2008-04-24

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(With apologies to members of the choir who've heard this sermon before)

If you use the Internet a lot, you need to check out Firefox 3 when a flavour appropriate to your personal pre-release-software-comfort-zone is released (Beta 5 is out already, Release Candidate 1 is due soon, Final release is due in June). Here's why:

The primary methods that people use to return to sites they've visited before are the location bar autocomplete and Google. Which is crazy, because browsers have features to help with that - history and bookmarks (IE calls them "favorites"). Unfortunately, bookmarks are a pain to use, especially if you have lots of them and can't be bothered to organise them. I have at least hundreds, and only really do a cursory sort when I get pissed off at the mess they've become. I gather that makes me far more organised than most people. It's better than nothing, but a pain to use.

(Personal history diversion: One of the main reasons I stuck with Netscape 4.x almost to the very end1, and swapped to the Mozilla Suite (now known as SeaMonkey) when I did leave, was bookmark handling. Back when NN3.x/4.x was my browser, search engines sucked (this was in the dark days before Google) so using bookmarks quickly became a habit if I ever wanted to find stuff again. In essence, the competition's bookmark handling sucked. Netscape/Mozilla's sucked as well, but was less sucky than everybody else's.)

I am somewhat boggled that this area has been neglected by browser manufacturers for so long. The Mozilla people reached the same decision some time ago, and decided to do something about it.

In summary, they've made bookmarks much more usable for both normal people and power users, and added loads of cross-linking between the address bar and history/bookmarks so that the autocomplete is scary-good at finding stuff you've visited in the past.

Read more... )

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