for me, I don’t mind that the bar shows more although there are people who do – and for valid reasons.
In Firefox 2 I could get to my favorite pages very quickly. I’m sort of keyboard user and as such I can press Ctrl+L and write two letters with Enter faster than I move my hand to mouse. As a result of that I don’t use bookmarks very much although I have some on Bookmark bar of course. With new Firefox 3 I often hit completely different page after writing my always-working two letters – and that drives me crazy to say the least.
There is no option how to turn it off – not even in about:config page (if there is it must be something new and thank God for enlightening Firefox developers in the meantime). I can’t understand what’s so great on changing many things to “better” with no option to leave original behavior!
There is an extension that imitates original address bar, but the behavior is still “awesome”. I hope that Firefox 3 in final version will have both address bars – because bringing in only the new one is clearly a stupid idea. Address bar is *address* bar. I want to write URL there and I want only URLs to be suggested to me.
Best URL bar ever was invented years ago – in Galeon (maybe it wasn’t first browser with it, but it was the first time I saw it). When you pressed TAB to complete the URL, only the common part for all URLs from history was completed and you had to give a clue how you want to continue. So it worked like auto-completion from bash. Of course you could always use arrows to choose URL from history. That was something. It was the answer to URL bars where you often had to choose very long URL while you were interested only in its start (name of the site, not the precise article – for instance). No need to delete a lot of characters from the end of URL. Galeon is more or less dead now – but not because of the address bar – of that I’m sure. 😉
Current Firefox 2 handles similar things well too. Although the completion isn’t “stop at the first ambiguous part and let me choose” at least it offers short site URLs first in the history. I don’t know if it’s based on URL length or it counts how often I wanted the main site… but it works nice. So please, please… don’t “fix” something that works. In Firefox 3 I have to watch carefully if the site I really want is selected and I need more to write letters to get to it. That’s not an enhancement – that’s a flaw. Howgh.