I just tried out Firefox a couple weeks ago for the first time and started writing a list of the best new features. I let this post bake for a couple weeks to see if I discovered any more new features. I didn't really find many more, just the 5 below:
- Spell-checking! This is one of the most useful features in my mind. No more clicking on a button on a website that says "check spelling". Firefox does it for you automatically and underlines misspelled words in red. 100% client-side spell-checking in any language. I have already downloaded the Canadian dictionary for normal user as well as the Spanish dictionary (Argentinian, not Spain).
- Built-in support for restoring the previously opened tabs, much like what the Session Manager, Tab Mix Plus, and SessionSaver plugins would do. Firefox 2.0 has a close button on each tab, tab dragging/reordering, and it can restore your tabs if you restart Firefox. It is still missing some features present in Tab Mix Plus, for example, the ability to restore a deleted tab, and the ability to make the tab bar take up more than one row.
- Better feed support. Click on a feed and Firefox will add it to your favourite reader. Supports Bloglines, My Yahoo, and Google Reader as well as any local application of your choosing. This should help the enormous number of people out there that still have no idea what a feed or RSS is (although I question whether it really matters if those people never know what they mean).
- Automatic updating of extensions. This is a big help, the more that can be done automatically the better. Now when I open up Firefox some days I am greeted with a dialog that tells me about extensions updates and allows me to update them with one click.
- The session restore feature leaves form information intact. So apparently this blog post that I am writing write now would be saved if my browser just crashed. I have not tried it yet, but I think this is a significant improvement over extensions like Tab Mix Plus that I thought it deserved a separate mention on its own.
Here are some things that are lacking:
- Still does not pass the Second Acid Test. Not a huge deal but it means that Firefox still is not a fully standards-compliant browser while Konqueror, Opera, and Safari are.
I highly recommended downloading Firefox 2.0 mainly because some of the extensions out there are only being developed for Firefox 2.0 and may not work with Firefox 1.5. These are the extensions I am using by the way:
- Adblock Plus
- Canadian English Dictionary
- del.icio.us Bookmarks
- Google Notebook
- Mouse Gestures
- Web Developer
* rarely used