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Mozilla Firebird

Monday, May 19th, 2003 · 4 Comments

Wow. Mozilla Firebird is blazingly fast. I normally use IE6 for all my browsing, but with this latest release of Mozilla (I’m typing this in Firebird release 0.6), I can easily see myself becoming a regular Mozilla user. Back in the day (1995 through 1999 or so), I was a hardcore Netscape fan, but have been using IE for at least the past 3 or 4 years. For me, speed is a very important requirement. How fast does the application load? How fast does it download Web pages? How good is the caching and page loading speed when navigating back through Web pages? The Firebird browser, as does its automobile namesake, hauls ass.

Along with speed, I also love that a Google search box is built in. And you don’t even have to click to get to it; simply press control-K (on Windows) and you’re there. The “tab browsing” feature is pretty awesome — it allows you to open a link in a separate tab within the same browser instance, loading the content in the background; the page or site is there waiting when you’re ready for it. Very intuitive experience, without cluttering up your screen with loads of browser windows. Here’s a great overview of why you should use Firebird.

So far, the only reasons I can see for not using Firebird are the following:

  1. My handy little Movable Type HTML shortcuts in my editing window don’t work with it. (But I always hand code anyway, so that’s not too big a deal.)
  2. The “MT It” feature that’s available via IE by right-clicking in any browser window isn’t available for Mozilla.
  3. Opening a new browser from within the active window does not replicate the current window’s content, but takes you to your home page. (This is a feature I really like in IE.)
  4. My keyboard forward and back keys don’t work in Firebird.
  5. Yahoo Companion is an IE-only tool (that I use primarily for its Bookmarks feature, which allows me access to my bookmarks from any machine).
  6. I really like the Google Toolbar‘s PageRank display feature, which is not part of Firebird’s built-in & streamlined Google search box.

These minor annoyances aside, there is a one simple reason that makes using Firebird worthwhile: Popup blocking.

mozilla_popup_blocking.jpg

So far, it works great. Kick ass. And hats off to the Mozilla team for developing this sleek application that loads in a heartbeat.

[MovableType | Slashdot | MacWorld]

Tags: technology

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 robert // May 19, 2003 at 7:44 pm

    have you tried opera? It also loads quickly and blocks pop-ups. of course, you have to pay for it, unless banner ads don’t bother you. I think it’s worth it though; im hooked on it.

  • 2 reader // May 21, 2003 at 2:18 am

    Well, you should have a look at http://www.mozdev.org
    You can find many exetensions there, such as
    http://companion.mozdev.org/ (Yahoo Companion) and
    http://googlebar.mozdev.org/ (Googlebar)

    Otherwise, yeah, Firebird is really cool.

  • 3 gabe // May 21, 2003 at 9:40 am

    thanks for the pointers, reader. i’ve successfully installed the googlebar but it doesn’t have the pagerank meter, which is too bad. i’ve tried installing the yahoo companion several times and, although it appears to work, it does not (after restarting the browser).

  • 4 Mike Goodspeed // May 21, 2003 at 10:44 am

    “My handy little Movable Type HTML shortcuts in my editing window don’t work with it. (But I always hand code anyway, so that’s not too big a deal.)”

    Rich Text Editing in Movable Type

    “Opening a new browser from within the active window does not replicate the current window’s content, but takes you to your home page. (This is a feature I really like in IE.)”

    There is a feature in Seamonkey (regular mozilla) trunk builds which allow you to change this setting. It’s somewhere in about:config, but you’ll have to dig around or ask around. Firebird is based off of the Seamonkey-trunk that has that pref. Plus, what are you doing in new windows? NEW TABS (which load as about:blank, but they can be changed as well)!

    “My keyboard forward and back keys don’t work in Firebird.”

    I’m assuming you are using Microsoft Intelli-whatever-keyboard. If you use the latest drivers, you can change them to keyboard shortcuts (I’m pretty sure, but am unable to verify) that function as back/forward (alt+left, alt+right). There are other ways to hack this out too.

    “Yahoo Companion is an IE-only tool (that I use primarily for its Bookmarks feature, which allows me access to my bookmarks from any machine)”

    Not complete, but Booksync, among others, can do the job for you.

    I know I sound like a huge fanboy, but it’s just that most of your complaints are easily fixed. :)