It is hard to argue the fact that Mozilla's Firefox is one of the most successful web browser for the past decade. Back then, Firefox introduced a plethora of new features and changes that shaped the very landscape of web browsing. If you have been an avid Firefox user then you should be aware that Mozilla has adopted a faster release cycle for each major Firefox build. Before September ended, Mozilla has managed to squeeze in another numbered version of its popular web browser, Firefox 7. After six weeks, Firefox 8 is now made available through Mozilla's FTP servers.
What can you expect from Firefox 8? Since Google Chrome joined the battle for the best web browser with their snappy and no-nonsense approach, Mozilla adopted a faster release cycle for each numbered version of its web browser since Firefox 4. Since then, the number of changes and new features haven't been all that impressive. One would think that a new numbered version of Firefox would be quite a departure from previous versions. But based on recent Firefox releases, that isn't the case at all. So if you are expecting a revamped user interface or an entirely new feature with Firefox 8, then you will only be met with disappointment. Here's the change log for Firefox 8:
- Add-ons installed by third party programs are now disabled by default
- Added a one-time add-on selection dialog to manage previously installed add-ons
- Added Twitter to the search bar
- Added a preference to load tabs on demand, improving start-up time when windows are restored
- Improved tab animations when moving, reordering, or detaching tabs
- Improved performance and memory handling
- Added CORS support for cross-domain textures in WebGL
- Added support for HTML5 context menus
- Added support for insertAdjacentHTML
- Improved CSS hyphen support for many languages
- Improved WebSocket support
- Fixed several stability issues
As you can see above, there's quite a good number of updates that comes with Firefox 8, although from the looks of it, it doesn't really warrant a new numbered version. With Firefox 8, users can now search Twitter and while it's good that Mozilla is adding more third-party support, I don't see myself using such feature. Firefox is known to be quite the resource hog, so seeing Mozilla's continuing effort to optimize their web browser in terms of performance and memory handling is never a bad thing. With Firefox 8, more features and changes that would benefit developers are added which is also a nice touch.
One of the main annoyances of a faster release cycle is that it also render add-ons and extensions obsolete quite fast. Add-on and extension developers will have to keep up with Mozilla's constant swift updates. So before you update to Firefox 8, keep in mind that some of your extensions might not work which is a total downer. But so far I installed Firefox 8 and find that all of extensions are compatible but that might not be the case with other users. Avid Firefox users are encouraged to update to Firefox 8. It might not have a shiny new user interface or game changing features but improved stability, performance and security should be more than reason enough for you to upgrade. You can download Firefox 8 straight from Mozilla's FTP servers. Just download the version relative to your operating system.
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