Firefox 1.5 is out

30 November, 2005

Except, no British version yet. Pfah. Where are those translators when you need them?

Anyway, Firefox 1.5 (note the move to the .com for the main Firefox page from the old .org) is, er, OK. Certainly from an end-user point of view it doesn’t justify skipping out Firefox 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4. It may well now use Cairo for rendering, have native SVG, support the canvas tag, have E4X support, and re-orderable tabs (I think that’s all the main features – did I miss anything?), but to be honest, new users aren’t going to care about any of that, all they’ll know is that the UI has got worse.

The toolbar menus now have a load of extra white-space for no apparent reason, which makes them look completely awkward, and like they were put together by a first-time UI developer. The much-vaunted new options window is a joke. Really. In fact, I can’t understand why it was changed. OK, that’s a lie, I do understand why it was changed. What I don’t understand is why it was changed to something less usable and harder to interpret than before. If ever Firefox wanted to look non-native, this was the way to do it. I can’t think of anything I’ve ever used on Windows that looks like this. Along with the bizarrely-padded menus, there is now no way you could mistake Firefox for a native Windows app.

I’ve been using Firefox 1.5 for a couple of months now, and whilst I’ve seen it get more and more stable, I’ve still got almost all of my extensions disabled because I got bored with it crashing ten times a day.

If I could recommend 1.0.7 to people without it telling them to upgrade to 1.5, I probably would.

See other posts tagged with general and all posts made in November 2005.


Ben Ward
30 November, 2005 at 14:30

Firefox 1.5 doesn’t use Cairo for rendering as far as I know. That was just in someone’s personal, experimental branch. All the Cairo work will be in the Gecko 1.9 work (which may or may not come to be called Gecko 2.0, but will eventually form Firefox 2.0 or 3.0).

I rather like the new options pane. OK, so it’s very Mac-esque so I’m inevitably comfortable with it (as I use both MacOS and Windows on a regular basis). The thing is, as far as I’m aware, there isn’t a standard way of presenting application options on Windows. Thuss, I don’t think it really affects how ‘native’ Firefox feels. All a matter of taste though, I’m sure.

The only other major feature I can think of is that the speeded up Back/Forward code is in there, so end-users will probably find that 1.5 feels faster (on top of Gecko 1.8 being faster at rendering than 1.7 was).

30 November, 2005 at 16:26

Bizarre, I’d have sworn it was in Jesse’s changelog.

As a Windows and Linux guy, I can honestly say that when I only knew how the new options pane worked because I’d seen it on Ben Goodgers’ weblog. Otherwise I would have had no idea.

As for the faster back/forward – like I say, I’ve been on 1.5 at work for however many weeks or months it is now, and 1.0.7 at home, and I can honestly say that I hadn’t noticed the difference.

01 December, 2005 at 13:43

The extra whitespace in the toolbar menus is actually there in all windows (XP) applications. Check your menus in IE and Notepad, there’s extra whitespace right there.

As for why it’s there, I don’t know. But I do know that the firefox guys put it there to math the look of the overall UI more.

01 December, 2005 at 14:31

I don’t know whether it’s my imagination, whether I’ve just got used to it, or it has actually changed, but the whitespace now looks smaller than it used to. nonetheless, the “tools” Menu still looks completley wrong – the vertical spacing seems too big.

02 December, 2005 at 09:18

FF 1.5 is Cool! Can you convert your Instant Textile script, working with FF1.5 and Greasemonkey 0.6.4?

02 December, 2005 at 16:16

I’ll certainly try!

28 December, 2005 at 21:42

So, has anyone found a way to revert the vertical spacing to the 1.0.7 default?

01 January, 2006 at 19:00

I don’t know of anyone who’s looked into it, but I wouldn’t have thought it would be too hard to find out where the spacing is specified.