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Firefox 1.5

Web browser
Mozilla Foundation
Rating:@@@@@

Firefox 1.5 was released on 29 November. If you want to know more about Firefox, try this link for starters. It's not only perhaps the fastest browser by far for OS X, but it's spittle in the eye of Bill Gates, and that in itself should make it immensely attractive.

Firefox is a platform independent web browser. That means that there are going to be certain limitations. It will not integrate with the rest of your system, for example. And certain elements of the GUI will appear strange.

And making a slight detour, perhaps a few things can be pointed out to the developers, if they be so kind as to lend a brief ear.

  • Your FE code is going to be hooked by your kernel code. This is the essence of your 'platform independence'. But if possible please reconsider use of NIBs: not only do they provide additional functionality which your products currently lack, but they make program launches faster, and aside from things like Adobe CS, Firefox is about the slowest launching app on the OS X platform - miles slower than Safari, for example.

  • If you can't use NIBs, then remember that it takes a lot more code to create and initialise windows properly. You have to manually (programmatically) set the minimum and maximum height and width; you have to get rid of those toolbar lozenges you have on title bars to windows with no toolbars; and so forth. Above and beyond all that, your windows and their components have to adjust intelligently to resizing. At present they do not. All this would be done for you by Interface Builder; if you want to manage that on your own, may the gods help you. IB does it for free, so think twice about eschewing NIBs.

  • Sheets are cool, but they belong in an object oriented environment, and most of the work you've done is for Windoze and the Linux GUIs which shamelessly ape Windoze - and that's not even close to object oriented. (Some might say it was destruction oriented.) Sheets are document modal windows - they pertain only to a single document window (something you can't have with Windoze, GNOME, or KDE) and should (and can) only be used in that context.

    You do not use sheets for preferences or your about box or anything like that - no matter how much you're fascinated by them!

Perks

But the perks: Firefox has a number of interesting extensions and plugins which really go a long way. As many an Apple user admits, Safari looks better, but under many common conditions it's just not an alternative because it doesn't offer the opportunities Firefox does.

  • A plugin which stops the browser from loading ads - not a popup blocker (you get that anyway) but a plugin which saves your backwater bandwidth and stops Firefox from loading any ads at all. And it's configurable.

  • A plugin which restricts use of JavaScript - you set the sites where Firefox can use it and you get to see the script itself before it executes.

  • Optimisers for extremely fat pipes. Reconfigures your connection to get the best possible buffer sizes, etc.

Over 100,000,000 downloads. Spittle in the eye of the brat from Redmond. A good cause and an honest product. Support them: at the very least give their love child a try-out.

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