Firefox 1.5: The Next Major Release Undergoing Beta Testing

Shortly after writing about the new Opera 8, now free, I gladly find out that Firefox is testing their next major release

Firefox 1.5 logo

It’s a browser war. It’s imminent. Microsoft promises Internet Explorer 7 with the release of Windows Vista. Opera has just released version 8 of their browser and it’s free too. And Firefox is testing their next release 1.5 since a few months now. Web Site developers need to be on the ball and keep up with all these upgrades. Though there is no point in releasing a new browser, unless this makes it easier both on the web developer and the end user.

At first Firefox users of version 1.0x won’t see any difference when opening the beta version. However it takes as much as going into the Options menu to realize that Firefox has had a whole new makeover.

Tabs menuControl over tabs has been grealty enhanced in Firefox 1.5
(enlarged version)

The menu has been reorganized and the way tabs work can be customized, giving you even more control over them. Amongst the options available for tabs is the ability to force links that would otherwise open in new windows to open in new tabs, without the need holding down the Control or Command key.

The “Clear All” button available in the Options’ security section disappeared, therefore giving the impression that users have to clear the browser cache, history, cookies and passwords individually. However after not a long exploration I found that “Clear All” has been substituted by “Clear Private Data” under the Tools menu. Nothing lost then, to the contrary this feature is now easier to reach. Worth of note is that both the tabs option and the Clear Private Data function resemble Opera browser.

Firefox has full integration with Thunderbird, the browser’s e-mail client companion, also up to version 1.5 and under beta testing. While Thunderbird is still a separate application from Firefox, users are able to check whether they have new e-mails and can launch Thunderbird directly from Firefox itself.

Plug-ins and extentions are already available for this beta version of Firefox and users can also enjoy some new sleek themes. Fans of Asnwers.com like me, will also be pleased to see that this site has been added to Firefox’s default search engine bar.

Ther are several versions of Firefox 1.5, though I find this quite confusing as there is no readily available explanation about the differences amongst those versions. You can find, indeed, Firefox 1.5, Deer Park Alpha 1 and Deer Park Alpha 2, although the last two seem to have lack of support of certain plugins, one of them being Macormedia Flash Player. You are free to download all of these versions directly from the Mozilla site. Just remember–these are beta versions, thus they are not yet fully functional and there is not technical support for them.

Though I would like to see a better and more complete integration with Thunderbird, I find the new Firefox to be promising and have features that will greatly enhance people’s experience on the web.

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